During the summer of 1976 director Paul Kyriazi, writer Joe Walders and film producer Ron Marchini correctly surmised that any indie-produced martial arts film being released theatrically at the height of the “Chop-Socky” craze might need a little something else to cut through the clutter.
This was the case with the Crown International release of Death Machines, which has been given a new 4K transfer (from the original 35mm Technicolor negative) by Vinegar Syndrome … Nov. 29 will be the street date for a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack edition.
Madame Lee (Mari Honjo) is a Yakuza crime lord who has the ability to take control of the minds of men, which she does by creating three assassins, with martial arts skills, to do her bidding as zombie-like killing machines. Cleverly, the three killers are white (played by Marchini), black (Joshua Johnson — The Weapons of Death) and Asian (Michael Chong — To Live and Die in L.A., Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects), which means that Death Machines knew exactly who the target audience was at the time.
Additionally, the marketing campaign for Death Machines ripped a page from the success that New World Pictures had with the theatrical release of Death Race 2000 the previous year and spun a bit of sci-fi into the marketing mix. It worked like a charm … an instant “cult” classic was born!
Bonus goodies include a commentary option from filmmaker Paul Kyriazi, who also provides a newly-prepared introduction to the film, plus there is a video session with the Asian killing machine, Michael Chong!
Also on the Nov. 29 release slate from Vinegar Syndrome is the next installment in the company’s incredibly successful Peekarama DVD series. Newly restored from the original vault elements are two gems from adult filmmaker Lawrence Talbot … these are: Silk Satin Sex (1983, featuring a who’s who of adult stars, including Jessie St. James, Vanessa Del Rio and Joanna Storm) and Turn on With Kelly Nichols (1984, toplined by Kelly Nichols with a little help from her friends, Chelsea Blake, Brooke Fields, Sharon Kane and Taija Rae).
Also on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome on Nov. 29 is the double-disc collection titled 3 Alex de Renzy Documentaries. These three “documentaries” represent de Renzy’s early approach to adult filmmaking … included in the mix (and restored from the original 16mm film elements) are Sexual Encounter Group (1970, a cinéma vérité examination of an “encounter group” and their feelings about sex) Innocents Abroad (unknown – a look at European sexual issues … likely shot around the same time as Pornography in Denmark: A New Approach) and lastly, Weed (1972, an exposé on the use of marijuana in the early 70s), which is presented for the first time uncut and uncensored.
And last, but certainly not least, is the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack double-feature of Taboo II (1982, directed by Kirdy Stevens and starring Kay Parker) and Taboo III (1984, also from Stevens and starring Kay Parker and Honey Wilder).