It’s easy to think that Shout! Factory might have tak­en their excel­lent Roger Corman col­lec­tion of releas­es as far as they can go.  A lot of the cru­cial clas­sics — Piranha, Death Race 2000, Galaxy Of Terror and Humanoids From The Deep, to name just four — have all been remas­tered and issued in nice sets with sup­ple­ments.  However, there’s much more to New World Pictures than just the well-known favorites — and Shout! Factory has dug deep­er to unearth a trio of oft-over­looked gems with a “chicks who kick ass” the­me for their new Lethal Ladies Collection.  The results are like­ly to leave b-movie buffs smil­ing.

All three films on this set — TNT Jackson, Firecracker and Too Hot To Handle — ben­e­fit from receiv­ing fresh, anamor­phic HD trans­fers.  The end results are a big improve­ment in video qual­i­ty, espe­cial­ly since most of the­se nev­er made the leap to DVD and fans have been rely­ing on smeary DVD-R dupes since then (TNT Jackson has popped up in some grey-mar­ket sets, always with the same lousy video mas­ter).  There are some minor bits of ele­ment dam­age here and there but the over­all results are col­or­ful and crisp in their lev­el of detail.

Mono audio is retained for each film: there’s a lit­tle age-relat­ed crack­le in spots but most of the films sound good, with dia­logue and music com­ing through clear­ly.

Extras are lim­it­ed but worth­while.  The first is a reel of New World trail­ers that appears on each disc.  Most of them are for films that Shout! Factory has already released on disc but there is a new addi­tion in the form of The Hot Box.  Hopefully, this sig­ni­fies a release of that wom­en-in-pris­on flick is on its way to DVD soon.

The key extra appears on disc two: it’s a com­men­tary track for Too Hot To Handle that pairs star Cheri Caffaro with American Grindhouse doc­u­men­tar­i­an Elijah Drenner.  It’s a pret­ty expan­sive track in terms of top­ics: Caffaro offers plen­ty of anec­dotes from the mak­ing of Too Hot To Handle but also dis­cuss­es her views on the b-movie fem­i­nism of her famous series of Ginger films, her run-ins with the crit­ics and the beau­ty con­test that gave her a first taste of show­biz.  Drenner has an amus­ing, flir­ty repar­tee with the star — he points out his five favorite out­fits she wears in the film — and plays a big role in mak­ing sure she cov­ers as many sub­jects as she does with his ques­tions.  It’s a fun track that the exploita­tion flick his­to­ri­ans will enjoy hear­ing.

In short, the Lethal Ladies Collection is a nice lit­tle end of the year treat for exploita­tion movie fans, a triple-punch dose of chicks in action that looks good and offers a wor­thy bonus in the Caffaro com­men­tary.  If two-fist­ed femmes are your thing, you’ll want to pick this up.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of TNT Jackson, click here.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Firecracker, click here.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Too Hot To Handle, click here.

Lethal Ladies Collection [Triple Feature]

Lethal Ladies Collection [Triple Feature]

Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: Lethal Ladies Collection [Triple Feature]      Female karate cham­pi­on Susanne Carter (Jillian Kesner) goes to the Philippines to look for her sis­ter who has dis­ap­peared. She stum­bles upon a drug cartel and a tour­na­ment of no-holds-barred fights to the death in the action-packed Firecracker. Directed by gen­re spe­cial­ist Cirio H. Santiago (TNT Jackson) and costar­ring Vic Diaz (The Big Bird Cage) and Darby Hilton (Malibu Express).“They call me TNT,” mar­tial arts expert Diana Jackson (Jeanne Bell) announces upon her arrival in Hong Kong to look for her miss­ing broth­er. From there, she heads smack into what is known as the city’s worst area, a no-man’s-land that is a haven for drug deal­ers, thieves and killers. TNT does not know that her broth­er has been bru­tal­ly mur­dered by Charlie (Stan Shaw), an American who has set­tled in Hong Kong and is bent on inch­ing his way to the top of the city’s drug-smug­gling trade. But he has no idea what he’s up again­st when he tan­gles with dyna­mite in TNT Jackson!Contract killer Samantha Fox (Cheri Caffaro) accepts a mis­sion to kill a group of gang­sters in the Philippines, but prob­lems arise when she falls for the Manila detec­tive inves­ti­gat­ing the mur­ders. Director Don Schain, who was mar­ried to Caffaro, direct­ed her in sev­er­al films pri­or to Too Hot To Handle, includ­ing Ginger, Girls Are For Loving and The Abductors.