Friday, 15 February 2019

THE KILLER ELEPHANTS (Thailand 1976) - trailer





Great looking trailer in the original aspect ratio from IFD's official YouTube channel.

THE KILLER ELEPHANTS
aka Rumbling the Elephant 
Thailand 1976
Director: Som Kit

Credits on HKMDB go here.

GUNMAN FROM NOWHERE (Taiwan 1988) - trailer



GUNMAN FROM NOWHERE
Taiwan 1988
Director: Chang Chi-Yong

Awesome trailer. When it kicks off you'll think it's a comedy but soon turns into a mega violent crime flick.

For credits on HKMDB go here.

I'll make the argument that CATEGORY III films are from Britain

It's a valid argument at least when some Category III fans claim that Cat. III films are from China because Hong Kong is in China (sigh).

The Cat. III films that we all love and adore were made prior to the Chinese takeover in 1997 and thus were made when HK was a British colony.

According to some Cat. III fans, films originate from the country that owns the country where they were made. It is thus only a logical argument that pre-97 films must be regarded as being British.

So thank-you's go out to the UK for giving us EBOLA SYNDROME etc. You British film-makers are thee best!

But seriously ... HK isn't in China. It's a territory with its own flag, currency, language (Canto Chinese), government, laws, left side of the road driving (right side in China), film regulations, etc. that is governed by China.

China doesn't have a censorship board that classifies films into categories. Category 1-3 are strictly for Hong Kong. In fact China doesn't even HAVE a film classification system. They may ban films, cut films, "disappear" the director, but classify films, no.


Friday, 1 February 2019

MORO WITCH DOCTOR (Philippines 1964) Dir: Eddie Romero

Original title: AMOK

Mexican lobby card
I bought this Mexican lobby card of Eddie Romero's MORO WITCH DOCTOR (1964) from a Mexican seller on eBay years ago. I still haven't got a copy of the film and it seems it's not released anywhere.

Film credits on Andrew Leavold's blog. Go here.


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Searching for Weng Weng ... and every single actor who was ever in an old genre flick from the Philippines

Ken Metcalfe in his office circa mid 80s (Photo courtesy of Carl Kuntze)
Photo from Andrew Leavold's new Filipino blog.
PS: Do notice the posters!

Checking Andrew Leavold's facebook page is like flipping thru a "who's who" of Filipino genre film actors and actresses from the 1970s and '80s. If an actor or actress doesn't pop up there at some stage, next to a grinning Leavold, it may very well mean they've left this dimension. It seems he has a knack for tracking them down at one point or another.

Now, to even further catalogue these actors from Filipino cinema Andrew has recently begun work on a new blog entitled "Name That Filipino Actor!"

If you have any interest in old Filipino genre flicks, and if you often wonder who the hell some white "gwilo" dude (or dudette) in some semi lost Filipino-US production is then ... check out Andrew's blog! They're not all there (yet) but the number is growing and quite a few of his posts promise much more info to come.
Highly recommend for fans of Filipino genre cinema.

For "Name That Filipino Actor!" go here.

L-R: Andrew Leavold, Leo G. Martinez, Don Gordon Bell
(Photo courtesy of Leavold)
Here's a recent photo (19. January 2019) of Andrew and Don Gordon Bell who met up with Leo G. Martinez for an interveiw. Martinez was in and worked on many films by Cirio H. Santiago.


Tuesday, 29 January 2019

THE ENCHANTING GHOST (Hong Kong 1970) dir: Chou Hsu-Chiang

Original HK poster (from HKMDB)
I've just watched the Shaw Brothers horror film THE ENCHANTING GHOST from 1970. Today's Netflix audiences would probably moan and feel faint due to the lack of gore, torture, jump scares and special effects - but I loved it.
 
It's a Chinese costume drama about a young male scholar (played by Yang Li-Hua, incidentally a lovely young woman) who loses her home due to her wicked uncle and thus has to move into an abandoned, haunted ruin outside of town. The setting is very much like that of A CHINESE GHOST STORY (1987). 

The young scholar discovers that a young, beautiful woman (Chang Mei-Yao) has already moved into the haunted house with her dying mother. The scenes in and around the house all look to be made on a stage and they're very colourful. I love the fact that you can see it's a stage. I love the colours and the crisp dialogue. I love the Chinese music in the film and the superb acting. Was I scared? No, not at all. But then again what does scare a seasoned horror fan?

Celestial put out the film a decade ago but for some reason they decided to only include it in their video-cd line. However, it was later release on DVD by Zoke Culture over in mainland China. I've got both releases and they look wonderful. However, 88 Films in the UK have recently put out a spiffy blu-ray release of the film (which I haven't got).
HK video-cd (Celestial) Mandarin audio/English & Chinese subs

I tried to look up the film in my HK film books but none of them include the film. This - and the fact that I have never come across any other release in any format - makes me suspect Celestial's VCD is the very first home cinema release of the film. 

Before watching the THE ENCHANTING GHOST and before writing this review I hadn't read one single review of the film. I have absolutely no idea of what other fans or reviewers think about it. But then again, I couldn't care less. I loved the film and I highly recommend it to fans of world-weird cinema/horror and open minded film-goers in general.

Mainland China DVD (Zoke) Mandarin audio/English & Chinese subs

UK DVD & blu-ray (88 Films) Mandarin/English subs

THE ENCHANTING GHOST on HKMDB:


TRAILER:
 



Thursday, 24 January 2019

RED SPELL SPELLS RED (Hong Kong 1983)

Poster (Thailand)


Country: Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 11/09/1983
Box Office: HK $4,106,595.00

Director: Titus Ho Wing-Lam
Script: Amy Chan Suet-Ming
Action Director: San Sin
Producer: Stephen Chan Chue-Kwong

Cast:
Kent Tong Chun-Yip          
Poon Lai-Yin (Stella Lok)
Ga Lun          
Wan Ting-Fong          
Hussein Hassan          
Stanley Tong Gwai-Lai (Film crew member)
Wong Tiong-Hock          
Leung Hoi-Tin          
San Sin (Taoist)
Choi Kam-Lung          
Mahyon Ismail          
Mun Yiu-Wah (Film crew member)
Yu Yiu-Leung          
Fong Yue (1) (Villager)
Wong Hung (1) (Villager)
Jackson Ng Yuk-Sue (Taoist's man)

Distributor: Yat Gwong (Hong Kong)
Production Manager: Chik Yiu-Cheong
Sound Recordist: Chang Hua
Script Supervisor: Amy Chan Suet-Ming
Planning: Stephen Chan Chue-Kwong
Lighting: Tse Ban
Makeup: Choi Siu-Jan
Story: Nikko Creative Department
Props: Hui Wan-Hoi
Cinematographers: Wong Wing-Lung, Chen Yung-Shang
Editor: Wu Kee-Charm
Presenter: Edward Hoh Yue-Yip
Assistant Directors: Stanley Tong Gwai-Lai, Yu Yiu-Leung
Composers: Shing Wai-Yip, So Chung-Shing (1)

Filming Location: Hong Kong

NB: Above credits info borrowed from HKMDB

Bootleg DVD available from Far East Flix.


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

STRYKER (Cirio H. Santiago, US/Philippines 1983) blu-ray/Kino Lorber

I'm just about to post about a new(ish) cool blu-ray release of one of Cirio H. Santiago's MAD MAX II clone flicks, and it occurs to me that it's been almost four years since I posted about Santiago's most recent post-apocalypse film, WATER WARS. A film which also, unfortunately, became Santiago's last film before he passed away. He didn't even finish the film shoot and Jim Wynorski had to take over directing the remaining part (go here for my old post).


During the three and a half years between then and now we have been blessed with a good number of blu-ray releases of cool Cirio H. Santiago US/Filipino coproductions filmed in the Philippines. Code Red have put out a handful of these films (cheers, Bill Olsen, you madman!) but the film I'm posting about here is from the good people at Kino Lorber (USA). STRYKER from 1983.

MAD MAX came out in 1979 but it's not really a post-apocalypse film, and it wasn't until 1981 that the genre took off as we know it thanks to MAD MAX II (which the American distributor retitled "The Road Warrior" to hide that it was a sequel to a film released by another label). When the Italians saw how popular MM II became they were quick to jump on the bandwagon and put out their own "MAD MAX" films (plural!) in 1982. And over in the Philippines Cirio H. Santiago thought, "Hey, I can do that!" and so in 1983 he made STRYKER! And just like the Italians made not just one clone but a whole series of MAD MAX clones, Santiago followed STRYKER with no less than six Filipino MAD MAX clones (knock-offs, rip-offs, call 'em what you want); RAIDERS OF THE SUN, DUNE WARRIORS, WHEELS OF FIRE, THE SISTERHOOD, EQUALIZER 2000 and WATER WARS (working title: "Road Raiders").

EDIT: I forgot one of Cirio H. Santiago's post-apocalypse films; He didn't do six other films but seven!! (eight in total). The last one is FUTURE HUNTERS. I urge you to read Andrew Leavold's incisive and info filled review here.


PLOT: We're in the wasteland. A narrator (in an Aussie accent, of course) informs us about the end of the world as we know it. Or rather knew it. It went into the toilet long ago and now the most precious thing is petrol, uh, I mean water!

When the film kicks off a gang of lowlifes are chasing after a young woman in the sand dunes - where she kinda lives (?). They want her ... water! She's then rescued by two good guys which both just happened to drive past. One of the guys is our main character and hero, Stryker, played by Steve Sandor. Sandor was once a bad guy in the cool exploitation flick BONNIE'S KIDS (1972) and he was also in heaps of psychotronic stuff on TV. Very odd to think of when you watch STRYKER; The thing is Sandor has the charisma and facial expressions of a tree log.

I'm not going to bother going into more detail of the plot line. Santiago wrote it on the back of a half burnt matchbox and I've already said more than what was on said box of matches. There are some bad guys, some good guys, there are some sexy amazons (their leader was a playboy centrefold), they drive around, they fight, they take revenge, and they all wear Mad Max style clothes. And  Stryker is a loner. If you're familiar with Filipino cinema it won't surprise you when you see scenes of 20-25 dwarfs popping up out of the dunes to attack people. Those dwarfs were in so many films I've lost count. According to Andrew Leavold a lot of them worked at the same "dwarf restaurant" between making films. I'm not kidding you!

The film is probably made on the same budget that MAD MAX II spent on catering. On one day's worth of catering mind you. But kudos to Cirio and his inventive crew who made the cars, motorbikes, and other futuristic vehicles look so bloody cool.

I quite like STRYKER. It's a fun film. Some of the dialogue is slow and there's a couple of romantic scenes that are so schmaltzy you feel like you're gonna lose your lunch. Hahaha. 

If there's one thing I wish they had done differently it's to find another actor for the lead part. I dare you to find another actor in the film that has as few facial expressions as Steve Sandor. Even the Playboy centrefold has more!


THE BLU-RAY
If I wanted to watch the film before I got this new spiffy blu-ray release from Kino Lorber I had to dig out my old VHS tape from Greece. Worn, fullscreen and big Greek subtitles that cover a third of the screen. This new blu-ray (from 2017) is certainly a most welcome release (they also put out a dvd release). Unfortunately, in contradiction to say Code Red, Kino Lorber didn't bother to mention what source was used for the blu-ray. Was it a film negative, a 35mm print, a betamaster, or what? But in any case the print looks good. Slightly worn and the colours are kind of faint. But that's alright, it suits the film. There are a handful of trailers (for Santiago's other post-apocalypse films) and a commentary track by Jim Wynorski. The film has optional English subs. That's it!

Go here for a smashing interview Andrew Leavold did with Cirio H. Santiago in 2007.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Filipino remake of A BETTER TOMORROW back on YouTube


FILIPINO A BETTER TOMORROW (Willie Milan, 1992) is back on YouTube. Several Filipino film channels have kept putting it up and taking it down again, and I got sick of that and uploaded the bloody thing myself. There's actually a current upload from yet another Filipino film channel but they fucked up the settings and the picture is about half the size of what it should have been! This entertaining remake is completely ignored by film sites and fans! I wish somebody would put the film out on English friendly DVD or blu-ray in good picture quality but unfortunately I have my doubts that'll ever happen. Go here for the new and better upload and to check my old info filled post about the film.