THE VIXENS OF KUNG FU
Color, 1975, 77m.
Directed by Bill Milling
Starring Bree Anthony, Tony Richards, Peonies Jong, C.J. Laing, Jamie Gillis, Roger Caine, Bobby Astyr

ORIENTAL BLUE
Color, 1975, 80m.
Directed by Bill Milling
Starring Peonies Jong, Kim Pope, Bree Anthony, Bobby Astyr, Jamie Gillis, Terri Hall, Alan Marlow, C.J. Laing, Ashley Moore
Vinegar Syndrome (DVD) (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9), VCX (US R0 NTSC)


Vixens of Kung Fu

The smash success of Enter the Dragon and the death of Bruce Lee inspired a lot of bizarre movie cash-ins during the kung fu-crazed '70s, but you probably won't find many daffier than The Vixens of Kung Fu. A quickie porno mounted by the industry's East Coast contingent at the time, it's an unholy collision of smut actors flailing their arms around in karate school outfits, nonsensical "Eastern" philosophy, and arbitrary onscreen coupling Vixens of Kung Fufeaturing some familiar faces camouflaged under more obscure pseudonyms than usual.

Subtitled A Tale of Yin Yang, this particular offering cobbles together some random vignettes about a gang of female martial arts fighters in the woods of upstate New York, a mystical instructor of the erotic martial arts played by short-lived adult actress Peonies Jong, and a monk (Richards, who played Tweedledee in Bill Osco's Alice in Wonderland) who wants to get back at the aforementioned female fighters by wearing weights on his manhood and learning how to screw them silly. However, the story actually starts off with Bree Anthony (Richards' other half in Alice) as a hooker sort of attacked by some hunters (including Jamie Gillis and Bobby Astyr) who pop her with an "anesthesia" gun, only to turn up later (as the same person, or maybe not) in the clutches of those strange women, who are led by the lusty C.J. Laing (a long way from her star turn in Barbara Broadcast). There's also a random flashback in which she has a menage a trois involving Martin Vixens of Kung Fuactor Roger Caine (who appeared in other adult films like the classic Jack 'n' Jill), and the ladies all manage to emit mystical vapor from their nether regions. Then that monk shows up and spends the rest of the film schtupping his way through the remaining cast in the woods.

A lot of viewers were caught off guard by this film since its theatrical poster really doesn't sell it as a hardcore sex film at all; an inattentive theater owner could've easily stuck this on a double bill by accident with Wonder Women or Deep Thrust, among many others. As a sex film it's pretty much business as usual, but as a martial arts film it's nonstop hilarity as the cast attempts to sound profound, strike fighting poses, and engage in deeply metaphysical lovemaking, turning this into prime comedic material. This also marked one of the earliest films for director Bill Milling, camouflaged here under the unlikely name of "Lin Cho Chiang;" he later went on to go sort of mainstream with the trashy 1990 women-in-prison VHS perennial, Caged Fury. Vixens of Kung Fu

Paired up with this film is another Milling opus, Oriental Blue, a more traditional skin flick still trading on the pop culture craze for all things Asian but smartly avoiding the martial arts angle this time around. Jong returns along with most of the rest of the cast for a thin excuse to string together about a dozen sex scenes. Here she plays Madame Blue, who runs a sex trading business under a Chinese eatery with Conrad (Angel Number Nine's Marlow) and Brock (Gillis), her right hand men, proving to be adept at tracking down fresh flesh for her Chinatown clients. She isn't above sampling the goods herself, including Laing again, while the always game Teri Hall pops up briefly for one of her obligatory kink scenes. Her new arrivals are subjected to some sort of nefarious serum that makes them more pliable for Blue and her cohorts, but tension mounts when Brock, whom Blue lusts after, has eyes for one fresh face (Anthony again) whose boyfriend (Richards) gets swiped to force Brock's hand. Not surprisingly, it all ends in tears, among other things.Vixens of Kung Fu

Far more professionally mounted and actually quite lush at times, Oriental Blue is clearly indebted to the sumptuous European softcore films filling theaters at the time, with some sets and camera angles taking a cue from the previous year's Emmanuelle (which also traded in the whole exotic East angle). The actual plotline feels like an unofficial sequel to the '60s Olga and William cycle, but the violent angle of the scenario is seriously downplayed in favor of traditional sexual combinations among the cast. While the previous film's soundtrack was a weird amalgam of stock music trying to sound as martial arts-y as possible, this one is a more diverse stew of pilfered cues from a variety of sources to give it that unmistakable New York grindhouse flavor. All in all, it's a diverting example of vintage smut and, though not as amusing as the first feature, is certainly more accomplished.Both films were previously released on DVD from VCX in transfers culled from ancient tape masters, complete with fuzzy VHS-style lack of detail and tape dropouts. The new transfers here are a major revelation, looking astoundingly crisp and colorful with a vivid intensity completely absent before. Heck, Vixens of Kung Fu almost looks like a real movie at times.

Reviewed on July 8, 2013.