Tuesday 29 March 2011

Hong Kong madness

Re-post from 2009:

I just won these two video tapes on eBay. The seller was an unlikely seller as it was a record store in the US that doesn't normally deal in HK video tapes so I guess that's why I'm happy to be able to report I was the only bidder! Yay!

The scan on top of this post is OPERATION PINK SQUAD 2 which is a film I remember from the old splatter fanzine days. It was one of the films that tape traders would swap as it was one of those crazy, wild and right out over-the-top horror flicks that splatter movie fans had just discovered at the time. Forget the first one, forget the (kind of) third one. This second entry to the series is where it's at!!
And needless to say I'm pretty stoked about getting this one!! I mean, it's on DVD and all but... you know... this is the original tape that you just couldn't buy in the old days!! It's pretty awesome!!!

Here's what Thomas Weisser said about it way back in the special "cinemasian" edition of the US fanzine Naked! Screaming! Terror! #4/5 (back when he had just discovered these wild films and he was still an entusiastic fan):

"The original OPERATION PINK SQUAD was a winner action/adventure film that featured beautiful girls with machine guns similar to the ANGEL series. This time, director Jeff Lau takes the girls, puts them into a horror motif and adds a touch of humor. The result is a remarkable excursion into the outlandishly bizarre. Especially enthralling is an awesome villainess who has the power to disjoin her head from her body. As her body continues to chase The Pink Squad through the corridors of the haunted castle, her head zooms at breakneck (pardon the pun) speed chomping, biting and nipping at everything in its path. The Squad then uses miniature helicopters to chase it and (in scenes reminiscent of the "ball" in PHANTASM) the copters eventually surround the head; however she chooses to self-destruct in an amazing explosion of blood and gore. And the FX are so good that one almost believes it all. There's lots more, including legions of "Living Dead-type" zombies and four Kung Fu mystics who arrive through a "door to heaven." These priests, armed only "with the power of musical instruments," go into battle against the creatures and (like an MTV video) kill them with music. This film is a must see extravaganza."

Thomas Weisser gave the film top marks of four stars. When he later reprinted the review in his Asian Cult Cinema book his enthusiasm had cooled off quite a bit as he lowered the marks to these wild horror films from what he had originally given them back in N!S!T! In the book OPERATION PINK SQUAD 2 only gets three stars and he omitted the line "This film is a must see extravaganza".

Unfortunately, I have a feeling he had "grown up" and somehow couldn't enjoy wild and crazy Hong Kong films anymore. I guess Japanese spanking films became what gave him his kicks (plus made up spaghetti westerns that never got made, LOL). Don't get me wrong, I love all his enthusiastic reviews and ramblings from the early years. I love them a lot actually. That issue of N!S!T! became like a bible to me and Weisser's and Timothy Paxton's ramblings were partly what got me off on a never ending trek for Hong Kong cinema's wildness and weirdness, a trek that lasts to this day. And for that I thank them wholeheartedly! (anybody know what became of Paxton and Dave Tordarello???).

EDIT: No need to write in. Tim's on my FB list now. LOL.

The other tape I won is ENCOUNTER OF THE SPOOKY KIND 2. Yes, that one!! The sequel to ENCOUNTER OF THE SPOOKY KIND (aka Close Encounter of the Spooky Kind/Spooky Encounters) which has yet to be released subtitled to English on DVD (there's a beautiful French DVD but sans the English subs. Oh, and I have a very cool DVD-r of this version with added subs thanks to one very nice Cinehound member, Mr. White in the UK! xD!!!).

Monday 28 March 2011


One of the holy grails of dark and nasty Hong Kong horror!!!

From top: US Chinatown VHS, HK laserdisc, German bootleg DVD. There are no official DVD releases anywhere. There's one company in the US who claim their bootleg is an *official* DVD but it's not. It's a boot sourced from the LD or VHS.


So amazing you'll have to lie down to absorb it!!!

I watched BRUCE AND THE SHAOLIN BRONZEMEN and... argh... my brain is toast now! It was... quite an over-the-top excursion into pure insane cinematic madness!! HIGHLY recommended I might add!! I think it only ran 70 minutes or so but those 70 minutes... oh man! Fans of real kung fu flicks would probably hate it but as a Filipino trash film aficionado I completely loved it. My god! None of you should refrain from watching this due to its being a martial arts film or not a real Filipino exploitationer.

Oh, and the dubbing! From old HK kung fu movie tapes I'm of course used to the "ordinary" dubbing but this was different: everyone (including "Bruce Lee") had been dubbed into English... with a thick Filipino accent!! And it seemed as if the English lines had been either made on the spot or just by some translator who wasn't completely familiar with the lingo. I'm definitely gonna watch it again.

I'm gonna blow ya no matter what you say!

Hey, why ya try and blow him!! Get off!!

Killer dwarfs!

Silence! I kill you! I stare! You die!

[First posted in 2009.]

OPERATION PINK SQUAD 2 (Hong Kong, 1989)


OPERATION PINK SQUAD 2 is an over-the-top horror movie filled with Hong Kong slapstick along the lines of HAUNTED COP SHOP 2. And for these movies the slapstick works perfect!

The first film in the series, OPERATION PINK SQUAD, is a fun action film but I must admit it's been so long since I last saw it that I don't actually remember anything from it. But the sequel is a lot of fun and it's definitely the one to watch if you're only gonna get one of them!

Now pay attention! Unfortunately the Hongkongese find pleasure in throwing their films into English title Hell! The original English language title for this series is OPERATION PINK SQUAD but for some obscure reason the sequel was re-released as Thunder Cops omitting the link to the first film. And then they filmed to sequel called THUNDER COPS 2!! So the middle film has a predecessor and a follow-up but the first film and the third film are not part of the same series. Confusing? Well, it gets worse: 10 years after the third film they made yet another film and... obviously... called it THUNDER COPS. O_O
I should point out I have no idea if the company behind film #4 is the same that made the other films or if the story line is linked to the first films in any way what so ever. Argh!!!

OPERATION PINK SQUAD 1 & 2, and THUNDERS COP 2 are available on HK DVD (PINK SQUAD #2 under the Thunder Cops moniker).

THE HAUNTED COP SHOP 2 (Hong Kong, 1988)

VHS / US Chinatown release / fullscreen / Cantonese / English & Chinese subs

Ricky Hui and Jacky Cheung are back in a sequel that's much wilder and over-the-top than the first film! One of my favourites!! How often in films do you get to hear someone say: "I'll think of him every time I urinate" about their dead friend? LMAO.

By the way, if you wanna get hold of HAUNTED COP SHOP 2 try and find the HK video-cd as it has a great letterboxed print, not fullscreen like the video tape shown here. The English subs are fully visible on the VCD. The screen grabs in this post are from the VCD.

HAUNTED COP SHOP (Hong Kong, 1987)

VHS / Japan / letterbox / Cantonese / Japanese subs / fully uncut

Thai poster

Enjoyable, wild and funny horror movie starring Ricky Hui and Ricky Cheung. The latest DVD release from Fortune Star is unfortunately cut.

LEWD LIZARD (Hong Kong, 1979)

Here's another entry to the genre that I've labelled the "Dark and nasty Hong Kong horror movies of the 80s". They're not all actually from the 1980s but they all have that vipe, that tone of dark HK horror movies. Hell, they're not all even from Hong Kong! I definitely think THE DEVIL and WITCH WITH FLYING HEAD belong in that category and they're actually from Taiwan.

The main character is a bad dude who takes revenge on women by putting live *sex lizards* in their knickers and thus they orgasm to death!!!

LEWD LIZARD is a very rare, nasty Hong Kong horror movie from 1979, and let me warn you right away; if you couldn't stomach KILLER SNAKES because of the cruelty to animals then... there's a good chance you're not gonna like this one one bit either! I watched LEWD LIZARD a long time ago via a VHS dupe I got from a tape-trader and I didn't wanna re-watch that old crummy tape cos it looks like it's a fourth or fifth generation dupe. So when I began preparing for this new blog I looked around for a better copy and found... practically nothing!! LEWD LIZARD has proven to be thee most difficult HK horror film to track down. There's NOTHING out there. No old video tapes, no old video-cd's, no laserdiscs, not anything! Anywhere! All I found was two bootleggers who were selling bootlegs of it and from their description it seems it's a copy off the same old crappy VHS that they've got (same description of tape roll at the beginning of the film).

Anyway, I ordered a copy and, uh, I'm afraid this DVD-R bootleg looks about the same as my old video dupe did! But at least it has (crummy!) cover art. LMAO. 

EDIT (years later): I was finally able to upgrade! Someone in the US got in touch with me and they had a FIRST GENERATION VHS copy off an original VHS tape!!! So now I own a DVD-r off that tape. It's slightly better than the old bootlegs (and big thanks to said person in the US). But still no news of a release in ANY format.

Sunday 27 March 2011

DEVIL FETUS (Hong Kong, 1983)

VHS / Hong Kong / FS / Cantonese audio / English subs / alternative edit to DVD & VCD versions

aka MO TAI
Hongkong 1983
Directed by: Lau Hung Chuen
Cast: Lui Sau Ling, Ngaai Dik, Lo Pooi Pooi, Lau Dan, Ho Pak Kwong, Leung Saan, Gam Wing Cheung...
Running Time: 88 min.

If I’m informed correctly DEVIL FETUS should be easily available on VCD, in wonderful widescreen, both in subtitled and unsubtitled versions! I also own a DEVIL FETUS tape, that has English subtitles, but sadly is a horrible full screen version. It should go without saying that the subtitled widescreen disc is the way to go. [Note: Devil Fetus is now available on a fully uncut, letterboxed DVD in Hong Kong/Jack] All those versions seem to be fully uncut too, by the way. DEVIL FETUS is rated Category III, and to be honest, I can’t explain why. Sure, it’s gory and bizarre, but I think it won’t get a CAT III rating if released today. And if you’re expecting gratuitous sex and/or explicit sexual violence because of the rating - you definitely are wrong! There are a few spoilers ahead so read at your own risk!

The film opens with a girl who buys a statue in an auction, from where at night a monster gets out of, and it does exactly what monsters out of statues usually do: it rapes the girl (parallel’s to the excellent THE RAPE AFTER (1983) are obvious; accidentally, both movies were made in 1983!). At this time you think that the girl will produce an offspring that jumps out of her womb and kills various people in many gory ways, right? Wrong! The confusing story deals with possessed people, dogs and furniture, who attack various characters and try to finish them off. They don’t succeed most of the time. Then why is this one called DEVIL FETUS, you wanna know? Don’t ask me, I have not the slightest idea. But who needs a fetus when the movie is as entertaining as this one, with a few outstanding set-pieces and gory highlights?

Such as a man who rips the decayed flesh on his face away and reveals crawling and writhing worms underneath. A girl who vomits live worms (also seen in CENTIPEDE HORROR (1982) and SEEDING OF A GHOST (1983), yuck!). A nice dog who is possessed and attacks a man, and in the fierce struggle gets killed with a sword (I do hope not for real!) Later, it (the dog) is eviscerated and another possessed guy munches on his guts in best Italian cannibal movie fashion (I again hope not for real!). A big bird (an eagly maybe) is killed by cutting its throat (this sadly IS for real). The absolute highlight: a man is trapped in a small room, when suddenly the walls are closing in on him. It’s nice that one side has a glass window, so we are able to witness the slow crushing of his head in wonderfully gory fashion! Yeah! This scene is incredible! One of my favourite head-crushings of all time, even better then the classic sequence in the unrated THE TOXIC AVENGER (1985). And then there is the showdown where the monster appears out of a possessed man (it rips his skin away), gets decapitated, but a few heads grow instead of the old one, and all of ‘em are decapitated too. The last shot is one of the most wonderful in Hong Kong horror cinema history, with a severed head - after attacking a woman - being killed with a sword and then the head starts to decay before our very eyes via stop-motion! This effect looks a bit cheap and phony, but it is very inventive and incredibly charming (think of the stop motion scenes in THE EVIL DEAD (1982) and BASKET CASE (1982), and you get the idea). Well done, folks! Give me more of this! With scenes like that, who cares if the movie makes any sense (which it doesn’t)? Certainly not me!

DEVIL FETUS is maybe one of the weirdest movies I ever had the pleasure of watching. There’s so much going on, and little of it makes any sense, so you sit there, shaking the head, and wondering what the hell is going on. A very entertaining, bizarre and gory horror movie from the wonderful 1980s, not to be missed! I think I will never forget the excellent head-crushing and the last image (of the severed decayed head ‘rolling’ towards the camera and grinning into it) when the credits start to roll...

DEVIL FETUS was Lau Hung Chuen’s debut movie as director. He followed it with THE GHOST INFORMER (1984), A CHINESE LEGEND (1991) and THOSE WERE THE DAYS (1996) among others. Beside being a director, he made himself a name as a very competent cinematographer. His credits include UNDECLARED WAR (1990), QUEEN’S HIGH (1991), THE SWORD STAINED WITH ROYAL BLOOD (1993) and THUNDERBOLT (1995). The producer of DEVIL FETUS is a certain Lo Wei, well-known as the director of the Bruce Lee starring THE BIG BOSS (1971) and FIST OF FURY (1972).
The review is based on the unsubtitled VCD. I didn’t bother to watch the subtitled full screen tape again, sorry. There’s too little time anyway.

Review by Günter Müller first posted on his now discontinued "Weird Asia" site.


VHS / Japan / letterbox / English dub / Japanese subs
[click scan for full size]

GHOSTLY FACE (Taiwan/Indonesia, 1972)

VHS / Denmark / half letterboxed / English dub / Danish subs / uncut

Very entertaining. Read a review for it over on the cool Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! blog.

Here are screen grabs from the two prints I have; #1 is a letterboxed, English subbed, Chinese language print. #2 is the English dubbed, Danish subtitled, half letterboxed, squeezed picture print. The first print is off a DVD-R bootleg from eBay, the second is off the official Danish rental VHS.

Is it just me or does the fully letterboxed version look too thin? Like it's a fan made letterboxing that went wrong. o_O

VHS / Germany / format? / German dub / no subs / cut?

[click the scans for full size]

[click the poster twice for full size]

FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY (Philippines)


VHS / Denmark / fullscreen / English audio / Danish subs
[click scan for full size]

LETHAL HUNTER (Indonesia, 1986)

Original Indonesian title: PERAWAN DI SARANG SINDIKAT
Original Indonesian English title: LETHAL HUNTER
American re-title: AMERICAN HUNTER

NB: Not to be confused with the Filipino film THE LETHAL HUNT

VHS / Greece / fullscreen / English audio / Greek subs

Bollywood poster

FINAL SCORE (Indonesia)

VHS / Japan / fullscreen / English audio / Japanese subs