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Archive for July, 2010

Prime Evil

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 7 - 2010
Review submitted by our good friend Prof. Aglaophotis!


The Plot: The story starts during the mid 1300’s when the Black Death struck Europe and monks across the continent felt their faith was being tested by God during the plague. However, Lucifer decided to use this time to offer a charismatic, faithful former servant of God an offer of eternal youth by rounding up his own faith-hood who wanted to avoid the Black Death; all the recipients had to do was sacrifice one of their immediate relatives. Thus enters brother Thomas Seaton (Beckwith) who is chosen to fill this role with an iron fist and he starts by subjecting his convent to join his side and live eternally or die right there on the spot.

We now take the story to present day New York where Seaton runs a church and his believers, old and new, are living long by individually sacrificing a relative of theirs every thirteen years. We quickly get acquainted with the soon-to be victims of the thriving cult, the main one being Alexandra (Moore), a social worker for the female criminal frame. Alexandra’s grandfather George and his own Satanic relatives are getting ready for Alexandra’s sacrifice, all the while George has every intention of filling Seaton’s shoes seeing how he’s the oldest living member next to Seaton. In the midst of this, Sister Angela of Seaton’s church is coming on to the cult’s activities as she is familiar with their home wrecking sacrifices and, with the Minister’s help, plans to thwart the up-coming sacrifice before another life is lost. Who will win in the bloody battle of good and evil?




The Review
Ah, the classic good and evil Ritual Sacrifice Horror movie. I must admit, I’ve never been an avid fan of the sub-genre, but I’m always willing to give these types of movies a watch because you never know that there’s good in a film unless you watch it. Sadly, there is some good in it, but you’d have to hold your breath to ward off the severe stink of crap inundating almost every aspect of the film in order to find it. Although once you do find some good in this movie, you’d probably choke from the remaining fecal matter the film manages to reproduce before you have enough time to savor the goodness. Leave it to the ex-wife of Micheal Findlay, who together filmed classics like Snuff, to make such a choppy, exhausting and stupid movie.

To sound less impetuous in my pessimism, the movie offers a fair premise with a compromising background and one convincingly deep heroine with a small assortment of good acting. All of these were wrapped tightly to a constrictive budget that wanted to do bigger things with its already small production value. Prime Evil is boring and lagging as it presents far more unimportant scenes of dialogue in abundance, making the scenes that are important whiz by in a manner of seconds. Worst of all, the beginning of the film is actually very hard to follow because it starts out with every separate scenario for various characters with quick jump cuts that never bother to tie together until the middle of the movie. Whew, now that I’ve got the summary out of the way, let’s look at what tries to make this movie what it could’ve been, shall we?

The cinematography was a bit varied as the movie starts out with a fairly lucid flashback coupled with some rather tiring narration. The disjointed scenarios following immediately afterwards don’t help our early understanding of the plot’s direction, which makes the movie feel like it has a number of different plot lines in different universes going on simultaneously until characters from each scenario start meeting up with others (sort of like Pod People, except the monster in this movie looks cooler… but more on that later). The lighting is pretty bad as every shot is dependent on natural light and very few artificial lights are used for certain scenes, making it difficult to find the details of many of the scenes.

The music has a half-and-half effect for the movie as the soundtrack is composed from a z-grade keyboard that’s similar to various spiritual mischief films of the eighties (the first two Ghoulies movies come to mind); the nutty evil-mischief sounds however are often coupled with pseudo mystical/evil chant tunes and some neat ambient notes. The sound effects seemed a bit bungled as well: a few sound effects are much louder than the dialogue. The sound shared a cheesy attribute to the movie as there was one scene in which one of the characters swears on screen, yet it’s cut out by the sound of someone’s feet shuffling across tile floors… yet all the characters present in that scene are standing still.

The visual effects in the movie were fair yet revealed a mass of cheapness to them as one character brandishes an obviously fake combat knife in preparation for a kill scene. The gore effects resorted to a few close ups of sharp objects going into flesh and one decapitation, yet most of which are sadly cut out. Apparently the version I got and the only version commercially available on DVD is censored of gore, a few possible breasts and the one curse word in the entire movie, though there’s little information about the possibility of there being an available uncensored version, not that there would be a significant difference (just more breasts and Argento style stab-wounds). The most remarkable effects would have to include some random page burning during a sacrifice that the antagonist performs, in which all of the papers come from a random book that are stuck on a knife and held over a candle, but instead of slowly burning, the pages immediately incinerate into a ball of fire. The pages were obviously flash paper, the kind you use for a magic show or MST3K skit (Manhunt in Space), but it was effective for the scene none the less. The demon I mentioned was fair as well, though far from scary as it was obviously a foot tall marionette used for one scene and a few quick shots. Still, it was refreshing to look at as its skin-less he-goat appearance was ghastly none the less. It didn’t have the same creepy effect as the horny he-goat demon in The Church, but it was still kinda cool.

The acting, though straddling the lines of fair and pretentious, actually had some credible roles to them. Alexandra got to expose a few aspects about her childhood trauma in a wonderfully expositive scene (probably my favorite scene in the whole movie) and the fellow playing Father Seaton, though stereotypically one-dimensional and a little silly, played a wonderfully sinister antagonist; perhaps the only other actor I can think of that could match this actor being John Phillip Law of B-movie fame (Barbarella, Marylin Behind Bars & Space Mutiny). The dialogue seemed to fit for most of the characters: those important to the plot had clear, competent lines while those unimportant to the plot got to fill the screen with irritating, unbearable dialogue. Sadly, the latter group is the one we hear the most from. Halfway through, I was begging for the villains to kill off Alexandra’s friends, relatives, associates and the two cop characters; funny enough, I think most of those wishes came true.

None of the good bits in this movie save it though, Prime Evil is still a stinker. For one, it’s a great exercise in pointless scenes. The number of different scenes where Ben, the burly ‘garbage man’ for the cult (and probably my favorite character next to that he-goat/demon marionette), had to perform the task of kidnapping random young women off the streets and swimming pools of New York to use in the cult. You’d think this unfortunate young ladies would be used in some humiliating ceremony out of a warped John Van Meale painting, but no, this is what they do with the captured women: Padre Seaton gazes into their eyes a la Dracula, hypnotize them into getting into slinky robes, initiate them in horribly cut topless scenes where each girl gets a gash on the wrist and then they spend the rest of the movie standing around holding books for him to read!!

You mean to tell me this cult is so evil it has to kidnap people just to get a bookstand?! What, were actual book stands expensive in the eighties? Furthermore, what the Hell was with the random scenes of Alex talking to her porker friend at the local gym?? It led us into Alex’s character the first time around, juxtaposing her to a seemingly ‘bad’ girl, but later in the movie we get the same kind of scene, with no purpose, yet with deplorable length! Just the two of them talking, while Alex’s friend indulges in junk food as she exercises, expressing bad dialogue and brandishing bad clothes for no other reason than to piss me off!



The Conclusion
All in all, Prime Evil is left in obscurity for a pretty good reason. The only way I can recommend it to anyone is if you happen to find the unrated version of the movie as finding and watching that may be a bit more worth your time… that is, if it exists.

Stinger: “Well maybe I am just a bit extreme! But you’re extreme too, the OTHER extreme!”



Women’s Camp 119 – by Prof. Aglaophotis!

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 6 - 2010
Hey everybody! I have a little something special for those who have kept up with the site for a while, our old friend Prof. Aglaophotis has made his return and contributed a review for a classic piece of Bruno Mattei sleaze known as Women’s Camp 119! Although I have not seen this particular Mattei film for myself, knowing the fun that I had with Women’s Prison Massacre – this looks like it could be a classic!

The Plot: It’s Poland during World War II. A group of female detainees from Ravensbrück are being escorted to a little-heard concentration camp called Rosenhausen. Once they arrive, the camp commander Major Franz Weiker MD tells the new arrivals that Rosenhausen is actually a front for testing bacteriological weapons and eugenic experiments in order to aide Hitler and The Third Reich. Wieker assigns one of the new arrivals, Dr. Maria Black, to assist him and his medical team on the various unethical experiments. Working alongside her is another prisoner, Dr. David Miesel, who is determined to escape the camp alive. The two must survive the dangers around them including the increasing insanity of Major Wieker.






CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW HERE

Women’s Camp 119

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 6 - 2010
Review submitted by our good friend Prof. Aglaophotis!


The Plot: It’s Poland during World War II. A group of female detainees from Ravensbrück are being escorted to a little-heard concentration camp called Rosenhausen. Once they arrive, the camp commander Major Franz Weiker MD tells the new arrivals that Rosenhausen is actually a front for testing bacteriological weapons and eugenic experiments in order to aide Hitler and The Third Reich. Wieker assigns one of the new arrivals, Dr. Maria Black, to assist him and his medical team on the various unethical experiments. Working alongside her is another prisoner, Dr. David Miesel, who is determined to escape the camp alive. The two must survive the dangers around them including the increasing insanity of Major Wieker.




The Review
I’ve exposed myself to Exploitation movies before in the past, but mostly just in the Horror-Exploitation sub-genre and one brief dip into Nunsploitation with the help of Italian B-Movie director Bruno Mattei. So when I decided to finally jump into Nazisploitation, I went for one that just happened to be directed by Bruno Mattei… and you know what? This is actually a great introduction to the sub-genre; I’ve watched Nazisploitations after this one, and they still don’t match up to this in my mind.* You know an Exploitation film is great when you love feeling bad just watching it; maybe it’s a natural love for the macabre (and I guarantee you it’s not a love for fascism), but the brutal, dark and tasteless style of this film is just magnetic. Does that mean this movie is without flaws? No, not in the least.

Firstly, the DVD transfer of this movie is piss-poor. The movie is commercially available through a 20 disc boxed set called the Grindhouse Experience, a personal treasure-trove of Exploitation, Action, Western and Mondo movies. Sadly, like most multiple movie compilations, this one consists of horrible VHS transfers to DVD, most of which have less quality than bootleg titles. I think Women’s Camp 119 got the worst of it, because the VHS source flickers worse than an abused rental tape and the whole movie is hardcoded with Dutch subtitles. Well, at least now I know how to write in Dutch, begrepen? With that out of the way though, I’m not too sure if a cleaner transfer or Barrel Entertainment-style restoration would’ve helped: the film used to shoot this movie is grainer and darker than the Video Filter in Silent Hill 2.

Technical aspects aside, the movie is fairly well shot with a lot of effective close-ups and tight, claustrophobic face zooms. There is some very impressive camera work to be seen, too, particularly near the end out in a woodland scene. Strangely, the worst of the camerawork all happens in this extremely dark slaughterhouse set where all the public executions and beatings take place; every time the camera’s set in this area, it’s placed so far back and zoomed out completely it’s hard to tell what’s happening half the time. The editing is pretty good too, though there are several scenes near the end that pop up out of nowhere and disappear as quickly as they showed up, one of which showing what looks like actual Holocaust footage. There’s another scene closer to the beginning where Dr. Black and Meisel are discussing the depression around them and the characters seem to go from being in a hallway to a lab, then back to the hallway and then into another lab.

In regards to brutality, Women’s Camp 119 doesn’t pull any punches; this is the kind of movie that lets you know that no one will be spared regardless of age or gender. From beginning to end, Women’s Camp 119 has a thick rawness that you can feel and it feels like a cross between alligator scales and splintered wood. Some things you’ll see in this movie are genuinely disturbing and only add to the sense of dread and unhappiness leaking from the film. So much so I’m afraid to mention any of what you’d see for fear of giving it all away. If anything, I guess I can hint that the character study of Wieker had to have been inspired from Josef Mengele considering the complete lack of bio-ethics, the death of patients and how considerably well fed the patients were. Despite its sense of brutality though, you can tell just how low budget the movie is in some parts; there’s this one scene where a naked woman gets shot in the leg and the entire scene would be really uncomfortable, but the actress treats a bullet to the thigh like a hypodermic needle.

Which isn’t to say the acting is lousy. If there’s one thing I can say about Bruno Mattei is that he knows his talent and he found a lot of it in this cast. Ivano Staccioli does a good job at being an efficient, cold and uncaring monster, even though his dialogue is often too simplistic and too fact-oriented… and I think there’s a few scenes where it looks like he’s glancing at his lines or just remembering them. Lorraine de Salle is great as a depressed woman forced to tolerate malpractice and human experimentation, who spends most of the movie looking like Hell (kind of like how she did in House on the Edge of the Park) and confiding in her even more haggard love interest. And then… there’s Ober Lieutenant Otto Ohlendorf!

The camp Lieutenant here is played by an Italian actor named Gabrielle Carrara who I really hope did more than three movies; this man has a wild grin and maniacal laugh that could have easily won him a role as The Joker in an early Bat Man movie. The Lieutenant is probably the most fun character in this lot especially considering that he’s at is happiest when he’s humiliating women (“Who told you to stop working?!“). It’s fantastic watching his character go from stone-cold serious to an evil grin in seconds. Plus, most of the Italian actor’s German in the movie, that wasn’t dubbed over by their English dub actors, is pretty good, especially Staccioli’s who sounds like he spent most of the movie shouting at everyone.

Actually, there’s another thing Mattei did well and it was having a real ear for music. I’m just going to come out right now and say that I personally LOVE the soundtrack to Women’s Camp 119; I’ve heard a few scores from Italian musician Alessandro Alessandroni, such as The Devil’s Nightmare, Go Kill and Come Back and some solo work in Hell Ride. All of those film scores were lovely, but this score tops it. The soundtrack to Women’s Camp 119 is a unique combination of pianos, violins, vocals and I think an occasional mandolin that mix together to make one of the darkest and depressing musical scores in a movie. As sad as it is, the soundtrack never falls short in its range of emotions: there are scores in the movie that use violin stringing so well the songs practically sound terrifying and borderline horrific.

For most of the movie, the music works very well. The music that plays during the gassing/supper scene near the beginning adds a stark intensity to both actions – women being gassed to death and Nazi Officers eating supper – spliced with each other; it’s powerful music to a truly disheartening scene. Yet, the most touching, heartfelt song in the whole soundtrack is used in probably the most ridiculous moment in the whole movie: it’s when the doctors manage to revive a human corpse… by getting a French prostitute to writhe around naked on top of him. And the experiment actually works.

Now that I mention it, this movie does get a little silly, though I knew that going into the genre; any sub-genre of Exploitation that has overt lesbian Nazis (??) is bound to get a little zany. Earlier in the movie, we’re briefly introduced to the male prisoners at the camp (so it’s not really a ‘Women’s Camp,’ then) and let me just say they are HILARIOUS. There’s only two homosexual men in the camp but their introduction shows them locked up in a sunny, well furnished room as they quietly knit and flame. The experiment the homosexual characters are involved in is probably the silliest, funniest and simultaneously most subtly disturbing moment in the whole movie. The other one is Crazy Kurt, a dopey, chuckling criminally insane pervert with a wildly funny face who spends most of the movie molesting the female prisoners.

In regards to continuity and anachronisms, Women’s Camp 119 is seamless for the most part. Because the footage and film quality is so grainy and because the video source was so choppy, it was hard to point its faults out. I have to give the film makers a lot of credit for the location, though. I don’t know where this movie was shot, but most of the scenes looked like they could very well have been taking place in a concentration camp: from the exterior scenes right down to the Alchemilla hospital-like labs and operating rooms complete with functioning medical equipment and machines, Camp Rosenhausen honestly looks like a stalag.

There were some flops that stuck out though like how Major Wieker changes between gray and black uniforms and doesn’t put on his armband throughout the movie and how one of the Nazi doctors has a fully grown beard. I’m sorry, no, the Nazi’s never grew beards unless they were out to sea. What, you couldn’t have the actor maintain a mustache? The only notable continuity and anachronistic parts I could notice were objects in the background that looked a little too modern: there’s what looks like a security camera in one surgery scene and even what appears to be an office building just outside the camp walls far behind Wieker’s head in his introduction.

Bruno Mattei has been known to use a lot of stock footage for his earlier films and has been able to match the stock of those movies with his own. That’s apparent here, but only in one nighttime scene. Considering how incredibly dark and grainy this movie is, the stock footage matched well enough I wouldn’t have been surprised if the movie suddenly grew a budget.

My only real complaint about the movie is the ending – consisting of two separate scenes – because as dark and depressing as it is, it’s completely random, abrupt and makes no sense. Oh sure, the concept was kind of cool and even a little dramatic at parts, but it had no context or reason to happen… it just does, out of nowhere. It makes me wonder what this movie would be like if it were more of a psychological study of its main character. The decisions of the character and the editing suggest a severe mental break that, with a proper back story, would’ve made a lot more sense. The actual ending, context-wise is okay, but it feels as though it was shot in post due to the scene’s dullness. Also, what’s shown instead of End Credits is tacky and out-of-place.



The Conclusion
Women’s Camp 119 is a raw, brutal and thoroughly depressing film balanced by a fair amount of campiness and the kind of tough exterior that challenges you to watch it more than once. I honestly wish I could get a solid DVD or even VHS copy of this with a clean transfer, thus making this more recommendable; I know DVD and VHS copies exist out there, I’ve seen the covers and obtained one for the review, but as to their availability I have no idea. Still, if you can find a copy of this movie and have the stomach for Nazisploitation, it should fill your pallet.


* Well, except maybe Men Behind the Sun, but that wasn’t Nazis, that was the Japanese. Besides… that’s a whole other review.





House of Traps Review

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 4 - 2010
Well, it’s not quite Kung Fu Christmas just yet, but I couldn’t help but take some time out for some Chang Cheh goodness. House of Traps may not be his finest hour, but it is most certainly a great piece of entertainment!

The Plot: Taking place in the Sung Dynasty, we are treated to a tell of espionage and ever-twisting loyalties. Our story begins with the death of Emperor Kuang Yin, who was rumored to have been killed by his brother De Zhao. When the new Emperor Guang Yi took the throne he immediately ordered De Zhao to commit suicide. We skip forward several years and now De Zhao’s son Zhao Jue has been crowned as the prince of Xiangyang and he has his mind set on vengeance. Zhao Jue looks to overthrow the Emperor and he starts off by ordering his men to steal several precious objects from the current government. Zhao Jue keeps himself locked away in his House of Traps, where he fears no spies due to the massive number of booby-traps within this home. Inside of the House he keeps a membership list that holds the name of all those who have joined his rebellion, as well as the precious jade and ivory horse that he has stolen from the government. Zhao Jue has his eyes on becoming all powerful, but at the same time Judge Pow (Chien Sun) is heading up an investigation into the accusations that Zhao Jue is a traitor. As Judge Pow heads off to do some investigating, the prince sends out two pair of hitmen in order to end his snooping. Along the way the judge, who is not skilled in kung fu, runs into Pai yu-tong (Chin Siu-Ho) who is enlisted as a bodyguard and defeats the men. As the tides keep turning, other groups continue to step into the battle. Who will win in this battle of government officials and rebels?



CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW HERE

House of Traps

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 4 - 2010

The Plot: Taking place in the Sung Dynasty, we are treated to a tale of espionage and ever-twisting loyalties. Our story begins with the death of Emperor Kuang Yin who was rumored to have been killed by his brother De Zhao. When the new Emperor Guang Yi took the throne he immediately ordered De Zhao to commit suicide. We skip forward several years and now De Zhao’s son Zhao Jue has been crowned as the prince of Xiangyang and he has his mind set on vengeance. Zhao Jue looks to overthrow the Emperor and he starts off by ordering his men to steal several precious objects from the current government. Zhao Jue keeps himself locked away in his House of Traps, where he fears no spies due to the massive number of booby-traps within this home. Inside of the House he keeps a membership list that holds the name of all those who have joined his rebellion, as well as the precious jade and ivory horse that he has stolen from the government. Zhao Jue has his eyes on becoming all powerful, but at the same time Judge Pow (Chien Sun) is heading up an investigation into the accusations that Zhao Jue is a traitor. As Judge Pow heads off to do some investigating, the prince sends out two pair of hitmen in order to end his snooping. Along the way the judge, who is not skilled in kung fu, runs into Pai yu-tong (Chin Siu-Ho) who is enlisted as a bodyguard and defeats the men. As the tides keep turning, other groups continue to step into the battle. Who will win in this battle of government officials and rebels?


The Review
Chang Cheh, Ni Kuang and the Venom Mob were in my humble opinion the greatest team in all of martial arts cinema throughout the seventies and eighties. There is an argument that often comes up between martial arts film fans about who the greater force was from this era: Chang Cheh or Lia Chiang-Liu. While I concede that Liu was a master in his own right and created some of the most memorable and brilliant pictures that the genre has ever seen, Chang Cheh was just so consistent and versatile in his output. When comparing the two, you have to concede that Liu was certainly the more traditionally artistic of the two. His work is generally more dramatic, character driven and has slightly less emphasis on superficial gimmicks. This is where Chang Cheh differs from Liu, because I don’t think that there is a gimmick that the man ever met that he didn’t love. That reason by itself explains just what I love about the man and his movies, but there is still so much more to his work. The gimmicks are just a part of what makes his work so special. While so many other directors were going to Shaolin and using monks in all of their work, who dressed in dreary clothing and were universally ordinary. Cheh would instead throw his cast in an assortment of brightly colored outfits that seemed more fitting for astronauts than for actual turn of the century martial artists. You know what though? That’s the point and that is partially what makes his work so great, in that he creates a different atmosphere and a different universe for his characters.

House of Traps comes at the tale end of the old school movement and is indeed one of Chang Cheh’s last films featuring many of the Venom clan. It came about right before action-comedy would become the prevalent dominating force within the community. While House of Traps is far from the best film the director or this team ever made, it demonstrates everything that made Chang Cheh such a visionary and it at times also demonstrates the pitfalls that he was known to sink in. The name Chang Cheh has almost become synonymous at this point with certain types of melodrama. His work exemplifies chivalry and honor amongst men and House of Traps is no different. The good guys are remarkably good and the bad guys are just dastardly in their evil attitudes. Cheh and Ni Kuang did not usually dabble in the gray areas of life (with House of Traps playing both sides of the fence to a certain degree, but I’ll get to that shortly) and the old fashioned sentimentality of these movies adds a certain charm to them. Cheh’s heroes are kind to all men, fair in their view of justice and are generally amicable in all respects. Chien Sun’s character in House of Traps is the definition of this trait, as he takes in The Black Fox (played by Phillip Kwok) despite his obvious attempts at grifting him for money. Although Sun Chien seems a bit wasted in the shoes of this character (he never has a single fight sequence), he correctly demonstrates how definite the moral equation is between these two groups who are waging war with one another… or so it would seem.

There is a particular twist that comes about in roughly the last thirty seconds of House of Traps that defies much of what has come before it in the film. Although I don’t want to spoil anything, if you are at least vaguely familiar with the formula for a martial arts film then you know that this movie will end with an elaborate battle. It’s as if the filmmakers decided to throw a monkey wrench inside of the machine and call into question the very formula of martial arts cinema itself. Although not played in nearly that profound of a fashion, the final lines of the film seem to make a statement that perhaps war and fighting are not the way in which to settle disputes. Heave, right? Not really. The main problem with House of Traps comes from this elaborate and unnecessary plotting. Quite literally within the first minute of this movie, you are going to be confused. House of Traps opens with a succession of quick cuts and random facts dealing with the actual House of Traps from the movie, its history and the two warring factions. If you can keep track of this information as well as the endless series of characters who are introduced and their responsibilities within each faction, then you are a far better man than I. Writing down names and phonetically spelling out the names for their characters, it was still tricky to keep up with everything that House of Traps throws at its audience. I had similar issues with Ten Tigers From Kwangtung, where it seemed as if Cheh tried to gather too much information with too large of a cast to be conveyed in such a short amount of time. Ultimately, this is the greatest downfall of the movie. No matter how great the martial arts and how charismatic the actors may be, when you’re having trouble keeping up with the vigorous plot then your enjoyment level is going to be severely limited.

Cheh and his crew do manage to flaunt some of their better qualities as well. I mentioned the gimmickry of Chang Cheh’s movies up above and this title is no different. The house of traps from the title is actually a really fantastic and entertaining idea. The house is essentially a booby trapped hut meant to house the Prince and his secret documents and stolen goods. A lot of the action is set around one single set piece that features a staircase that leads to a cellar/pit area. When a martial artist is trapped in this room, spikes begin to raise up from out of the floor and they are left with only the option to try and run back up the stairs. This holds another trick for the unlucky victim, as the staircase quickly has its steps drop, leaving anyone on them to fall to their death. If a quick witted martial artist somehow manages to evade the spikes and quickly flip up to the second story, then they have to fend off several nets that feature wooden boards on their sides which are adorned with massive spikes. The movie features many other secret booby traps throughout that of course have a secret weakness to some given martial arts technique. Not everyone can survive however, and that leads us to a few instances of traditional Chang Cheh gore. Known as the most violent filmmaker of this period, Cheh does not disappoint as we are given several very bloody death scenes throughout. One of which includes a man having half of his foot chopped off within the house of traps!

The Trivia
  • The consensus holds that this was one of the very last films to truly be considered a “Venoms” title.

  • The Image Video DVD release of the film is easily the best version of the movie currently available, but is unfortunately missing over twenty minutes worth of footage. The remaining footage was unable to be restored and thus was simply cut out.


  • The Conclusion
    It isn’t the best nor the worst in the career of these filmmakers. With some solid plot structure and a more jaunting pace, this could have been a classic. The choreography is spectacular as usual, but I must admit it takes some trudging to actually get to the epic fight sequences. I give the movie a three out of five, due mainly to the charismatic leads and the always blistering fight sequences which are quite spectacular. Particularly in the final minutes, where we see many excellent weapons put to great use. For Chang Cheh and Venoms fans, this is a must see. For those not initiated with the genre, this is something you need to come back to eventually. Either way it goes, it deserves a look.



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    Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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