Kickboxer From Hell (1990)

Directed by: Alton Cheung
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Written by : Chris Lam
Starring: Mark Houghton, Sooni Shroff, Richard Edwards & Nora Miao

IFD took trends and ran with it for profit. As a business should do. Once the ninja craze was decided to be over, Bloodsport, Kickboxer AND Jean Claude Van Damme took enough of the world by storm for Joseph Lai to notice. Now ninjas were replaced by kickboxers. One train of thought that also stayed was splicing together the newly shot action with something old and on occasion completely different genre-wise. That's why Kickboxer From Hell is dopey magic as its source movie is 1975's The Obsessed directed by Mak Pang-Chin is indeed a horror movie. IFD essentially turned Filmark nutty by this point by having an action plot, dealing with Satan and a movie from two decades prior.

After escaping from a Satan worshipping cult whilst on an undercover mission, a nun takes refuge with kickboxer Sean (Mark Houghton) who eventually has to help her out as his brother is killed by the disciples. The nun worked with Eileen (Nora Miao) during their mission but she broke free to get married to Robert. Cue the original movie and strange sounds in the night for the newly weds. As well as strange appearances of a woman in their house...

Not that IFD stepped up their production quality and started to make seamless mergers of their footage and the source movie. But the truer joy from the IFD experience has always been for me the free for all mix of genres, in the name of fun and business. Therefore Mark Houghton's story having to deal with the power of Satan embodied in a man with half a Kiss make-up job, his disciples (looking like they're playing cowboys and indians in the woods) is quite wonderfully goofy and fairly energetic too. With a lot of forced profanity, some fine bursts of action choreography (it helps Mark Houghton is an accomplished martial artist with plenty of experience), IFD's section of Kickboxer From Hell greatly amuses.

The Obsessed for all intents and purposes is a pretty standard horror movie with a possible sometimes they'll come back-esque storyline. There's sufficiently made echoes of classic horror here, starting with strange sounds in the night, scary black cats to the appearance of ghostly apparitions (with a huge green light in their face for rather forced effect). No true surprises emerges but a lean towards frantic and dark horror helps and it's certainly not a desperate copy of someone else's work. The fit with the Alton Cheung footage is simply not a fit at all though but its fair strengths vs IFD's action-horror intentions makes the final product a good, goofy one. Kickboxers were no ninjas and I doubt this era ranked high profit-wise but Joseph Lai was trying angles and that is to be applauded.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson