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