Saturday 19 November 2011

CORPSE MANIA (Hong Kong, 1981)

Good quality video-cd from Celestial.


"You may regret it, but you'll never forget it" says the back cover of the VCD release. Quite appropriately, I dare to say.

CORPSE MANIA, what a fantastic title! Just say it loud, three times (in a mirror if you like). Let it melt in your mouth. Mmmmmmm, tastes like chicken.

And the movie behind this title! Directed by Kuei Chih-hung (who made the awesome THE KILLER SNAKES, HEX and THE BOXER’S OMEN as well as the shitty and boring HEX VS. WITCHCRAFT und HEX AFTER HEX) in 1981 for the Shaw Brothers studios, CORPSE MANIA begins like an average krimi with a touch of necrophilia thrown in for good measure. Yep, a calm, inconspicous young man has quite a special taste in women: he likes ‘em dead. The factor of disgust bounces up to new heigths when the director shows us naked corpses of women, covered from head to toe with countless (I guess, carefully, some thousands) crawling maggots, and he has the camera exploring every single body part…

Click here for some pics of those disgusting, crawling, revolting, slimy maggots! [sorry, no can do! /Jack]

But then, suddenly, things become totally different. Because about in the middle of the 78 minutes long flick CORPSE MANIA mutates unexpectedly into an exciting giallo!!! Sounds funny, but that’s how it is. And now Kuei Chih-hung is in his element and proves to be in top form. A disguised killer is on the loose, wearing a black coat, a black hat, a white scarf (that covers the lower parts of his face), big sunglasses and – of course – a sharp knife. The only thing missing are the black gloves… then it would have been the classic image of a giallo killer. Now the film shifts a few gears higher, because the killer comes down handsomely and slashes himself through the cast what results in a few wonderful and gory set-pieces: a gory stabbing in a car pleases the heart of the giallo fan, but that was only the beginning. What follows are: cut throats (one of them is slashed under water), smashed heads, and of course a decapitation must not be missing also. The ending is a surprise too, just how it should be.

Two more things: what do you ask a blood-soaked man with a slashed throat lying in front of you? The correct answer is: “Are you okay?” And watch out for the jaw-dropping scene where a blood-filled dummy is thrown from a rooftop. It crashes head-first into the concrete and we actually get to see the face of the victim which is so grotesquely mutilated that it’s hard not to throw up the popcorn.

Mr. Kuei Chih-hung… thank you very much for this great experience named CORPSE MANIA. With this you have more than made up for disastrous slips like HEX VS. WITCHCRAFT. :D
First published in 2006.


There is a reportedly great English subtitled reg. 1 dvd. Unfortunately it only carries the wrong Chinese dialect (i.e. Mandarin).

The Hong Kong vcd from Celestial (pictured above) has the correct Cantonese audio (and Mandarin too) and is also subbed in English. Unfortunately it's out of print.

With many HK films you can check which dub is the intended dub at the Hong Kong Film Archive website; Corpse Mania.

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