The Mind of the Demon: The Larry Linkogle Story (2009) – By Cary Conley

As a kid, Larry Linkogle was always drawn to "fringe sports". He discovered early on that not only did he enjoy riding motorcycles, but he was good at it, too. But by the early nineties, he was bored with motocross. Hooking up with other California risk-takers, Linkogle eventually started free-riding motorcycles. By the mid-to late-nineties, the new sport had morphed into freestyle motocross and had made huge gains in popularity. Along with a handful of other buddies, Linkogle formed the Metal Mulisha, spending his days freestyling and his nights partying.

After a particularly bad accident forced him to take painkillers while he healed, Linkogle found himself hooked on drugs. Constantly stoned, feeling alienated by a sport that was changing before his eyes, and angry at the world, Linkogle descended into a nightmare of drug abuse.

The Mind of the Demon is a fascinating documentary that not only traces the history of the development of one of sport’s most dangerous events–from a tiny underground grassroots movement to a sweeping international sensation–but also explores the making of a superstar, his alienation from his first love–riding motorcycles–and his eventual descent into the hell of drug abuse. Along the way, we get to meet some of the sport’s founding fathers and most famous participants, with names like "Twitch" and "Trigger". We hear in their own words the excitement of starting something people didn’t at first understand and the adrenaline that pumped as records like highest motorcycle jump (80 vertical feet in the air) and longest motorcycle jump (277 feet) fell. We also hear about the drug- and alcohol-fueled parties, the creativity exhibited as new tricks were designed and practiced, and the horrific injuries as a result of pushing the boundary to the extreme.

The film is both interesting and heartbreaking, as we hear the gory details of both the high and low points of the sport as it was developing in the mid-nineties as well as the downfall of one of its founding fathers in Larry Linkogle. Finally, in 2005, one of Linkogle’s friends was able to track him down and bring him home, drying him out and helping him reestablish himself as a force to be reckoned with by breaking the world record for longest motorcycle jump. Now a recovering addict, Larry splits his time between riding himself and teaching his children the art of motocross.

The Mind of the Demon is an excellent history of the extreme sport of freestyle motocross as well as a sometimes painful exploration of one of the sport’s founding fathers. It is being released by Breaking Glass Pictures. More information can be found at breakingglasspictures.com.