# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Human Lanterns (1982) Directed by: Sun Chung

Shaw Brother's Wuxia/horror hybrid made at a time when horror/comedy was the norm. Because of this, actually, daring move by Shaw's, Human Lanterns was a box office failure but a film that will find a new life now when it's finally available on dvd (in full Shawscope to boot). This revenge tale isn't the most involving, mostly due to the fact that main characters are very much anti-heroes but director Sun Chung (heroic bloodshed fans will recognize him as the man behind, the also dark and grim, City War with Chow Yun-Fat & Ti Lung) manages to bring the movie to a good level thanks to his good eye for horror. From a studio with less resources than Shaw's, the horror imagery could've ended up being unintentionally cheesy but the high production values instead gives us surprisingly effective and grueling scenes. Sharing the spotlight with the horror is the action choreography by Toong Gai and Wong Pau Gei. The weapon's fights are impressive, fluid and Chung's times the use of slow motion at key moments to great effect. Lo Lieh steals the movie from everyone else with a wicked, evil performance. Lau Wing (The Big Boss) and Chen Kuan Tai (The Blood Brothers) also appear.

Sadly, the current print available feature a few heavily truncated scenes but I believe the footage is forever lost making Celestial/IVL's remastered dvd the only choice currently.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Human Pork Chop (2000) Directed by: Bennie Chan

In an odd move, at the end of Bennie Chan's (not to be confused with Gen-X Cops director Benny Chan) Human Pork Chop, the filmmakers state that events and characters are fictional. While that may apply to the characters somewhat, the template for the story is straight out of our grim reality. It concerns the torture, rape and subsequent dismemberment of single mother/prostitute Fan Mei-Yee. One of the grisliest aspects of this criminal case was the disposal of the body parts, in particular the skull that was found inside a Hello Kitty doll. The reason for this severe punishment inflicted upon Fan was due to a debt of only a few thousand Hong Kong dollars, believe it or not. In the end, the loan sharks who held Fan captive received life sentences and Hong Kong Category III exploitation filmmakers saw their chance to put the events on film, TWICE. Yes, premiering on the same day as Human Pork Chop was There's A Secret In My Shop, starring Michael Wong. We at least know who came up with the more caring title, if there ever was such a thing.

Having said that, Bennie Chan's vision is quite chillingly effective as he uses the low-budget to enhance a grittiness and realism that showcases man at its very worst. There's more emphasis on ugliness rather than gore but that is equally hard to take so be prepared. Even with the film's most disgusting scene, involving feces, being heavily censored, Chan's direction is still punishing to a large degree. Nothing is redeemable although no person deserves that kind of punishment, making the movie rather heartbreaking at times.

On a side note, the corporation behind the Hello Kitty doll obviously wanted nothing to do with the film, which led to shots of the doll being pixellated in There's A Secret In My Soup. However the shots of it in Human Pork Shop are not manipulated. There is the possibility that a redesign of the doll was made for film purposes but nonetheless, those familiar with the case and product won't mistake it for any other.

Emily Kwan is simply terrific as Grace, one that is on the downslide of life with no apparent ambitions to better her situation. Not even being a single mother stops her from committing the wrongful act that ultimately seals her fate. Wayne Lai, a rather underrated and talent chameleon of an actor provides the chills but can't really make his stone-cold character lift out of the basic template of the writing. Helena Law Lan and Amanda Lee co-stars.

Being shot so short after the case was wrapped up, this movie obviously hit a few nerves but then again, this is what exploitation filmmakers lived and breathed on back in the Cat III heyday of the 90s, real life crimes. It could produce lasting profound effects and while Human Pork Chop won't stand next to the best works of people like Billy Tang, aficionados will surely study, not admire, this vision of the bleakest of the bleak side of society and humanity.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Hunting Evil Spirit (1999) Directed by: Fong Yau & Fong Yuen-Shing

A re-thread of sorts of Fong Yau's own Devil Of Rape, Charlie Cho stars as the head of a underwear- and bathing suit designing company who falls in love with designer Pauline (Pauline Chan). Despite being the boss and otherwise having no problem getting sex out of his employees, he thinks different of Pauline... so he goes to a Taoist Priest (Fong Yau) for a little black magic touch and out of his body he proceeds to rape helpless Pauline. Once is not enough but the second time around, she's employed magic assistance and thus begins a battle between priests as well...

This production might as well have been a leftover from about 1993, 94 or 95 because it has the exact feel of the assembly line Category III filmmaking of that era. Not a thoroughly bad thing if you tend to agree with even the cheapest concoctions. Hunting Evil Spirit falls into that category and does have the right attitude about what it's doing. Initially it seems very off and cartoony when we see other clients of the priest being re-united but then The Cho enters. Establishing his business via WAY too long scenes of models posing, posing and also posing, a fairly explicit sex scene later and we're into Cho's giddy out of body rapist part of the film. You can if you want extract a bit of commentary when looking at the business Fong Yau's priest runs but that would be too kind. No, this is unashamed, cheap stuff with quite a lot of energy to give via a short running time, big animated special effects and a lead actor who never apparently said no to anything in this genre. Bless him... kind of. Pauline Chan seemingly did not want to expose anything else but her breasts as evident in a tacked on shower scene where she has underwear on. Yep, it's shameless filmmaking but it's overall the cheap, supernatural shenanigans that matter and they deliver quite well. A disappointingly short climax ruins a lot of momentum however.

The Hurricane (1972) Directed by: Lo Wei

KENNETH'S REVIEW: From back when the Golden Harvest logo/intro was literally a shot of golden harvest followed by "presented in Dyali Scope!", comes this Lo Wei (Fist Of Fury) directed Wuxia. Trying to make his audience captivated by the secretive plot of what a particular message carried by the Hurricane (Patrick Tse) contains, there's little excitement or coherency in his story anchor so the flick goes little refined places. By turning off and just watching, you get a view of some nice outdoor scenery (there's little indoor sets used), decent action for its time that gains more momentum when it's intense and in a way I personally like the feeling of these low budget genre vehicles. It's tough to explain but it's a favourable response despite watching a weak film. Something to write a paper on one day perhaps. Also starring Sek Kin and Nora Miao.

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