Sunday 27 March 2011

THE DEVIL (Taiwan, 1981)

Original title: XIE MO

THE DEVIL is a cheesy gory horror movie that's firmly located in the "Dark & Nasty Hong Kong Horror Genre of the 1980s" - altho strictly speaking... it's actually from Taiwan. LOL.

I'm only aware of two official releases of this film, both on VHS: a letterboxed, English dubbed tape from Japan and a VHS from the US. I have no info on the picture format of the US tape but I expect it's probably FS. I have the Japanese tape and even without having seen the US tape I'd say the Japanese is the one to go by. But DO grab the US tape if you happen to stumble over it. It's mega, mega rare!

Reportedly the US VHS version has the sound out of sync. If you don't wanna wait for another rare Japanese VHS version to turn up on eBay I'll strongly advise you do not buy the US DVD release from Videoasia. Videoasia is a scam company that doesn't care one bit about their "releases" (and I use the term loosely, their releases are bootlegs anyway!). Their DVDs are sourced from video tapes, often really bad quality video tapes, and sometimes the sound is just fucked up beyond comprehension. My Greek VHS release of THE DOG (aka Vengeance Called a Dog) is far superior to their DVD. Imagine that, a Greek tape that's better than a DVD!

I remember one of their DVDs which I bought for a friend had both the Cantonese and Mandarin audio tracks joint together in one!! How the bloody hell are you supposed to enjoy a film with two simultaneous audio tracks running at the same time!!! Their covers are an atrocity too and by the way needless to say they used a wrong title for THE DEVIL on the DVD box and called it Devil's Express (which is a completely different film!). Hahaha. Oh mein gott, the atrocities I see, the horror, the... (rambling again). Get a boot from FarEastFlix instead.

Usually I don't care much for reviews on the bloody IMDb but there were actually a couple fun ones that I'll blatantly steal and post here:

By Woodyanders from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
An evil, ugly, rot-faced witch casts spells on her victims that turn their insides into bugs and snakes. Meanwhile, a smooth con man named Chao marries into a well-to-do family so he can steal their money. Director Jen Chieh Chang, working from a muddled script by Luk Pak Sang, relates the ridiculously convoluted story at a plodding pace and fails to maintain a steady and even tone (the picture fluctuates wildly from being light and silly one moment to more grim and horrific the next moment!).

Yet despite these flaws, this movie remains strangely compelling thanks to its genuinely oddball plot and offbeat "anything can happen" unpredictable atmosphere. The film really kicks to life with a series of memorably vile and revolting in-your-face graphic and unflinching splatter set pieces: a luckless lady has her face smashed in with a rock at the start of the flick, a man has his stomach cut open so various writing insects can be removed from his abdomen, a possessed guy gets burned at the stake, and a few folks vomit forth plenty of slithery snakes and grody bugs.

Li Shih Chieh's acceptable cinematography, the laughably lousy dubbing, Wang Mao Shan's shivery ooga booga score, and an obnoxiously hearty little boy named Ding Dong further add to the endearingly schlocky charm of this totally disjointed, but still peculiarly entertaining junk.

by Zerozed
First off, let me say that "The Devil" is the feel good movie of the year! It's a roller-coaster ride of thrills and chills! It's a triumph of Chinese Cinema!

After watching this film, I can honestly say it is probably the finest example of Hong Kong gore. I suspect there's actually no plot to this thing--not that it matters. If you like to see one gratuitous scene after another of people vomiting snakes, worms and maggots, then this film is for you! Oh, there's plenty of erupting boils as well. And a rather fey Chinese boy dressed like the long-lost miniature Asian member of the Village People. His name is (and I'm not making this up) "Ding Dong." Mere words just cannot do this masterpiece justice.

Sell all your worldly possessions and go see this film NOW!!!!!


- no releases

Japan - letterbox, English dubbed, uncut
USA - FS??, English dubbed, uncut, sound is reported to be out of sync

I have no info on any releases

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