Digi-Schlock: LETHAL LADIES COLLECTION (Shout! Factory 2-DVD Set)

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.

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