Monday, 28 November 2011

REVENGE OF THE CORPSE (HK, 1982)

aka THE BLOOD THIRSTY DEAD



Unfortunately, I don't have this Shaw Brothers HK horror movie. Until very recently all there was was a very rare fullscreen VHS release but now there's a fully restored version. Unfortunately, Celestial have only released it in that expensive box that you can only buy in Singapore (I think!) and you can't copy the films from it. Boo-hoo!


[unfortunately the video I posted here was removed from YouTube]

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Some great news... and some terrible news!


The bad news first: SensAsian in Malaysia has closed down!!! There's a message on their website! Boo-hoo!!!

And the good news: ThaiCDExpress in Thailand has reopened!!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

CORPSE MANIA (Hong Kong, 1981)

Good quality video-cd from Celestial.


review by GÜNTER MÜLLER

"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
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First published in 2006.


RELEASES:

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

VCD
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.

ALUCARDA (Mexico, 1975)

Here's yet another cool review from the Günter Müller WEIRD ASIA archive. I totally agree with Günter's enthusiasm in regards to ALUCARDA!!
/Jack
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Rare Spanish dubbed VHS from the US (courtesy of Jayson/BoGD)


ALUCARDA
Director: Juan Lopez Moctezuma
Cast: Tina Romero, Susana Kamini, Claudio Brook, David Silva...
Mexico/USA 1975 [actually it's NOT a co-production with the USA/Jack]
Running Time: 75 Minuten
aka INNOCENTS FROM HELL


review by GÜNTER MÜLLER
'More blood, loud screaming and nudity than any horror film I can think of', says Psychotronic Video Guide editor Michael Weldon. And it's hard to contradict him.

After reading a review in my favourite magazine (Is it) Uncut (?) a few days ago I immediately knew: I gotta see this film! So I ordered it at Blackstar UK and after a week I received the disc. When I put it into my DVD player I must admit that my expectations were very high... and even those high expectations are exceeded with ease! The film was released by Pete Tombs' DVD label 'Mondo Macabro'. It is full uncut and in a wonderful quality considering that the movie is 28 years old. As extras Pete added a stills gallery, a bio- and filmography of the director (who died in 1995 and who worked together with Alejandro Jodorowski on FANDO Y LIS and EL TOPO; seems he learned a lot from him, particularly relating to surrealism), an interview with the director (that was made in 1977), plus a very interesting documentary on the Mexican horror film. Hallelujah!
[The documentary Günter Müller refers to is unfortunately only included on the UK reg. 2 version of the DVD. Mondo Macabro couldn't include it on the reg. 1 DVD as it contains film clips which they didn't own the copyrights for for the US market /Jack]

ALUCARDA kicks off with Justine (whose parents just died) arriving at a convent which will be her new home. She is received very friendly and almost immediately makes friends with a young woman... the beautiful Alucarda. When they meet a strange gypsy he leads them to his resting place where his wife tries to read the future from Justine's plam ('Shadows and Darkness'). Meanwhile the man shows Alucarda an odd amulet. On the way home they visit an eerie crypt and make a pact ('If we ever depart from this live we shall do it together'). When Alucarda opens a coffin countless voices attack her mind and she runs away in terror. Later, in their room, the mysterious gypsy appears again and the two fall under his spell. A blood pact is made, a ceremony in the woods follows, and even the devil himself seems to make an appearance shortly before the ceremony turns into a sex orgy. Back at the convent it doesn't take very long and the nuns and monks notice that something is very wrong with Alucarda and Justine. From this moment on all hell breaks loose in the convent...

It is pretty easy for me to review ALUCARDA because I can't find any negative point. All things match perfectly. There's the wonderful atmosphere of the film that is both mysterious and scary, sad and satanic, despairing and hopeless! The story moves along pretty lively and contains some nice surprises. Watching ALUCARDA makes you wonder if you are seeing an European movie that combines gothic horror with nunsploitation. There are wonderful sets with creaking doors, cobwebbed furniture, scary statues and mummified corpses, in contrast to praying nuns, shining figures of saints and burning candles. The actors and actresses aren't excellent but they are perfect for this kind of movie, above all Tina Romero as Alucarda. She is so convincing in her role, so vulnerable and sympathetic, that her subsequent destiny is very moving. On the other hand it is not so easy to feel sympathy for the 'good guys' (the priests), especially when they search with a steel pin for the 'Mark of the Devil' on a naked girl who is tied helplessly to a cross. The soundtrack underlines the proceedings effectively, and a few sound effects are excellent and cause goosebumps to appear on my hands and back. Also I can't critisize the camerawork, the editing and the direction. Top notch! In the second half of the film enough is happening to make three or four movies out of it. There is flagellation, torture, an exorcism, nuns rolling on the ground in ecstasy, much full frontal nudity, a bloodbath in the true meaning of the word, a gory decapitation and much much more. And the fiery showdown doesn't need to hide behind the spectacular climax in Brian de Palma's CARRIE.

ALUCARDA is a brilliant horror film from a time that brought us many gems. Even if some sequences of the movie are pretty hard and unpleasant to watch, the whole movie is very exciting and entertaining. Just keep repeating: it's only a movie... only a movie... And ALUCARDA belongs to the kind of movie that gets under your skin.. and very deeply at that. At least as far as I'm concerned. So I recommend ALUCARDA to all people who have a weakness for 1970s horror films, or who have a soft spot for obscure and strange movies. And of course to all the people who have enough of screaming American teenies, soullessly directed horror shockers constructed by rote, or SFX overkills bristling with state-of-the-art CGI. If you don't belong to those categories you'd better save the money...

Anyway, in my opinion, ALUCARDA is THE film discovery of the young year (on a par with the ultra-rare Hong Kong shocker THE WITCH WITH FLYING HEAD (1977) which I finally got into my trembling fingers). A few days ago I didn't even know that this film exists, and now it is in my collection and I'm totally enthusiastic about it. I really do think that ALUCARDA is among the very best of 1970s horror films. To end my raving review the same way that I started it here's another quotation from the Psychotronic Video Guide. '...the strongest, most imaginative, and visual witch movie since Ken Russell's THE DEVILS.' To be honest, I think that ALUCARDA stomps THE DEVILS into the ground...

One more thing: I don't think that the catholic church will ever recommend ALUCARDA. I however do it all the more so...
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First published in 2003.

There's a link to the reg. 1 DVD on Mondo Macabro's site here.


My Betamax tape from Turkey! Dubbed in Turkish



VHS from Japan



It should be noted that although this trailer is in Spanish the original language of the film is English, not Spanish. The MM reg. 1 DVD contains both audio tracks.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Upcoming SANTIAGO films have a release date

As I've mentioned here before the next DVD set from SHOUT! FACTORY to contain Filipino co-productions is Lethal Ladies vol. 2 with FLY ME and COVER GIRL MODELS. Both films are directed by Cirio H. Santiago and now there's a release date: January the 24th!

Like I've said earlier it's VERY exciting that we're getting FLY ME as it's never before been released on DVD and the scarce video releases (only TWO afaik; one in the US and one in the UK, incidentally the latter a double feature with COVER GIRL MODELS) are both as rare as had they vanished off the face of the Earth!

The set will also include the movie THE ARENA which isn't from the Philippines at all but it stars babatious Pam Grier (who were in some very cool Filipino flicks!) so that's not bad at all. xD

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ricky Hui - RIP

Unfortunately I've just learnt that Ricky Hui has died (8/11/11). He was only 65. So sad. :(

Ricky Hui was one of the funniest comedians ever. He was "the human Droopy" and he starred - and was the funniest character - in the Hong Kong movie CHICKEN AND DUCK TALK (and many other films). I taped that film from a now defunct Danish TV channel in the 1990s and I must have watched it at least 10 times if not more. Here's a link to the news bit on ihktv about his passing. The page is translated by Google so it's NOT that all HK translations are in wonky English like the old VHS subtitles. Usually I'd ad a "LOL" but now it's not even funny. Ricky died. RIP buddy.



Above: Someone posted a collection of funny scenes from CHICKEN AND DUCK TALK.



Ricky Hui was also a Canto pop singer and here he is on stage with his brother Sam Hui and some other guy. I accidentally stumbled over a concert on a HK TV channel that I was able to watch (via satellite dish) in the 90s. I seem to remember it was a channel broadcasting from the UK but it was HK TV. The concert was Ricky Hui and I could not stop laughing. He was doing this probably romantic love song but he just had THAT face! He cracked me up.