B-Movie Blast: Death Machines (1976)

Editor’s Note: Hey, it’s a Ron Marchini movie! So program it as many times as you want, Mill Creek! We reviewed this flick on August 5, 2020, a part of our reviews for Mill Creek’s Savage Cinema 12-Movie collection. Then guest writer Herman P. Caine gave us another take on November 28, 2020, as part of our unpacking Mill Creek’s Sci-Fi Invasion 50-Film set. And we’re reposting our review from the Savage Cinema set to celebrate Death Machines’ inclusion on Mill Creek’s B-Movie Blast 50-Film pack. All Hail Ron Marchini! Celebrate karate sci-fi and B-Movies!

The Savage Cinema set has motorcycles. It has stock cars. It has dynamite coffins. And now, it has death machines. The poster for this movie has always fascinated me and now the time has finally come to see if it lives up to the insane promise of the painting that hawked its wares.

Madame Lee has gathered three martial arts masters, now and forever known as White Death Machine (Ron Marchini, who is also in Omega Cop and Karate Cop), Asian Death Match (Michael Chong, Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects) and Black Death Machine (Joshua Johnson, The Weapons of Death) after she injects them with a mysterious formula that makes them her commandable karate fighting soldiers.

There’s a green-faced cop named Captain Green. A good guy who loses his hand, gets his ass kicked in a bar fight and still gets the girl. Bikers who bother zombie killers when they just want to eat burgers and talk to old men about God. A mysterious mastermind in the shadows. Dudes getting thrown off buildings. And a distributor — yes, our friends at Crown International Pictures — that wanted a science fiction angle for a movie about evil martial artists shot in Stockton, CA.

I have no idea what was in that zombie juice, but it makes street fighters impervious to bullets. This was all a passion project of Paul Kyriazi, who also made Ninja Busters. There’s also a cop named Lt. Clay Forrester, who is no relation to Gene Barry or Trace Beaulieu.

This movie doesn’t make any sense and you’re either going to be bored into oblivion by it or love it like the lover who broke your sixteen-year-old heart and you never quite got over her. There is no in-between.

If you want to see it for yourself, you can do no better than the blu ray release that Vinegar Syndrome has put out. Freshly restored in 4k from its original Techniscope camera negative and featuring brand new interviews with its director and stars? I never thought I’d see the day. You can also check this out on Amazon Prime.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.