Saturday, 30 April 2011

SHARK OPERATION - wild HK flick sponsored by Malaysia tourist board?



Check out this truly weird clip from the HK movie SHARK OPERATION. If you only watched this one clip you'd think it's from a tourist video, haha. If you wanna discover whether it really is from a tourist video or not I recommend you watch the Carter Wong clip below as well!


Friday, 29 April 2011

In PURSUIT of Mou Tun Fei

by András (Deliria)

Mou Tun Fei (aka. T.F. Mous) needs no introduction here, but his Shaw Brothers days are still overshadowed by his better known MEN BEHIND THE SUN. Not helping matters that his major work at Shaw Brothers, called BANK BUSTERS (1978) is unavailable on video.




The success of that film (a story about illegal immigrant criminals in Hong Kong) led to LOST SOULS, a kind of semi-sequel to BANK BUSTERS and one of the most extreme productions of the history of the studio. LOST SOULS was also a box office hit, so Shaw immediately signed Mou to do another modern exploitation (they called it "socio-realism" back then), this time on the subject of death penalty. The upcoming film, entitled THE STING OF DEATH was heavily promoted in Shaw's own magazine, Southern Screen.





Then - either in the middle of shooting or post-prod - Mou got in disagreements with the Shaws regarding his contract, left the production and travelled to communist China, where he started making movies again, including MEN BEHIND THE SUN. THE STING OF DEATH was left unreleased for four years, until 1985, when Shaw Brothers got two of the original film's stars Lo Meng and Pai Piao (both of 5 VENOMS fame) back on board, and assigned director Taylor Wong (BUDDHA'S PALM, SENTENCED TO HANG) to finish it up, using as much of Mou's footage as possible. With the help of overdubbing and newly shot footage, the story has been altered in such a way that it was no longer about death penalty, more like a gritty crime thriller with a warehouse-set action-scene to top it off. They called the result PURSUIT OF A KILLER and released to cinemas in September of 1985. The film did very poorly.




Contrary to the poster art (which is one of the worst I have ever seen coming out of HK) PURSUIT's story is not about a razorblade wielding woman in high heels who faces off a gweilo guy holding a gun to a sexy woman's head. I wish! Rather, it is about three mainland refugees/low level triads, who are arrested during their robbery job in HK. After serving their sentence, they are killed one by one by an unknown assassin. The last remaining convict (played with over-the-top enthusiasm by Lo Mang) is bailed out by the police and used as a bait. In its current form (available on VCD from Celestial, HK), the movie includes about 70% of Mou Tun Fei's work. I took these on-set pics from an 1981 issue of Southern Screen (thanks to Lynn Haynes Memorial Collection) accompanied by matching screenshots from PURSUIT.







It is not that easy to spot the new footage, unless you concentrate on Lo Meng's ever changing hairstyle. The major problem that the filmmakers (in '85) faced was that they couldn't bring back the actor who played the assassin in the original footage.




Luckily for them, Mou shot the murder scenes in the style of a giallo (these are the best bits in the film, btw), so the face of the actor only shows up towards the end. You may then notice that the character is in fact played by two different actors. All the scenes featuring this guy (Michael Tong) was shot later:




What is interesting here is how Taylor Wong tried to ape Mou Tun Fei's style, so the result wouldn't be a total mess. There are a couple of sleazy sex scenes so Wong does one as well, but in more flashy way (shot by the great HKSC cinematographer, Arthur Wong). And no Mou Tun Fei movie would be complete without sodomy. Surprisingly, this sequence (which looks toned down) was mainly done by Wong, but at least one differently lit shot crops up from the original, and I'm sure Mou's version was the more extreme.




While far from a great film, the production history of PURSUIT OF A KILLER makes it an entertaining curiosity-piece, its thankless cut and paste job can either be seen as a cynical attempt by the then failing studio to release a product, or as a testament of the editing skills of HK filmmakers. Both points are valid.






Big thank-yous go out to András for this feature on Mou Tun Fei's (aka T.F. Mous) "lost" film. I own the Celestial video-cd and wasn't even aware that it's (mostly) directed by Mou! Check out András' own cool blog here (and bring a Google translator for Hungarian!). His latest entry is on the grim HK flick INTRUDER!
/Jack

MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED on dvd in May and it includes THE MUTHERS!!!

[Click scan twice to see it in all its full glory]

Simon over at EXPLOSIVE ACTION just shot me an email saying MACHETE MAINDES UNLEASHED... i.e. the cool documentary film on American-Filipino co-productions made in the Philippines (and the sequel to NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD - The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!)... is going to get a DVD release from Umbrella in OZ in May.

And get this: as a *small* extra feature the DVD is also gonna contain Cirio H. Santiago's THE MUTHERS from 1976!!! The film stars Jeannie Bell who was also in T.N.T. JACKSON which I've written about before.

This is certainly good news. There's more info on the Twitch site and it states THE MUTHERS will be anamorphic 16:9 format!! Awesome!!! My old Danish VHS is fullscreen and way too dark so an upgrade is highly welcome.

Special features:

-Audio Commentary with Director and crew
-More stories from the cast (including Mitchum, Landis, Haig, Dante & Arkush) (60 min)
-Filipino exploitation trailer reel (65 min}
-The Oath of green blood
-"Up From The Depths" monster test footage
-Fantastic Fest red carpet featurette
-Fantastic Fest Q&A with Roger & Julie Corman, Hartley and Tim League
-Poster and stills gallery (100 images)
-Behind the scenes gallery (100 images)
-Theatrical trailer
-Easter egg.

Disc 2

-Cirio Santiago's THE MUTHERS (16:9 transfer)



And big thanks to Simon! Do check his site and he's on YouTube here.

Friday, 22 April 2011

TURKISH STAR WARS - trailer

THE MAGIC MAN (Turkey, 1976)

Original title: KARA MURAT SEYH GAFFAR'A KARSI
aka DER RACHER DES KHAN (Germany)

I watched the Turkish adventure film KARA MURAT SEYH GAFFAR'A KARSI last night. It stars Cüneyt Arkin as a hero fighting an evil dictator. The film was the last part of an ongoing series that ran between 1972 and '76. The series contains these films:

1. Iki Esir (1971) Turkish/Iranian (Persian) co-production
2. Fatihin fedaisi Kara Murat (1972)
3. Kara Murat denizler hakimi (1977)
4. Kara Murat devler savasiyor (1978)
5. Kara Murat: Fatihin fermani (1973) aka "Karamurat: The Sultan's Warrior" (Mondo Macabro UK TV title)
6. Kara Murat ölüm emri (1974)
7. Kara Murat Kara Sovalyeye Karsi (1975) aka Der Heilige Krieg (German VHS title)
8. Kara Murat seyh gaffar'a karsi (1976) aka Der Racher des Khan (German VHS title)

[this list needs some fine tuning as I think there may be a couple more entries to the series + I need to check the production years]

Mostly you're left in the dark as to what's really going on in Turkish genre films as so few of them are dubbed or subtitled into other languages but fortunately KARA MURAT SEYH GAFFAR'A KARSI has been released on VHS in Germany so for once I could actually follow the plot closely.

Anyway, this isn't a review so suffice to say the film contains lots of action, violence, nudity, and Cüneyt Arkin doing what he does best: ridiculous stunts!! LOL. In one scene Arkin is fighting two crooks. He knocks one of them unconscious but the other one tries to escape on a horse. Arkin picks up the unconscious guy and throws him at the guy on the horse (and hits him even though he was riding away at full speed!!). Haha. Great stuff. In other scenes Arkin flies thru the air as if there's no gravity laws. Very enjoyable! :D

Next up in the world of wild flicks from Turkey at Casa J cinema is LIONMAN (aka Kilic Aslan) which I recently scored on English dubbed NTSC VHS. Yay!

Thanks to Ayman Kole for info about the Kara Murat series. And also thanks to "Joe" for the info on the Turkish/Persian co-production (they are both Turkish Aussies and they both live in Sydney and yet they have never met, haha.).



Re-post from 2009. If you wish to check my Turkish posts on the old blog I've collected them here.

"...there's a blacksmith who knows a little about medicine..."

LION MAN (Turkey, 1975)
Original title: KILIC ASLAN
aka LIONMAN
NB: IMDb has this film listed as "Aslan Adam"! This is wrong info!!!


VHS / UK / fullscreen / English dub / no subs
(click scan for bigger size)

This afternoon I watched Natuk Baytan's Turkish film LION MAN (aka Kiliç Aslan) from 1975 and it's without a doubt one of the most entertaining Cüneyt Arkin films I've seen! This really needs a DVD release that's for damn sure!! Oh, and don't get fooled by this "Steve" Arkin, haha. It is indeed good ol' Cüneyt Arkin. Actually, the last of his movies I watched, KARA MURAT SEYH GAFFAR'A KARSI (aka Der Rächer des Khan) had him credited as yet something else, "George" Arkin, I think.

The version I got hold of is an NTSC video tape that was released in the US back in 1983 - so obviously it's totally obscure and difficult to get hold of these days. But try and see if you can get a copy somewhere, it's totally worth it. The tape is dubbed into English and fullscreen. LION MAN was also released in Canada and the UK but needless to say those tapes are just as difficult to find.

The plot is like this; We're back in the days of the Byzantine Empire. The proud Turks have been overrun by nasty and cruel Christian crusaders. Yes, that's right! In this film the Christians (which are easily recognised by their big crosses on their chests) are bloodthirsty savages and the proud Turks are the heroes.

VHS / US / fullscreen / English dub / no subs

When you're someone who's born and raised on bloody Hollywood movies this is quite different. But never the less very entertaining and makes perfectly sense in my book. Just like you always root for the Chinese hero against the nasty Gwailos in a HK movie no matter how white you are. LOL.

Anyhoo, the Turkish emperor is killed by slimy Europeans (probably French people, or ze Englisch) but somehow his wife escapes and isn't killed until their son is stolen by a lion! (I didn't know they actually had lions in Turkey but maybe they did in the olden days).

Anyway, much confusion later and the introduction of a dark-haired fair maiden (the same babatious chick who's name escapes me but who was also in THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH aka LITTLE EYEWITNES), and eventually the lion-boy becomes a mix of Robin Hood/Tarzan/Barry Prima !

VHS / France / fullscreen / French dub
(click scan for proper size)

This is really entertaining cinema if I ever saw any. Totally! And the film is quite gory too! The only down-point is the ANNOYING orchestral elevator music score! But I can live with that and I plan on watching this again. You should do the same. Apparently, the dubbed print is slightly different to the Turkish version (don't worry it's not cut) I haven't watched it but reportedly it's nothing serious.

By the way, the Turkish title for LION MAN is indeed Kiliç Aslan. Don't believe this "ASLAN ADAM" that the bloody IMDb will tell you! Thanks to Ayman Kole for pointing out the IMDb screw-up.

PS: The headline is a quotation of some of the rad dialogue! I mean you have this scene where Cüneyt Arkin's character has been truly and severely fucked up by the bad guys, and some guy suggests they go to the blacksmith of the nearest village because he knows a little about medicine, hahaha.

Thanks to Gokay of Ciko for the UK scan. Much appreciated!

Added French VHS scan (5/8/09): I love how the characters on the front cover look nothing like in the film, LOL. Thanks to Lurker of Cinehound forum for the French scan.


Yet another damn re-post from my other blog! This one is from 2009.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

So awesome my eyes will bleed

Okay okay, maybe I'm overreacting here but I'm pretty bloody happy about having finally won the two tapes shown on top here; TOOTHLESS VAMPIRES and MY NEIGHBOURS ARE PHANTOMS. I also got LADY VAMPIRE (aka Miss Magic) which is a film I didn't know about until yesterday but after having read about it and seen the trailer (which I posted a couple of posts back) I'm looking forward to that one as well quite a bit. Man, I can't even begin to tell you how long it is since I first read Tim Paxton's review of TOOTHLESS VAMPIRES in the US zine Naked! Screaming! Terror! #4/5: the Cinemasian Special edition (well, actually I CAN tell you as it was 1991! Haha).







Re-post from my other blog from a while back.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

THE UNTOLD STORY (Hong Kong, 1993)

aka BUNMAN

Category III




Based on true events that took place in Macau some years back. The story has been filmed several times.
Herman Yau and Anthony Wong's great big insane video nasty masterpiece! Along with the team's EBOLA SYNDROME this is THEE shit!! If you're into horror movies but haven't seen this one then everyone who is "in the know" is gonna laugh right into your face when you tell them! They're gonna call you a 5 minute fanboy. A poser. And then they're gonna show you the door. Haha.

Skip the HK DVD (cos it cut and fullscreen) and get this excellent DVD from Tai Seng. Correct format and uncut. I believe the German DVD is equally good (and comes with handy chop sticks) but I haven't seen that one. For a perfect video nasty evening watch these two (if you can stomach them both in one go) and if you've got the whole evening kick off with Yau & Wong's TAXI HUNTER. :D


Thai poster (and yes I own it!)

HK laserdisc

TURKISH STRAW DOGS (Turkey, 197?)

Original title: KARTAL YUVASI



  


Subtitled DVD-R available from Ciko in Turkey. Go here.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

SHOUT! Factory Filipino Film release dates!


A little while ago I posted about some cool upcoming Filipino film DVD releases from SHOUT! Factory and now there's release dates:

June 21st - The Women In Cages Collection: WOMEN IN CAGES, THE BIG DOLL HOUSE, THE BIG BIRD CAGE

October 25th - Lethal Ladies Collection: FIRECRACKER, TNT JACKSON, TOO HOT TO HANDLE

No dates for SAVAGE and FLY ME yet.

The info is all from the horse's mouth (i.e. Cliff Mac) via Dvdmaniacs' message board.

THE BOXER'S OMEN (Hong Kong, 1983)

VCD / HK / letterbox / Cantonese & Mandarin / English subs

Awesome, wild and crazy (crazy like in no-holds-barred wacky!) horror film from SB.

NB: the entry on HKMDB is wrong. The original Chinese dialect isn't Mandarin but Cantonese. Maybe someone made that entry after having bought the reg. 1 DVD thinking the US company would do things right. Well, they didn't! The DVD carries the wrong Chinese dialect, the right one is Cantonese. There's also some brief English dialogue in the film. In the Mandarin dub this is just dubbed into Mandarin. The HK video-cd from Celestial has both audio tracks and the picture quality is awesome for a VCD. Someone ought to make a fan dub with the reg. 1 DVD and add the correct audio.

NIGHT CALLER (Hong Kong, 1985)



Not to be confused with another Hong Kong movie called MIDNIGHT CALLER.

dir: Phillip Chan

Pretty good giallo (!!) from Hong Kong. There's no DVD so you'll have to track down the old HK Ocean Shores VCD or the Eastern Heroes VHS from either the UK or their Dutch tape from Holland. The UK tape includes film and cast info on the inner sleeve but apparently they didn't think the continentals would need that, LOL. All three releases are subbed in English. However, according to a user on HKMDB, the Ocean Shores laserdisc doesn't have English subs. I wonder why OS used different prints for their seemingly similar releases. Their THE RAPE AFTER video is cut but the VCD is uncut. o_O

TAXI HUNTER (Hong Kong, 1993)

VCD / HK / letterbox / Cantonese & Mandarin / English subs

dir: Herman Yau
Anthony Wong going crazy again. xD

Altho this is a piece of nasty work it is not Cat. III but Cat II (Cat IIb if I remember correctly).

There are two DVD releases, on reg. 1 and in Malaysia. The Malay disc is unfortunately fullscreen. However it does have English subs.

PS: I thiink the VCD is lbx anyway. I have a different HK release that certainly is lbx.

EBOLA SYNDROME (Hong Kong, 1996)

Category III
VCD / HK / letterbox / Cantonese & Mandarin / English subs

dir: Herman Yau
main psycho: Anthony Wong

RUN AND KILL (Hong Kong, 1993)

VHS / Japan

Nasty "stalk and revenge" category III film starring everyone's fave HK psycho Simon Yam (well, on par with Anthony Wong, LOL) and Kent Cheng is here too. Don't run thru that door, Kent!! Oop, what was that that fell off?? O_O
Highly recommended. The HK dvd is cut. There's an uncut dvd (with English subs) from Austria.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

MIRACULOUS FLOWER (Taiwan, 1981)

aka WOLF DEVIL WOMAN 3
aka PHOENIX THE NINJA




Third entry to this wacky and don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-something-awesome series from Taiwan starring the wacky Pearl Cheung Ling (aka Pearl Chang).

According to the film base OFDB the international version of the film under the Phoenix the Ninja title is somewhat cut. The data base lists the Ocean Shores laserdisc as uncut but whether this info includes the Ocean Shores VHS and VCD I don't know. It's likely all three formats are the same but knowing Ocean Shores I wouldn't put my money on it. They've often released different cuts on their various formats (even with the same cover and all). THE RAPE AFTER is cut on VHS but uncut on VCD. Go figure! I own the (very rare) Danish VHS, the English dubbed Ocean Shores VHS, and the Mandarin VCD (sadly sans subs) also from OS, and obviously someone ought to compare all three versions. I'm waiting for someone else to do it. LOL.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

SCORPION THUNDERBOLT - rare LETTERBOXED trailer



Check out this uber cool trailer that someone sent me (and which I just uploaded); It's for the highly entertaining Richard Harrison HK movie SCORPION THUNDERBOLT which is one of my two personal favourites among the many Richard Harrison cut & paste films there were made in HK in the 80s. The other one is MAJESTIC THUNDERBOLT.

The trailer is cool on it's own - but in addition to this it is also awesome because this is the fully letterboxed trailer! It's very rare to see a letterboxed trailer for these films, just as rare as it is to actually find the films in the letterboxed format! The only release of SCORPION that I'm aware of that is lbx is an old video tape from France. All other video tapes are fullscreen and there are NO dvd releases anywhere! And get this, the owners don't have a lbx print either! Anybody who buys the film for distribution would get a fullscreen print!!! In other words, you need to overlook the less than perfect quality of the video tape the trailer origins from. This is the only way to watch this!

About these films in general:
If you've only watched some of the lesser (in my opinion anyway) ninja films then you may feel a little let down by them. I admit not all of these films are great - or even very good for that matter. But if you're into wild and weird worldweird cinema then you really need to give at least SCORPION THUNDERBOLT a shot. It's head and shoulders better than the rest of the pack (well, except for MAJESTIC which is pretty cool too like I said)! And by the way, this isn't a ninja film! It's a mix of revenge, monsters, sex, and horror!!!

And if you'd like to know more about these films and which films the original prints came from I urge you to check out Jesus Manuel's blog Golden Ninja Warrior Chronicles. He's just finished a six part series called "Curse of the IFD THUNDERBOLT series".

VHS / Greece / fullscreen / English dub / Greek subs

VHS / Japan / fullscreen / English dub / Japanese subs

Thanks to my friend who sent me the trailer. I'm not sure if I should mention him by name as he's with a video company so I'll play it safe and leave it out, but thanks mate!

ALL NEW HUMAN SKIN LANTERNS (Hong Kong, 1993)

Original Hong Kong English title: GHOST LANTERN

Interestingly enough (and using the probably less than reliable Google translate) the Chinese title for GHOST LANTERN, 人皮灯笼, translates into "Human Skin Lanterns" which is the English title for the film it's (sort of) a remake of.

FIRST VAMPIRE IN CHINA (Hong Kong, 1986)

aka FIRST VAMPIRE OF CHINA

VHS / Japan / fullscreen / Cantonese audio / Japanese subs