Lethal Ladies Collection Vol. 2

Lethal Ladies Collection Vol. 2
Roger Corman never wasted any time with purple prose and superfluous introductions when making his movies, so let's cut right to the chase. Another in a plundering of the vaults of Roger Corman's New World Pictures from Shout! Factory, this instalment of the Lethal Ladies collection is presented, much like the first, in grindhouse style, with a more illustrious headliner packaged with a pair of lower-budget lesser lights. The centrepiece of this collection is The Arena, from 1974, directed by Steve Carver and starring Pam Grier and Margaret Markov. Alternatively know as Naked Warriors and Black Slave, White Slave, The Arena is an appetizingly lurid tale of a group of four female slaves who band together to rebel against their captors in the blood-soaked sand of the gladiatorial coliseum. Essentially a sword and sandal epic with breasts, The Arena is thoroughly ridiculous, but plenty of fun and is redeemed by a well-crafted action finale, authentic Roman locations and the mighty presence of Grier. Grier's pulsating fervour still resonates despite all her dialogue being dubbed, per Italian tradition, in post-production. Supplemented by a making-of featurette and Carver's commentary track, The Arena is yet another study in the Cormanology of getting more for less. Like the first collection, Lethal Ladies disc two houses a pair of quickies from Filipino director/producer Cirio Santiago. Essentially two different versions of the same basic story, Fly Me, from 1973, and Cover Girl Models, from 1975, offer nonsensical stories, Pacific Rim intrigue, leisure suits, Kung Fu and boobs a-plenty. Both starring Pat Anderson, the two flicks follow innocent stewardesses and models that get tangled up in white slavery and espionage, respectively. Santiago worked quickly, grinding out four or five features a year, so the films are packed with cheap thrills and bad dialogue, but are oddly slow-moving, although Cover Girl Models features a priceless opening, with Mary Woronov, as a magazine editor, trading verbal barbs with horn dog photographer John Kramer. Perfect as white noise while sleeping off a hangover on a '70s 42nd Street afternoon, the films loose something on DVD without the smell of urine and the threat of getting beaten up by a hobo. (Shout! Factory)