Death Force (1978) + Vampire Hookers (1978)


Vinegar Syndrome presents another Filipino Drive-In Double feature, this time from Cirio H. Santiago.  DEATH FORCE is a blaxploitation, kung-fu revenge flick and VAMPIRE HOOKERS is a bizarro horror comedy featuring John Carradine in a dapper and delightfully drunken performance.  The first flick was shot in both the Philippines and the US and the latter was shot entirely in the ‘Pines.  DEATH FORCE is shown here with the VENGEANCE IS MINE title card.

Death Force

A trio of US soldiers discuss their plans for when they leave Vietnam for home.  Tony Morelli (Carmen Argenziano) and McGee (Leon Isaac Kennedy) are small time crooks looking to make some waves when they get home with their Southeast Asia connections and Doug Russell (James Iglehart) just wants to return home to his wife and child.  Doug goes along with their scheme to smuggle gold out in a casket to the Chinaman (Vic Diaz) and all three expect to turn a pretty penny.  As most crooks figure, two splits a hell of a lot better than three so they try to off Doug by knifing him and throwing him overboard.  Freed from their moral deadweight they launch an all out war on the organized crime removing their competition.

Doug washes ashore on an isolated Pacific island and is rescued by two aging Japanese soldiers who still believe WWII is raging.  They help Doug recover and then teach him the ways of samurai.  As he learns from his shogun, Tony and McGee are taking the trash out making their own criminal empire.  When a group of soldiers come to explore the island Doug parts ways with his mentor and heads back to America to seek revenge on his old friends.  He begins dismantling McGee and Morelli’s new empire and ends up heading down to McGee’s compound to exact revenge on the man who tried to kill him and kidnapped his wife.

DEATH FORCE is a bizarre kung fu, blaxploitation, revenge flick from Filipino filmmaker Cirio H. Santiago.  The careful orchestration of Doug’s training interspersed with McGee and Morelli’s rise to power stands in stark contrast to the slapdash editing of Doug’s quest for revenge.  The later does lend itself to the frenetic pace and urgency with which Doug pursues those who have wronged him.  There are plenty of severed limbs, decapitated heads (one of which is delivered gift wrapped) and even a seppuku–as Doug runs down his old friends the gore flows freely.  The acting is passable.  Some notable folks that pop up are Leon Isaac, his future wife Jayne Kennedy and Vic Diaz.  The picture and sound quality are pretty good as well.

Vampire Hookers

VAMPIRE HOOKERS is the second feature on this Cirio H. Santiago Drive-In Double Feature.  Filmed on location in the Philippines, this comedy/horror follows the misadventures of two US Navy seamen on shore leave and their attempt to save their friend and chief petty officer from the grasp of a trio of vampire hookers and their ancient pimp–or father figure…it’s hard to tell for sure but John Carradine is dressed like pimp. 

The lovely ladies of the night Cherish (Karen Stride), Suzy (Lenka Novak) and Marcy (Katie Dolan) are all knockouts.  Part of their routine is to roam the Manilla night life bringing johns back to the family crypt, as it were, for their stately vampire lord Richmond Reed (Carradine).  Reed wants an American victim and Cherish brings him the unfortunate CPO Eddie Taylor (Lex Winter) who though suspicious, cannot turn down Cherish’s charms.  His pals Tom (Bruce Fairbalm) and Terry (Trey Wilson) end up in the brig for their shore leave after a barroom brawl where they got their asses handed to them.  Once out the operations officer tells them Taylor failed to check in.  Incredulous, the two pals know that Taylor would never shirk his duties and since he knew Manilla so well he must have run into foul play.  

Tom and Terry track down their pal’s cab driver who begs off their questions.  Eventually they follow him to the cemetery and find out that Eddie must have had a fun if unfortunate encounter with the living dead.  The two decide to investigate further and eventually assault the tomb bound trollops.  One picks up all the trappings Van Helsing could dream of and the other decides to wear the girls out physically by a long sexually exhausting evening.  

Toeing the line between cornball and slapstick, VAMPIRE HOOKERS is a bit of a drag.  John Carradine abuses Whitman and Shakespeare alike in a stumbling and scenery chewing performance.  The sailors roam about and get in trouble like Curly and Larry without Moe’s deft guidance and Vic Diaz tries to provide even more comedy relief as the equally ignorant and disgusting pauper and vampire wannabe Pavo.  The club and bar scenes are fun and some of the cemetery exteriors are hilarious-especially Pavo’s reaction to the dawn, but not enough to save the flick.

The DVD is available directly from Vinegar Syndrome or Amazon.  Check out the preview below:

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