2021 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 17: Empire of the Dark (1991)

17. HEADS OFF AT THE PASS: Something with a decapitation in it.

The Aftermath was, I believed, the shining career moment of auteur Steve Barkett, but man I was wrong. So wrong.

I referred to Barkett in that review as someone that “looks like every stepfather in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the kind of guy that takes you fishing even though you don’t really want to go and says stuff like, “I really care about your mother” and “You don’t have to call me dad, unless you want to” while at nights you ball your fists up and sob hot, wet tears while he and your beloved mother act out the next ten pages in Dr. Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex.”

This one takes place nine years later, so just imagine. He’s been your stepdad awhile, things went weird but kind of bonded and now your mom is dead and he still wants to be in your life but has gone full Q-Anon. This would be the hero of this tale, Richard Flynn, who really does have a maybe son in this played by his real son, and it’s all about a woman cucking a demon lord with a detective which doesn’t seem all that smart but there you go, that’s the world of Empire of the Dark. The end of all this is that Angela, the love of our hero’s life, is about to be killed — as is her son — by Godfrey Ho’s multi-xeroxed actor Richard Harrison, so Richard makes the choice, saves the kid and lives with it.

A few years — maybe twenty — later and we have a Demon Slasher on the loose and Angela coming to Richard in his dreams. What follows is pure scum magic, as the grocery store from Cobra gets ripped off, Joe Pilato shows up with his guts unchoked upon and his hair frosted white and his ability to overact still in place, ninja demon Satan worshippers attack at will, every woman wants a mustache ride from our amply proportioned ex-cop bounty hunter stepdad leading man, sword fights and training montages, more women wanting to taste some of that Frito-dust laden poon broom on Richard’s mug, puppet demons, priests blessing guns, headlobbing and all long dead lovers coming back from the other side and you can only imagine what problems that causes for social security and taxes because just changing your married name can be a real handful.

My God, this movie is wonderful. It’s as if in the intervening decade Barkett dreamed of making something dorkier than his first movie and by all that’s bad in movies, he did it. And I love him for it. I wish he made fifty more films, but the two he did get out there still have the power to destroy minds.

You can get this from VCI.

SLASHER MONTH: Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991)

A chainsaw-wielding killer is on the loose in our hometown, collecting body parts like a Yinzer Fuad Ramses, as the clues all point to this being an Egyptian ritual of the dead.

This may be more amusing if you’re from here, as the film gives you the opportunity to see plenty of the Lawrenceville neighborhood when it was just another blighted part of the end of the steel industry and not the artsy mecca that it is today.

Director Dean Tschetter was unhappy with how the film ended up, so he took an Alan Smithee credit. That makes sense, as the film is a ramshackle unfocused mess, unsure if it wants to be a broad or black comedy and barely holding itself together, kind of like if it were edited with a chainsaw.

Sweeney Birdwell (Jake Dengel) and Joe Blocker (Joe Sharkey) are the cops fumbling in the dark — I’ve said it so often, but defund both the giallo and slasher police — as they seek a killer leaving Egyptian messages at each crime scene. Luckily, meter maid Deedee Taylor (Susann Fletcher) has arrived from Vegas, the daughter of Blocker’s last partner who went missing after a similar case, and she seems to have some clue about what’s happening.

This is the kind of movie that would have you believe that there’s an Egyptian district of Pittsburgh. The closest thing I can think of is that there used to be an Egyptian place in Penn Hills that had a hookah lounge that served fried chicken and you were encouraged to eat while you smoked.

Birdwell’s wife smokes so much that she leaves mountains of ashes around the house, Veronica Hart shows up as the next victim, Egyptian ninjas (man, it seems like the term Egyptian is an SEO search term in this review) and Tom Savini effects which were so badly shot and presented in the film that they waste whatever artistry the Bloomfield resident brought to the film.

I wish I could tell you that this is some long-lost slasher classic, but it’s not. Watch it to see the Doughboy statue on full display, but otherwise, if you live anywhere outside of the Golden Triangle, you may avoid.

SLASHER MONTH: Camp Fear (1991)

Man, there are movies where I feel like I have reached the absolute Mariana Trench of bad films and this would be one of those times. What would make me watch a film like this?

Well, the cast. There are some stories here.

One of the “dorm girls” is Shannon Michelle Wilsey, who was only on our planet for 23 years and for two years or so of that time, she was known as Savannah, one of the Vivid girls of the early 90s that took women once thought of as too beautiful for adult films and transformed them into gigantic stars. For a variety of reasons, Wilsey didn’t last — drugs, attitude, depression, bad financial choices, dating Gregg Allman before she was old enough to drive — in adult films. And before she had a chance to even learn who she was in life, a car accident and face injury sent her into such a depression that she killed herself. The band Okkervil River recorded two songs about her, but the lyrics to “(Shannon Wilsey on the) Starry Stairs” are the saddest:

“So here’s goodbye
From the part that stays behind
To the part that has to leave
To the sublime lips that were never spoiled
By lying to the face inside the being
Who wasn’t me
Who wasn’t me
She’s not me”

The other “dorm girl” is Michelle Bauer, whose career took her from adult (where she used the name Pia Snow, appearing in one of the last mainstream crossover films, Cafe Flesh) to a long career as a scream queen in movies like Reform School GirlsHollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and many, many more.

And hey! That’s George “Buck” Flower as the wino character!

Finally, Betsy Russell is absolutely wasted in this film. I’ve often wondered why she didn’t go further after Avenging Angel and Tomboy, but I guess being in multiple Saw girls and remaining a working actress is doing well enough.

This film is actually Cheerleader Camp 2, but for some reason it ended up being about a biker gang and some druids and sat on the shelf until 2000 when it was released as Millenium Countdown. There’s also a Loch Ness Monster, laser beams and a poster that completely rips off Ruggero Deodato’s Body Count, which may be one of the only times that an Italian filmmaker is the one getting things stolen from them.

This was directed and written by Thom Edward Keith — one and done — with the opening being lensed by Fred Olen Ray. And man, I nearly forgot to mention that Vincent Van Patten is on hand. I wonder if he looked back with fondness on better times, back when he was in Hell Night, a night and day better slasher?

All-American Murder (1991)

You know, we probably don’t need to sell Vinegar Syndrome to you, but let us sell Vinegar Syndrome to you, who rediscovered and re-released this early 90s direct to video hybrid of the slasher and giallo and the erotic thriller and made it look better than it had any right to be.

If you’re like us, you only need to know one thing: it was directed by Anson “Potsie” Williams*. which is more than enough strangeness to get this at least one watch. It was written by Barry Sandler, who has plenty of experience in writing detective-style movies, with two Agatha Christie adaptions (The Mirror Crack’d and Evil Under the Sun) and the neo-noir as well, with the Ken Russell film Crimes of Passion. Actually, that’s pretty much a giallo too, what with women changing their identities, a vibrator used as a murder weapon and a synth score by Rick Wakeman.

Charlie Schlatter doesn’t seem like a giallo hero, what with 18 Again! and Police Academy: Mission to Moscow on his resume. And at first in this movie, hiis character of Artie Logan is too much the jokester, a stranger in a strange land of a new college who has a reputation for going against authority; a rich man’s son out to rebel against anything you got. He meets cute with Tally Fuller (Josie Bissett, no stranger to the scumtastic world of the Italian thriller thanks to her appearing in Lenzi’s Hitcher in the Dark and equally scummy American direct to video slashers like Mikey), a cheerleader who has it all together and who seems like the kind of girl who can save him.

Here’s the rug pull. On the night that should be their first date, she’s murdered by a killer in a black trenchcoat armed with a blowtorch. And that killer is probably Artie, at least if the cops have anything to say.

And here’s the second time that the movie switches gears, as detective P.J. Decker (Christopher Walken) just saunters in and takes over the movie, owning every single scene he’s in, including one where he verbally harrangues a hostage taker until the man rushes out, only to be greeted by Decker’s bullets. He gives a world weary performance here, a man who can’t just sleep with an eighteen year old virgin who loves cops because he can’t stop thinking about how his wife is now married to a cheesemonger who sends him a big wheel of the stuff every holiday, a man who his kids now call daddy.

You really need to see this scene with the hostage in danger inside a convenience store and Walken just rattling off lines like “I never forget a face…especially, if I’ve sat on it!” and “I thought jaws only moved that fast in water!” before starting to sing “Feelings.” It’s the kind of madness that makes me fall in love with a film, kind of like the minor moment made large when Don Rickles shows up in Dirty Work except that this is a drama.

Decker is that most rare of a giallo cop: one who knows what he’s doing. And to do so, he gives Artie 24 hours to prove his innocence.

This is also a movie that knows to make things work, you need great actors even in the small parts, like Joanna Cassidy and Richard Kind. And to make this movie even more exciting, you get people killed by power drills to the head, via snakes and even by handgrenades, all broken up by reveals of illicit polaroids — of a teenager not under suspicion — and misdirection of who really is innocent, plus a scene of exposition told over laundry folding.

Also: a soundtrack that sounds like a combination of sitcom themes and the kind of weird funk that would play over a Dark Brothers scene. Sountrack songwriter Ted Mather wrote one of the songs in Berseker and Gary Griffin was in Gary and the Rippers on Full House and also wrote several pieces of music for that saccahrine show, which is very on brand for this very off brand movie.

Beyond getting this from Vinegar Syndrome, you can watch this on Tubi.

*Ken Russell was originally going to direct this. I mean, if you can’t get the visionary genius who made The Devils get the man who played a character whose nickname came from his love of clay. To be fair, Williams has had a pretty solid directing career.

Dollman (1991)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sean Collier is a writer and movie critic. Listen to his podcast, The Number One Movie in America, on all major podcast apps. Follow him on Twitter for more reviews: @seancollierpgh

How can a movie about a hardass vigilante extraterrestrial — who happens to be about 13 inches tall, and is in possession of a magnetically controlled super-gun — end up stunningly boring?

For the answer to this question: Watch Dollman.

Directed by schlock maestro Albert Pyun (Cyborg, The Sword and the Sorcerer, the troubled 1990 version of Captain America), Dollman received a straight-to-video release from Full Moon in 1991. Pyun had been busy; Captain America finally saw the light of day the previous year, and he had two other films premiere in ’91 alone.

Perhaps that’s why some parts of Dollman feel much more fleshed out than others. Or maybe it’s just because the script is awful.

The titular tiny guy is Brick Bardo, played by Tim Thomerson (in one of the only recorded instances of a character name and actor name being equally ridiculous). On his own planet, Bardo is actual size; either because of some space dilation or just because his planet is tiny (it’s kind of explained in an automated message from Bardo’s ship), he’s little on Earth.

He winds up here after a showdown with crime lord Sprug (Frank Collison), a disembodied head attached to a floating life-support device; Bardo rendered him body-free, and he wants revenge. (An elaborate effect keeps Sprug’s head floating … in wide shots, with an obvious prop head. Collison only speaks in close-ups that stop at about the chin.) When the confrontation goes sideways, both Bardo and Sprug hop in their ships and head to Earth, where they get caught up in a small-time Bronx gang war.

Yup: Of all places this story could’ve gone, it ended up making its bizarre alien characters secondary players in a minor street scuffle.

Presumably, what budget was set aside for Dollman was thoroughly exhausted on Bardo’s home planet — these scenes have the only decent-looking sets — forcing the three credited writers to come up with a cheaper-to-shoot locale for the rest of the film. Other than occasional one-liners, most of Dollman is only vaguely concerned with the fact that Bardo is tiny; rather than do much with the size difference, the film plays out like an unimaginative action movie.

The only aspect of Dollman worth seeing is a committed and suitably odd performance by Jackie Earle Haley, as vicious gang leader Braxton. Haley had risen as a child star in the ’70s (“Bad News Bears”) before going into the Hollywood wilderness for quite a while; he’d mount a major comeback in the ’00s, earning an Oscar nomination for Little Children en route to playing a pair of icons, taking over as Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street remake and giving the best turn in Zack Snyder’s mediocre Watchmen adaptation. 1991 was certainly a low point for him, though — good news for anyone trying to make it through Dollman.

Miraculously, Dollman persisted, appearing in a post-credits stinger after Full Moon’s Bad Channels and then crossing over with their Demonic Toys property in 1993’s inventively titled Dollman vs. Demonic Toys.

I will not be keeping up with his further adventures.

Trancers II (1991)

I bought this movie for $1 at a 7-11 and in no way do I feel cheated or upset about my purchase.

Over the last six years since Trancers — we can kind of, sort of ignore the Trancers: City of Lost Angels short that was supposed to be in Pulse Pounders — Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) has gotten used to being in the 20th century with his wife Lena (Helen Hunt) and friend Hap Ashby (Biff Manard), who has invested his money and now shares a mansion with our happy couple.

However, Whistler has a brother who is played by Richard Lynch, which immediately makes this movie better than the first one, and he has an environmental company named GreenWorld that is really a Trancer farm. Barbara Crampton is also in this, so all of my checkboxes are nearly filled for the term “all-star cast.”

Making things even more difficult is that Jack’s dead wife Alice Stillwell (Megan Ward, who is in Amityville: It’s About Time and Arcade) has somehow made it to our time, but Jack knows that when she goes back, she’s destined to die.

There’s also a sneaky ad for Crash and Burn in this. I appreciate that.

This is also full of family members of the cast, with two of the derelicts being Helen Hunt and Charles Band’s fathers, Lynch’s cameraman being played by his son Christopher, Tim Thomerson’s brother and father as two other homeless men and the two elderly ladies at the Landscape Company are Charles Band’s mom and former mother-in-law.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Campfire Tales (1991)

Yes, there are two movies called Campfire Tales. One was made in 1991 and the other in 1997. They are both anthology films. They both start with the urban legend “The Hook.” One has Amy Smart and James Marsden. The other has Gunnar Hansen, which is why we picked the 1991 Campfire Tales.

Yes, life is weird that this type of coincidence would happen.

“The Hook” is a story that has been told around campfires for years: a murderer with a hook on his right hand has escaped from the local insane asylum and is killing boys and girls on lover’s lane. This story really started being told nationwide in 1950 and some believe that they were influenced by the 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders, which also are the inspiration behind The Town That Dreaded Sundown. Bill Murray also tells the story at one point in Meatballs and the story also inspired the beginning of He Knows You’re Alone and the killer in I Know What You Did Last Summer.

None of those adaptions have the hook killer murder the girl’s parents or have her use his own weapon against him, however.

The second story — “Overtoke” — warns of the evils of drugs with a dealer’s product not only being the stickiest bud of all time but one that turns users into slime. “The Fright Before Christmas” has a very easy concept: Santa Claus has an evil side called Satan Claus who punishes people on Christmas. Finally, “Skull and Crossbones” has a shipwrecked pirate that discovers gold and zombies on an island. And by zombies, I mean straight up Fulci zombies. Or zombis?

“The Hook” was a student film that writer/director team William Cooke and Paul Talbot filmed. Then they added the other tales, hired Hansen for some name recognition and took advantage of the Shot On Video era. They’d work together again to make Freakshow, which also has Hansen in it, and Talbot would make the portmanteau in prison Hellblock 13, which has Hansen as an executioner and Debbie Rochon as the death row inmate telling the three stories.

Junesploitation 2021: Motorama (1991)

June 25: Junesploitation’s topic of the day — as suggested by F This Movie — is a car movie.

A ten-year-old runaway boy named Gus has left behind an abusive home to go out on the road in a stolen ‘66 Ford Mustang that he drives with stilts attached to the gas pedals. His goal is to collect game cards from the Chimera Gas Company and if he spells M-O-T-O-R-A-M-A, he wins $500 million dollars.

The first person Gus meets on his journey — and the last — is Phil (John Diehl), a gas station attendant who flies a yellow kit with a photo of a cop (Robert Picardo) shaking hands with him, all to show whatever is in heaven that he’s a worthwhile person.

The real thrill of watching this movie is in seeing who shows up next. From Martha Quinn as a bank teller and Jack Nance as a hotel clerk to Meat Loaf as an arm-wrestling biker, Mary Woronov as a kidnapper, Flea as a busboy,  Robin Duke as a corporate drone, Allyce Beasley as a receptionist, Susan Tyrrell, Michael J. Pollards, Garett Morris, Drew Barrymore as the girl of our hero’s dreams and, of course, Dick Miller — man, this movie has something for everyone. And by everyone, I mean me.

Director Barry Shils produced Vampire’s Kiss and also made Wigstock: The Movie. Writer Joseph Minion wrote the aforementioned Vampire’s Kiss and After Hours, as well as directing Daddy’s Boys for Roger Corman, using the same sets as Big Bad Mama II.

This movie is great because it’s a hijinks ensue film, but within the context of a child becoming an adult by undergoing a quest to determine what really means the most in life. It’s not weird for weird’s sake. It just feels like it was filmed in a place not quite our own and sent to the wrong reality, where we must study it and determine what we can learn from Gus’s quest.

Ron Marchini Week Wrap Up!

Phew. We did it! Twelve Ron Marchini films in two days. You know the drill! Yee-haw, let’s round ’em up!

Born in California and rising through the U.S. Army’s ranks to become a drill sergeant, in his civilian life, Ron Marchini earned the distinction as the best defensive fighter in the U.S.; by 1972, he was ranked the third best fighter in the country. Upon winning several worldwide tournaments, and with Robert Clouse’s directing success igniting a worldwide martial arts film craze with Enter the Dragon (1973), the South Asian film industry beckoned.

After making his debut in 1974’s Murder in the Orient, Marchini began a long friendship with filmmaker Paul Kyriazi, who directed Ron in his next film, the epic Death Machines, then later, in the first of Ron’s two appearances as post-apoc law officer John Travis, in Omega Cop.

Ron also began a long friendship with Leo Fong (Kill Point) after their co-staring in Murder in the Orient; after his retirement from the film industry — after making eleven dramatic-action films and one documentary — Ron concentrated on training and writing martial arts books with Leo, as well as becoming a go-to arts teacher. Today, he’s a successful California almond farmer.

In the annals of martial arts tournaments, Marchini is remembered as Chuck Norris’s first tournament win (The May 1964 Takayuki Kubota’s All-Stars Tournament in Los Angeles, California) by defeating Marchini by a half a point. Another of Chuck’s old opponents, Tony Tullener, who beat Norris in the ring three times, pursued his own acting career with the William Riead-directed Scorpion.

You can learn more about Ron Marchini with his biography at USAdojo.com. An interview at The Action Elite, with Ron’s friend and Death Machines director Paul Kyriazi, also offers deeper insights.


Ron, second from right, with Chuck Norris, shaking hands, 1965. Courtesy of Ken Osbourne/Facebook.
Courtesy of USADojo.com.

The Flicks!

The Reviews!

New Gladiators (1973)
Murder in the Orient (1974)
Death Machines (1976)
Dragon’s Quest (1983)
Ninja Warriors (1985)
Forgotten Warrior (1986)
Jungle Wolf (1986)
Return Fire (1988)
Arctic Warriors (1989)
Omega Cop (1990)
Karate Cop (1991)
Karate Raider (1995)

Black tee-shirt image courtesy of Spreadshirt. Art work/text by B&S About Movies.

We love ya, Ron!

About the Review Authors: Sam Panico is the founder, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, and editor-in-chief of B&S About Movies. You can visit him on Lettebox’d and Twitter. R.D Francis is the grease bit scrubber, dumpster pad technician, and staff writer at B&S About Movies. You can visit him on Facebook.


A Second Look: Omega Cop (1990) and Karate Cop (1991) and Death Machine Cop (2023)

As we roll out our two-day tribute to the martial arts films of Ron Marchini . . . and my being a post-apoc road warrior . . . I had to watch the double-packed adventures of future cop John Travis, again. And when I first reviewed both films on September 18, 2020, for our “Apoc Month” blow out, well, that wasn’t the first time I watched them both, then. Hey, like Andy Warhol said: Another man’s trash is another man’s art. But truth be told: These are the BEST of Ron’s films. And he’s got some good ones. But I hold these two dear.

So, lets roll ’em and take a fresh look at the adventures of John Travis.

Now, Mr.Warhol isn’t the only one with the intellectual quips. We have a saying around the B&S About Movies’ cubicle farm: What David A. Prior movie doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And, because of my Marchini love, I get ribbed around here with: What Ron Marchini movie doesn’t put you into a coma, should.

Ha, ha. Very funny. I am filling out the harassment forms right now, work place bully.

Yes, dear reader. I am very much toasted, with an ingested pharmaceutical side dish chaser, as I write this. So strap in, ye reader, we are going off the rails in Marchini fandom.

So, anyway, as I reflect on this duo of films in 2021, I believe it’s time Ron called up his ol’ directing sidekick (no pun intended, well, yeah) and longtime friend Paul Kyriazi — who directed Ron in Omega Cop, but not in the sequel, Karate Cop — and they devise a continuing-adventures-of John Travis-sequel based on . . . Death Machines, their mutual debut film from 1976. Only — this time — that remake really will have the “death machine” ancient pyramid in the deep Philippine jungles (okay, the woods outside of Stockton, California) teased in the poster of Death Machines.

I can hear that Zardos-cum-Rollerball death monolith bellow:

The Penis is evil. The Penis shoots seeds, and makes new life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth, and kill, my death machine warriors. Your toothy pyramid god has spoken!

Too bad Adam West — who stars in Omega Cop, but not Karate Cop — and David Carradine — who stars in Karate Cop, but not Omega Cop — left the terra firma for the celluloid blue above, for they could both be in a film I thee christen: Death Machine Cop. And that sequel would be awesome, because, David Carradine, if you recall, portrayed future post-apoc cop John Tucker in (sadly, the now late) David A. Prior’s two-fer: Future Force and Future Zone.

Think of it: John Travis and John Tucker — with robotic forearm gloves slipped on — inside a forgotten, sentient Mayan-cum-Aztec pyramid, kicking ass. Oh, I don’t know . . . saving some damsel-in-distress (like a Fred Olen Ray warrior queen) and Indiana Jonesin’ some sparkly trinket that can stop the apocalypse. Thus, the “teeth” inside the glistening jungle obelisk chewing and spitting everyone out two and three at a clip.

Yes, Mr. Kyriazi. It is time to film the follow up to your most recent, seventh film from 2018, Forbidden Power. For it is to be called . . . Death Machine Cop. And, if we may suggest a casting choice: Put the call out to our favorite post-apoc warriors of Italian cinema: Michael Sopkiw and Mark Gregory. And any ’70s blaxploitation actor that ended up in Italian and/or Philippines apoc or Rambo-namsploitation movies.

So, what we really need to know: which is the chicken and which is the egg, here?

I swear, I think David A. Prior’s and Ron Machini’s “future cop” romps — which clipped Mad Max, natch — are the same picture. So, who ripped whom? Or is it all just a low-budget cowinkadink? Future Force, 1989. Future Zone, 1990. Then Omega Cop and Karate Cop in 1990 and 1991. If you read our previous reviews to all four of those movies, you know each have souped-up Jeep Cherokees. However, they both do not have robotic forearm gloves. (And Ron is more adept at the kicking than David, but that’s why David got the mech-glove.) But that’s okay: Ron’s getting a robo-glove in Death Machine Cop, right Paul? And lose the jeeps, okay Paul? Give Roger Corman a call and rent out the Calamity Jane from Death Race 2000 that ended up in Interzone. Call Universal and rent out the DeLorean. Call Ridley Scott and rent out the Blade Runner Spinner.

But, please, Paul, no bolo ties. In fact: no neck wares. But yes to the robo-gloves, for everyone.

In Omega Cop, Adam West’s Commander Prescott runs his “Special Police” — 22 years in our “past” of 1999 — from a one-room set that he never leaves (Adam did that often in his late career; see Zombie Nightmare, for one), as he sports a bolo and QWERTYs a couple of Commodore 64s amid some leftover Batcave props from the 60s. Yes, Commodore 64s will protect the Southern California wastelands. So, as you can see, Death Machine Cop will look awesome because of all of the green screen and touch screen and VR-imaging tomfoolery we get in today’s films. For the Tucker and Travis apoc war wagons will kick ass.

Film reviews like this make me sad, as we lost Troy Donahue (the metal epic Shock ‘em Dead) and Stewart Whitman (the alien epic Bermuda Triangle) — both who appear in Omega Cop — so they can’t cameo in Death Machine Cop. But we can call in Sean P. Donahue, he of the awesome “future sport” apoc’er, Ground Rules, as he did the stunts in Omega Cop — and he acts — so there’s that possibility with Sean in front or behind the lens.

Which reminds me: Please, Paul: no post-apoc hockey gear. And no hats with “COPS” or “SPECIAL POLICE” patches on them. And everyone gets a robo-battle glove. Even Nick Kimaz rented the baddie “black stormtroopers” costumes of Skeletor’s forces from Masters of the Universe from Cannon Pictures, as well as the props and sets from Battlestar Galactica from Universal for his direct-to-video space opera, Space Chase (1990). And Roger Corman made Battle Beyond the Stars, then recycled the sets, the models, the costumers, and the effects shots into Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World, and Space Raiders — then lent it all out to Fred Olen Ray to make his women-in-space prison flick Star Slammer (1986). So, let’s rent out what we can to save money and up the production values, right, Paul?

Anyway, for Death Machine Cop, the storyline from Omega Cop that’s set up by Adam West’s voiceover narration, will continue, you know, about us screwin’ up the the ozone layer, the greenhouse effect babble, and the rain forests, and the solar flares that plagued the world, and that “half the world didn’t give a shit.” We’ll also continue the illegal slave action angle, which, whomever replaces West, will run. Well, it’s a bad ass named Wraith — decked out in a Nazi SS uniform. But we’ll retrofit that character into bringing back Madame Lee from Death Machines . . . but she will deck out in full Ilsa She Wolf regalia to evoke (again, sad, as we lost her just last year) Dyanne Thorne. Now, Mari Honjo, who played Madame Lee, is still with us. She hasn’t done a film since Death Machines, so that’s an epic returning role, right there. Oh, man. Mari Honjo . . . Ron Marchini . . . Micheal Sopkiw and Mark Gregory?

Give me some Coco Butter and a roll of Charmin.

And we will keep the John Travis quest with two freed slave women trekking to the utopia of clean air and water in Montana. But we lose the women . . . and put in Sopkiw and Gregory . . . as Madame Lee’s freed slave warriors. And nix Montana: this needs to go full Philippines. Or at least drive from Stockton, California, and get into a Mexican/Central American jungle, you know, like our Marchini war flicks of old.

Okay, so, how are we working the sequel of Karate Cop into Death Machine Cop?

Well, we have Paul “John Travis” Marchini, and whomever we get to doppelganger David Caradine’s John Tucker, with freed slave warriors Sopkiw and Gregory, on their quest to . . . well, Madam Lee — in a fit of anger over Travis and Tucker scuttling her master plan and freeing her two top warriors, Sopkiw and Gregory — has unleashed a MacGufffin that will destroy the world . . . thus our quest to get a trinket from the death machine pyramid that Ron, faux-Carradine, Michael, and Mark will battle. (Subplot: Spokiw and Gregory, under Madame Lee’s thumb, were mortal enemies in combat, but joined forces with the double-Johns’ encouragement and are now warriors-in-arms.) And . . . so, there’s a slave civilization inside the jungle obelisk . . . and the slaves: all they do is fight in games of gladiatorial combat — but the pyramid keeps chewin’ them up and the civilization needs “new meat.”

Now, in case you’re wondering: That was — sort of — the plot of Karate Cop: instead of the female slave ring of Omega Cop, Karate Cop had males enslaved by street gangs, forced into gladiatorial street combat. You know, like Max in the Thunderdome and Snake in the Manhattan square circle. Only this time, unlike Karate Cop, the Death Machine Cop playing field will have THUNDER and will be uber cool and not “square.” And no dopey ’80s theme songs by Tina Turner. Nope, sorry Lady Gaga. We do not need another one of your oddball songs about a pyramid. Go make another movie with Bradley Cooper. Wait, hey? Brad, you lookin’ for a new project? We’re casting, you know. I’ll have Paul give you a ring.

Now, I was going to suggest that Paul also put a call into sexploitation purveyor Alan Roberts of Young Lady Chatterley (1977) and The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood (1980) fame (the later starred Adam West, by the way) but, celluloid melancholy, again: we lost Roberts in 2016. Why, because Alan — and not Paul — directed Karate Cop.

So, anyway . . . that’s my outline for Death Machine Cop. Will it be as much fun — at least they are for moi — as Omega Cop and Karate Cop and Future Zone and Future Force? If it doesn’t put you into a coma or kill you, Death Machine Cop will make you stronger.

As we mentioned: Director Paul Kyriazi, who made his debut with the aforementioned Death Machines, then vanished from the film world after Omega Cop, which served as his fifth and final film, recently returned to the writing and director’s chair with the 2018 sci-fi movie, Forbidden Power. You can learn more about Kyriazi’s return and his new film courtesy of a favorable review at HorrorGeekLife and his personal website, paulkyriazi.com.

Ron. Paul. I love ya, my VHS brothermen. Respect.

You can watch the VHS rips of Omega Cop and Karate Cop on You Tube.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes short stories and music reviews on Medium.


*Death Machine Cop” faux-theatrical one-sheet based on alternate Stargate artwork. Image material use falls under the U.S. Copyright rules of Fair Use in non-profit educational, transformative purposes such as exhibition, criticism, comment, parody, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. All rights and trademarks are the property of their respective owners MGM/UA. Flame overlay and typefaces courtesy of Lunapic and PicFont, respectively.