Monday, 9 April 2012

WITCH WITH FLYING HEAD (Cheung Yan-Git, Taiwan, 1982)

A few years back I watched a truly weird, wacky, wild, gory, and wonderful horror movie called WITCH WITH FLYING HEAD. Back then I thought it was from Hong Kong but it's actually from Taiwan, and it was directed by Cheung Yan-Git who also made the weird, wild and gory THE DEVIL (1981). He's made many more films but I haven't watched any of those (you can look them up on the HKMDB).

WITCH WITH FLYING HEAD is very rare as it's never been released on dvd or on any easy-to-find video tapes. The bootleg I got hold of years ago is the same version that everybody else has; it stems from a rare TAI SENG vhs that doesn't have any English subtitles. Until very recently I didn't think a subtitled print existed but then... someone on eBay put up a Mandarin language tape from TAIWAN that indeed includes English subs. I made a hefty bid on the tape but couldn't compete with the winner whose winning bid ended up on $155!! However, someone who had dealt with the seller before suggested I write to him and ask if he'd sell me a dvd-r copy instead. Fortunately, the seller said yes!

I watched my dvd-r tonight and what a difference it is when you can actually comprehend the WACKED OUT story line!! The Taiwan print is fullscreen and cuts off left and right but because it's also squeezed you can actually get it "down" in the correct ratio by using the 16:9 button on the remote. The film print that was used for the vhs is fairly scratched but, ugh, screw that! It's subtitled!!!

6 comments:

  1. Nice one, Jack! I've never seen this so how does it compare with things like BLACK MAGIC or BOXER'S OMEN or even MYSTICS IN BALI, which I'm not totally crazy about.

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  2. Well, I think it was made on a lower budget than BLACK MAGIC and BOXER'S OMEN. The special effects are cheesy, but the actors and actresses are good. Obviously, I don't know what made you not like MYSTICS but if it were all the dialogue scenes then have no fear; This film kicks off to full speed from the word "go" and doesn't halt until 90 min. later. But we're different, I really dug it, you may hate it. xD

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  3. Ahhh... "Witch With Flying Head"... One of those truly legendary lil' gems. Now there's a film Mondo Macabro definitely ought look into to do a restoration of for a proper DVD.

    They just don't make em' like that anymore... ;)

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  4. Actually I asked Pete Tombs (of MM) about it on Cinehound forum in 2009 and his reply was:

    "If anyone can find ANY materials (or rights owner) for Witch [With Flying Head] and Rape After we'd go for both. I've got nowhere with either of them. Ditto The Magic Curse."

    - but no, they sure don't make 'em like that anymore. I sure wish these films would get proper releases!

    http://z9.invisionfree.com/THE_CINEHOUND_FORUM/index.php?showtopic=2715

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  5. It wasn't that I didn't like MYSTICS IN BALI, it just wasn't as outrageous a movie as I was expecting. It was over-hyped to me much like SEEDING OF A GHOST was years ago and upon seeing it, I was like, "Is this it?" I liked it, it's just not something I would watch very often. I enjoyed QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC much better, by the way.

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  6. Hi Jack J, any chance to buy this subtitled version from this person or from you?

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