Death Machines (1976) Review

“Well if it isn’t the dynamic duo, Mr. Forrester and Mr. Fart,” fancy blue suit guy greets back at the station.

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Displaying his admirable hatred for human relations, Clay tells the guy to get out of his chair before he throws him out of the window.

The blue suit guy (revealed to be named “Doyle”), says he’s just waiting for the guys to bring down their suspect, the one Clay mentioned to Frank but seems to have forgotten about.

“What are you talking about?” Clay asks. I was a bit confused when Clay mentioned a suspect, too.

Wait… wait a minute. Are you fucking kidding me?

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“Here comes our baby now,” Doyle says.

“He’s our baby,” Mr. Fart says.

“No, no, not anymore. The captain’s turned the questioning over to me. It seems you two–”

Hold on. Hold the fucking phone here. Just hold on a second.

So let me get this straight: the man who got shot square in the forehead not only didn’t wind up hospitalized because of it, but he’s also deemed OK for questioning in one day? I know he’s a Death Machine who’s been established as practically invincible, but nobody but Madame knows this. Did anybody think they might need to run some tests, like a fucking brain scan to make sure this guy’s mentally competent after taking a fucking bullet to the brain? I’ll give the cops the benefit of the doubt and say they’re probably just privy to his superhuman ways. Go on.

Anyway, Clay gets pissed off and misanthropic as soon as Doyle mentions that goddamned human relations class again.

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Just then, Captain Green enters the room, who is literally green in the face.

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Cpt. Green here continues to talk about how shitty Clay’s performance has been, revealing just how flawed he really is as our main hero. He demands that Clay go to the human relations course within the next half hour.

Doyle continues to mock Clay, saying he already took his class, and while this entertaining banter is going on, I’m still wondering how the HEADSHOT VICTIM in the other room is going to do when questioned.

Alright! Finally!

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How do our adept officers handle this questioning? Well, before questioning the guy, the officer with Doyle asks, “What good’s this? He’ll never talk.”

Doyle answers, “He can listen. He can nod ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”

“The recorder won’t pick up the nods.” Good point!

“Well then, one of us is going to have to say something, like ‘suspect gestures yes’, or ‘suspect gestures no.’”

Have these guys ever had to question anybody before? Are they even familiar with that whole “you have the right to remain silent” bit in the Miranda rights? Or is this even an American city where those apply? Never mind.

The two argue about whether or not they should uncuff the guy because at least they acknowledge that as typical procedure.

“Read him his rights,” Doyle says.

“We already did that when we booked him,” the other says.

“I want it on tape.”

Seriously, is this their first day?

As the officers read the rights to the white DM, the guy hunches over, probably working out of those handcuffs.

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Sure enough, he does, and fights his way out of the station in dramatic kung fu fashion.

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Several officers wind up shooting each other instead of the guy, before he drops about 30 feet to the ground.

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He hijacks a police car and drives away as we get some serious close-ups of his face.

Doing remarkably well for somebody who was shot in the face the night before.
Doing remarkably well for somebody who was shot in the face the night before.

He eventually crashes into another car, and Clay runs out to find the cruiser empty. I guess he found his excuse to tell that human relations course to fuck off again.

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We hear a radio dispatch with a description of the suspect.

Our Death Machine is hungry after all that fightin’ and killin’, and so he ventures to a restaurant for lunch. He makes no attempt to hide his cuffs.

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The owner of the place doesn’t even ask what he wants, just plopping a pre-made burger in front of him, sitting next to him, and saying, “Eat up. No charge.” Maybe I should be a Death Machine. Seems like a good gig.

The owner of the place then says that whatever’s troubling him, “just put your trust in God.” Somehow I don’t think the Death Machine here gives too much a hooplah about all that, though.

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The guy even gives him some pamphlets, because that’s what you want to do for a guy who looks like he’s one bite away from killing your ass.

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Once the owner gets the hint, he walks away. Some bikers show up, taunting the women in the place,

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before this guy decides to taunt the Death Machine, whom he refers to as “Tarzan”.

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First he thinks he might be an outlaw, but another guy says he “smells pig” and thinks he’s an undercover cop. Another guy with long hair says that undercover cops have long hair, pointing out that “Tarzan” has short hair. Wait, what?

Then the guy on the right here next to Dee Snider says, “That guy’s a pig, can’t you smell it? Ugh!”

I'm sure Mr. Let God Into Your Heart welcomes these guys there with open arms.
I’m sure Mr. Let God Into Your Heart welcomes these guys there with open arms.

They flat-out ask him if he’s a cop. It eventually leads to a fight as the bald guy taunts him close-up. It doesn’t last long, however, because it looks like the white Death Machine has suddenly become a Pussy Machine, getting knocked over in no time.

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Thankfully for him, his Death Machine buddies show up to help him just in time.

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They fight off the bikers one by one, and one even gets knocked into a stack of Pennzoil outside, because I’m sure that company was desperate for some product placement in this thing.

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The trio leaves after that mayhem, but only after the old guy hands the white DM his pamphlet, because he clearly needs it.

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The DM just tosses it on a biker right after that, so I guess he learned nothing.

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7 thoughts on “Death Machines (1976) Review

  1. Thanks for that fun, in depth review and especially for the five out of five stars. We all had fun making that movie and took it very seriously to get the most production value for the money we had. This link will take you to a detailed article that I wrote about directing Death Machines: http://goo.gl/ho4Ugt

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    • Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed it. And thank you and everyone else involved for giving us this crazy film.

      Fascinating read there as well.

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  2. Death Machines was just released in Blu-ray made from ther original wide-screen techniscope negative and looks great. I did the director’s commentary, the asian killer did a video talk, the afro-american killer did a great audio interview, I did a short video intro at a Japanese temple. The print quailty if fantastic. And Capt. Green is less green than before. I just read through your reveiw again and last at least five times. Thanks.

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  3. Great film with film dubbed voices in Chinese theatre traditions.
    Great fight choreography by assassins. (This is too easy style.)
    Assassins injected: probably heroin den babies born to fight in death matches, (probably the hold their den mother had on them) is an old Secret of KungFu !!!
    Awesome soundtrack, where is the sequel.

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  4. Egad, this flick was a turkey–It’s the last or next to last flick featured in the 12 disk, 50 movie collection, “Sci-Fi Invasion”. Nothing about this film could really be called “good”, but the music is especially bad. The analog synth background music from “Death Machines” is also used as the menu music for each and every disc in the “Sci-Fi Invasion” collection and I have fallen asleep many nights to bad sci fi movies only to wake up at 4am to the creepy, eerie strains of the noodling theme of “Death Machine”. You can’t put a price on that kind of thing. As for the movie–they had enough cash to film it in technicolor, blow up a Cessna, and drive a truck through a perfectly nice Italian restaurant movie set. They made 70,000 grand on this–doubt it covered costs– doesn’t matter, it was well worth whatever they spent on it. I truly appreciate low budget bad movies–but only if the makers sincerely tried to make a good film at the time. “Death Machines” is right up there with the best/worst of ’em!

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  5. Thank you, J. Glad you got into the spirit of the movie. After the first edit, Crown International took over and finished the sound effects and bad music. I did not like that music at all. Also, for the karate school raid they did not put body cuts on the sword hits which bugged me. the 70K you speak of was the budget for the entire movie in techniscope and technicolor. It opened in fifty theaters in southern California and was a good grosser for Crown around the world. (For Crown only). My new 2018 movie Forbidden Power got 14 awards so far from film festivals including Best Picture, Sci-fi picture and screenplay. It’s on Amazon Prime.

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