Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

Uncle Jasper reviews: The Killer Snakes (1974)

The Killer Snakes (1974)

Starring Kam Kwok-Leung, Maggie Lee Lam-Lam, Chan Chun, Chow Gat, Helen Ko, Lam Fung-Hung

Directed By Kuei Chi-Hung


 

With The Killer Snakes, Shaw’s go-to sleazemeister, Kuei Chi-Hung, reaches stellar new heights (or lows, depending on how sensitive you are to animal cruelty and wild forays into sexual bondage). No stranger to no-holds-barred subject matter, having made the rounds with women’s prison films (Bamboo House of Dolls), and gross-out experiments in the dark arts (Bewitched and The Boxer’s Omen), Chi-Hung plunges the viewer headfirst into his darkest and most socially unredeeming worldview yet.

The Killer Snakes, despite its disturbing imagery and horrifying ventures into only the most psychologically depraved territories, is probably one of the best non martial arts films to ever make it out of Shaw Studios. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a pleasant experience, and I highly doubt I’ll be popping this one in again anytime soon.  But you can’t deny how effective it is in eliciting some pretty heavy reactions from anybody brave enough to dive beneath its unsettling surface.

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October 28, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Special Features, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bewitched (1981)

Bewitched [蛊] (1981)

Starring Ai Fei, Chen Li Li, Hussin Bin Abu Hassan, Melvin Wong, Lin Wei Tu, Fan Lei, Jenny Leung, Leung Gwing Wan, Chow Kin Ping, Chan Laap Ban, Lee Sau Kei

Directed by Kuei Chi-Hung

Expectations: Moderate. Poster looks cool, heard it was crazy.


 

Holy shit! This is how you do a magic movie! I haven’t seen a lot of films concerning black magic, but I can’t imagine many of them are able to top this absolute tour-de-force of occult cinema. I went in with some fairly tempered expectations, as both Oily Maniac and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires were lots of fun in their own ways, but ultimately not all that mind-blowing. Right from the get go you know you’re in for something completely different though, as the first few minutes feature some children uncovering a dead child’s body while playing in the park. The body is taken to the coroner who removes the cause of death, a nine-inch steel spike driven through the child’s skull! Directly before this we get the ominous credit of “Introducing: Renowned Malay Sorcerer Hussin Bin Abu Hassan” and the spooky opening narration on the mysterious nature and uses of witchcraft, leaving the truth of the tale up for the viewer to decide. Oh yes, this is gonna be good.

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October 27, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars, Special Features | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)
AKA “The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula” & “Dracula and the 7 Golden Vampires”

Starring Peter Cushing, David Chiang, Robin Stewart, Julie Ege, John Forbes-Robertson, Shih Szu, Chan Shen, Lau Kar Wing, Robert Hanna, Lau Wai Ling

Directed by Roy Ward Baker & Chang Cheh (uncredited)

Expectations: Low. It’s a team-up, I’m not expecting much.


 

For my first foray into Shaw Bros. horror, I picked the film poised to unite the two renowned cult studios of Hammer and Shaw in one great grab at the money from both studio’s fans. Honestly, I don’t know how the film’s production came about, who asked who and all that, but I do know this. The Hammer studio was a giant at the time, primarily making lavish Gothic Horror productions on small budgets with great actors. The Shaw studio was also a giant at the time, primarily making lavish Kung Fu epics on small budgets with great actors. Wait a minute… Yes, I’ve always viewed the two studios as brothers from another mother, banging out their brand of films for the huddled masses. The idea of both studios producing one movie may be too much for celluloid to contain. Realistically, the film could never live up to these kinds of expectations though, so I tried to go in with the mentality that team-ups are always less than the sum of their parts.

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October 26, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Foreign, Horror, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars, Special Features | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Oily Maniac (1976)

Oily Maniac [油鬼子] (1976)

Starring Danny Lee, Chen Ping, Lily Li Li-Li, Wa Lun, Wong Hap, Tung Lam, Ku Feng, Lau Wai-Ling, Angela Yu Chien

Directed By Ho Meng-Hua


 

This story is a rewrite of a Nanyang tall tale. It bears the moral that justice does prevail.

It also bears the moral that sexually frustrated polio victims / oil slick monsters do not take kindly to rapists, rape victims, or loose women wishing to be raped. The Oily Maniac is like a delirious cross between The Toxic Avenger, Death Wish, and Psycho. Danny Lee plays Ah Yung, a man rendered virtually impotent by his exposure to polio years prior. Now hobbling along on crutches, he is rejected by Yue, the woman he had long been carrying a torch for. In classic Shaw Brothers melodramatic fashion, he leaves her home amidst poring rain, turning back to steal one last glance through her window only to find Yue half-naked making love to her virile new partner.

Sent into a rage filled shitstorm, Ah Yung visits his uncle, who is on death row about to be executed the following day. He reveals an awesome back tattoo to Ah Yung, which he demands be copied down on paper, as it is a secret recipe for a spell which can grant superhuman strength. The woefully pathetic Ah Yung figures he has nothing to lose, picks up a pickaxe and begins digging away in the middle of his living room, which was built on a sacred burial ground or something. He proceeds to sit in the large hole, which instantly fills up with oil, transforming him into… The Oily Maniac!

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October 25, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Special Features, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Weekend of Horrors Day 3

The final day of the Los Angeles Weekend of Horrors was a bit of a non-event for myself and Jasper, but there were a couple of panels we didn’t want to miss. We got in the car and braved the dangerously slick streets of Burbank, CA to see John Carl Buechler (FX artist / Director) and the Heroes and Heroines panel featuring Fred Williamson, John Saxon, Jim Kelly and others. We swooped into the auditorium as an auction of  various memorabilia pieces was going on. All throughout the weekend, each panelist would stride over to these huge banners flanking the stage and scrawl a little something on it. Apparently, people want these things! A Bruce Campbell banner went for around $400, a full hundred more than a Schechter guitar signed by virtually every attendant of the previous Weekend of Horrors event (Dario Argento, Robert Englund, etc.) The auction was exciting and intense, as the event coordinator called out for bids and the prices jumped up.

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October 18, 2010 Posted by | Extras, Horror, Special Features | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekend of Horrors Day 2

Saturday had a little more going for it than the previous day, both in terms of size and content. It looked more like an actual convention instead of senior’s bingo night at the Elk’s lodge. The halls were a lot more crowded and all of the freaky motherfuckers came out of the woodwork, displaying some pretty impressive amateur makeup FX skillz… Kind of awesome unless you’re in urgent need of some restroom relief while caught behind a guy in a zombie mask hauling fake body parts in a wheelbarrow down the hall at a snail’s pace.

Will and I spent most of the day checking out some very interesting panels. Greg Nicotero kicked off the day’s festivities with a look at his recent work from the upcoming Walking Dead TV series. Having read some of the books, I still had only very limited interest in the series as I’m not much of a TV watcher. After seeing a few screened clips however, I am willing to give it a shot, as Greg’s work looks pretty impressive here. AMC is obviously giving him a little more leeway than would normally be allowed for a television series in terms of gore.

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October 17, 2010 Posted by | Extras, Horror, Special Features | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekend of Horrors Day 1

Uncle Jasper and I attended the short opening day of the Los Angeles Weekend of Horrors yesterday afternoon. It was a good time with vendors, celebs and quality panels. The interview panel with FX artist Gabe Bartalos (Leprechaun, Frankenhooker, From Beyond, Basket Case 2) was great; revealing insights into his work and career. We were especially interested to hear him cite silicon as his preferred modelling material, saying that it provided a much more realistic flesh. Foam latex is a thing of the past, I guess.

Joe Bob Briggs’ panel was super fun. He didn’t know he was doing it until a couple of hours beforehand, so it was very off-the-cuff. He spoke of his early days as a film reviewer and how when he started reviewing the trashier side of cinema, he was one of the few torch-bearers. He took lots of questions from the audience as well.

The highlight of the day for Jasper and I though was when we both got to shake Fred Williamson’s hand. We were walking around the vendor/signing room when all of a sudden, we look up and Fred Williamson is standing there behind a table. Before we had time to compose ourselves, he reached out his hand in a show of goodwill to Uncle Jasper. A huge smile burst upon my face and before I knew it, I was shaking his hand as well. It was all such a surprise that we both found ourselves speechless. Good times.

Today is going to be more even more exciting with Greg Nicotero, Ken Foree and a Maniac Cop reunion!

October 16, 2010 Posted by | Extras, Horror, Special Features | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Announcing the Horrific Month of October!

We LOVE horror movies here at Silver Emulsion and we’re going absolutely fuckin’ apeshit for them come October! The entire month will feature nothing but horror reviews and I’m so excited about it! I had so many movies I wanted to get in that I’m starting it off early on the final week of September. Why? On the faulty logic that that Friday is October 1st!

I’ll be doing two reviews a week from the Empire International/Full Moon catalog on Tuesdays and Fridays, and a Dario Argento movie every Wednesday.

And Uncle Jasper’s coming in on his regular Mondays and Thursdays with a bunch of horror-inspired lucha libre films!

In addition to that, we will be attending and covering the Weekend of Horrors event featuring all kinds of killer faces from the genre! We haven’t yet worked out exactly what kind of coverage this will be, so stay tuned!

The month long event culminates in the final week of October when we both set our sights on four from the Shaw Brothers horror film library! This will be like a one-week version of the Django festival from a couple of months ago. After the break, check out the schedule for this week and the films we decided on!

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September 18, 2010 Posted by | Extras, Horror, Movie Reviews, Special Features | , , , , | 5 Comments

A Fistful of Djangos… Final Words!

Will Silver

The first true Silver Emulsion Film Festival is over and I’m experiencing both relief and sadness. It was great fun and a good challenge and we managed to pull it off. We’ll definitely be doing more of these in the future, so check back periodically for updates on that. Now that it’s all over, I wanted Jasper and I to give a brief overview of the eight films we covered, sort of a digest version, encompassing our feelings about the eight films as a whole and against one another.

Far and away and unsurprisingly, Django is the best of the bunch. It is original in its take on Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, which itself has its roots in the literary work of Dashiell Hammett. It fascinates me to think of just how many films can be made off of this relatively simple story. Corbucci sets his film apart by maintaining an artistic vision throughout, painting his canvas with sharp characters, gratuitous violence and threads of social commentary. Unlike a lot of spaghetti westerns, Django innovates and redefines what a western can be. I’m looking forward to proceeding deeper into Corbucci’s catalog and hopefully discovering some more gems.

As for the imitators, I mostly enjoyed them. I was surprised that none of the films used the coffin or a machine gun at all, which makes me think that a lot of these were simply retitled or rewritten to contain the name Django to drum up business. Honestly, I would have liked to see at least one of them dragging a coffin, but because it is such a unique idea I don’t know that any of the films could have pulled it off with any of the same panache that Franco Nero did. If I try to imagine Anthony Steffen or Ivan Rassimov dragging a coffin in their respective movies, it doesn’t even work in my head so it’s probably for the best that they didn’t go that route. Although, for comedic purposes I wouldn’t mind seeing George Eastman from Django Kills Softly, dragging around a hefty coffin, all the while sporting that jovial toothy grin of his.

Hit the break to see my ordered list of the films and Uncle Jasper’s take on it all.

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July 18, 2010 Posted by | Extras, Special Features, Western | , , , | Leave a comment

Uncle Jasper reviews: Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (1967)

Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! [Se Sei Vivo Spara] (1967)
AKA “Django Kill”

Starring Tomas Milian, Ray Lovelock, Piero Lulli, Milo Quesada, Roberto Camardiel, Marilu Tolo, Miguel Serrano, Angel Silva

Directed By Giulio Questi


What better way to end our Fistful of Djangos film festival than with a film that has absolutely nothing to do with the original or its many rip-offs? Django Kill is a Django film in title only. Although far from perfect, it is a welcome change of pace as we feel Django fatigue beginning to set in over here at Silver Emulsion.

Django Kill is without a doubt the most graphically violent and flat-out bizarre spaghetti western I have ever seen. Initially it conjures up a supernatural tone much like that of Django the Bastard, but soon becomes so saturated in surreal imagery and dreamlike symbolism that it manages to transcend definition. Our hero, a half-breed Mexican who is only referred to as “The Stranger,” is double crossed by his outlaw cohorts during a gold heist. He is ordered at gunpoint to dig his own grave and is shot dead. Later that night he literally rises from his grave and is taken in by a couple of Indian mystics, who come to revere him as a deity, claiming that he has been one of the few who have managed to visit the land of the dead and return to our land of the living. They make him a collection of gold bullets to strike down his enemies with and accompany him to the next town, which they refer to only as “The Unhappy Place”.

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July 15, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Special Features, Uncle Jasper Reviews, Western | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment