There’s a long, storied history of the Flying Guillotine movies. The first, the original 1975 Shaw Brothers film that introduced the all-time deadliest martial arts weapon to the silver screen. The first film was a hit, and while Shaw was working on an official sequel, Jimmy Wang Yu, a former Shaw Brothers director, cut in line and dropped perhaps the best known of the fragmented “franchise” in 1976, MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE. A beyond-cool, lean and mean classic, MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE (technically a sequel to Wang Yu’s 1971 hit ONE-ARMED BOXER) played grindhouse theaters for years on heavy rotation.
Now that Guillotine fever was firmly established and a copyright on the means of mayhem was firmly NOT established, the Taiwanese exploitation outfit Success Films doubled down on the idea in 1977, literally. In THE FATAL FLYING GUILLOTINES our hero wields not one but TWO(!) “bloody whirl” machines revving at double speed. This of course makes for a pretty big pile of decapitated heads by the time the credits roll. Shaw Brothers finally rounded out the run with their official sequel FLYING GUILLOTINE 2: PALACE CARNAGE in 1978.
In THE FATAL FLYING GUILLOTINES, there’s a thin plot line involving a squad of angry Shaolin monks angry about their stolen medical tome, but let’s be honest, it’s all about the guillotines. (Tim League)