|Diary of a Serial Killer (1995)|
|Writers:||Otto Chan (?)|
|Starring:||Chan Kwok-bong, Yeung Yuk-Mui and Cheung Yui-Ling|
|The Plot: Bill (Chan Kwok-bong) is your everyday sort of fellow. He has a wife, child and enjoys his own private time. Unfortunately for all of his neighbors, his private time revolves mostly around the killing of prostitutes. Within Bill’s deep past, he was humiliated by female officers within a prison sentence that he served as a young man. Now Bill looks to strike out and take his revenge on any member of the opposite sex that he finds to be immoral. Bill figures, as any good Buddhist would, the best way for a low-standing individual to attain a quality reincarnation would be for their lives to be taken in the most brutal and horrid fashion possible. So, Bill searches the streets at night looking for his next victim. His world is turned upside down, however, when his wife’s niece comes to live with his family. The young girl becomes Bill’s latest fascination and he will do anything to be with her… Anything!|
Generally speaking, few audience members come into these CAT III serial killer movies expecting hard boiled thrillers. We get into these flicks because we want to see some very weird and very lurid material, and in that regard Diary of a Serial Killer does not disappoint. This movie is sleazy, there is no doubt about that. Sleazy written in all capital letters on the side of a dumpster filled with maggots and used condoms. The character of Bill is sexually compulsive and comes across as a genuinely nasty man. Played to perfection by an over-the-top Chan Kwok-bong, Bill is ultimately played as our “hero”, but the man is genuinely horrid in almost all regards. In retrospect when I even attempt to think about the character all I think of his him in a wife-beater spitting out the side of his beat-up truck. That is the mental image given to me by this film, but I continually found it hilarious how the movie would constantly put his character in dangerous situations, where it seems he might be caught by the police, and then play up the suspense. They use this suspense as if we are supposed to care for this man, and hope that for some reason he won’t be caught, but he is far from a sympathetic man. While watching, I found myself taken back by the film and I asked myself “Am I supposed to be rooting for this psychopath?” The answer to that question is ambiguous, because director Otto Chan ultimately doesn’t take sides, and in that regard he at least leaves some intriguing question marks within his film.
Going back to my most beloved and hated aspect of the film, the movie bounces around heavily in its tone. There are light jokes, such as Bill’s wife falling asleep during intercourse after working a long day, which sounds rather sleazy but is played in a very broad manner of comedy. Then we are greeted with several slightly creepy moments throughout, such as the masturbation scene. That scene is a perfect example of the strange tones that this movie reaches for. In this sequence we watch Bill pleasure himself to an S&M video, which is pretty darn creepy, but then it gets slightly more strange as his wife steps in to “help him out” with some cooking oil. She does this before going to check on their baby… who sleeps in the same room. Then, in a diametrically opposed atmospheric reaction, we see her take the dripping oil off of her hand and pour it back in the bottle while the narrator explains how economical she is. Obscene and disturbing, but then attempting humor, the movie can’t seem to keep a steady hand. Even during the first killing the movie moves from straight horror into extremely broad humor. I won’t give away much, but the scene attempts to emulate the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, but turns into an outright spoof. A little comedy is expected in any Hong Kong title, but the broad levels of humor present here doesn’t really seem fitting for a movie about a man who apparently killed 14 people.