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Chart: SHAW BROTHERS BLACK MAGIC INSANITY!!

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  • Chart: SHAW BROTHERS BLACK MAGIC INSANITY!!



    Most (?) of you will be familiar with the Shaw Brothers kung-fu flicks - always with a healthy budget and cool sets, plus loads of library cues used in most of them! I never really got into Kung-Fu gear when in my teenage years like some of my mates did, and i guess i haven't massively now either. But I have been seeking out their more curious Horror/fantasy productions form the late-70's/ early-80's as they offer the same high production values and cool sets, but with a healthy does of insanity and confusion into the mix. Thought I'd do a little chart of some faves, with the hope that someone can recommend some others in a similar vein:

    Can't start without mentioning the two "BLACK MAGIC" films (1975 & 76), but i'm not going to - both started this delirious cycle of films, but are also the tamest by far (if you can call hitting six inch nails into people's heads to turn them into hopping vampires tame?). I will say that part two is way more fun than the first.

    Here's my picks:





    BOXER'S OMEN (1983):

    This is the big one for me. The S.B. films that made me attempt to seek out more of the like - though i feel it's been a pointless dragon-chasing exercise as this really is the top of the pile in bonkersness for me. But the other films are cool too, so whatevs yeh? Starts very similar to Van Damme’s ‘Kickboxer’ but soon takes a huge lost-in-translation twist when it turns into constant black magic spell battles. One of the most bonkers films I’ve ever seen, and my favourite Hellfire screening we’ve done. Constant wonky FX to represent increasingly disgusting and baffling spells. I wrote in the Cube programme at the time that the FX looked like they were “made by Jim Henson after he’s had a massive stroke” – but was ordered to take it out as they were showing an ‘over-coming adversity after a brain haemorrhage’ documentary the next night. Pussies.




    SEEDING OF A GHOST (1983):

    Kind of rape-revenge film, that follows a guy arranging a black magic comeback to the guys who raped and killed his wife. Veeeery slow first half hour, but when the spells start it becomes almost as mad as the above…. includes a bizarre ritual that involves reanimating and making love with a long-dead corpse to initiate a spell. Poor guy! the last 20 minutes are more like Carpenter's "The Thing" then a Shaw Brothers film.




    BEWITCHED (1981):

    This is the precursor film to Boxer's Omen. Slightly more straight-faced plot but with the same nutty outcomes. A guy who has killed a child tries to convince the detective-in-charge that he had a spell put on him to make him commit the crime. The drawn-out demonstrations of how various "spells" are cast in the second half is pretty ace!




    BUDDHA'S PALM (1982):

    In more familiar Kung-Fu territory here, but with a potent fantasy-bent. Unsure of the plot specifics but it contains many laser fights, extending legs, drum battles and massive feet!




    HOLY FLAME OF THE MARTIAL SWORD (1983):

    See above, but with added zombies and ghosts. Actually a bit more "talky" so drags in places…




    BATTLE WIZARD (1977):

    INSANE!! Possibly the maddest and most frenetic of these Fantasy ones - constant lasers, fireballs, confusion, nudity and lasers. Seek it out!



    BLOODY PARROT (1981)

    Another very elaborately-plotted fantasy kung-fu-er. Has some great set pieces but collapses into a scooby-do-like ending.




    GHOST EYES (1974):

    Heading away from martial arts now, this is actually really good. A strange take on a vampire film where a poor young lady gets pursued by a spooky optometrists via some possessed contact lenses (!?). Lots of creepy bits and a pleasing sense (as many of these do) of having no idea where it was heading…



    CORPSE MANIA (1981):

    From the same director as Boxer's Omen comes this Chinese Giallo (?!). Would work perfectly in 70's Italy - stupid yet mega-sleazy necrophilia-based prostitute murdering plot. Lots of red herrings, and a histrionic reveal at the end!

    Bonus mention goes to non-Shaw Brothers film THE RAPE AFTER (1984) - don't worry it's marginally less sleazy than it sounds, the titular "rape" is more of a demonic possession then a sexual assault. Otherwise it plays out similar to "Seeding of a Ghost". Some mad FX-based scenes, and a rather unpleasant downbeat vibe to the whole affair!



    These "reviews" really got shorter as they went on eh? Lazy bastard!

    I have a few more at the ready that i haven't watched yet.
    Anyone have any other favourites or private-mind-garden-classics than would fit in with this 'cannon'? I'd love to hear about them…

    We're gonna do a night or two in this vein at Hellfire Video Club in 2015 - Can't wait!
    Last edited by pencilface; 19-11-2014, 09:26 PM.
    Muchos mixes <<<<

    HELLFIRE VIDEO CLUB

  • #2
    i would be lying if I said I had seen any of these but your chart makes me want to investigate ... nice one Joe - are these movies readily available ?
    Rockwell
    Banned (DJ Anchovy)

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    • #3
      Yeah, lots of Shaw titles are readily available on DVD (or to watch on YouTube) a few might be slightly trickier but there's defo enough out there to get you going...
      Muchos mixes <<<<

      HELLFIRE VIDEO CLUB

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      • #4
        You might like Chang Cheh's 'Heaven and Hell'. That's a fairly bonkers Shaw Bros film.

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        • #5
          Great stuff! Will seek it out - cheers!
          Muchos mixes <<<<

          HELLFIRE VIDEO CLUB

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          • #6
            ?

            I've been checking some of these out too of late, and have 'Corpse Mania' and 'Black Magic' on my 'in' pile... thought 'Boxer's Omen' was fun.

            I'm guessing you're familiar with 'Human Lanterns'? Pretty good, though nowhere near as mental as some of the other titles, I suspect.

            Also liked 'Killer Snakes' (purportedly best early effort by Boxer's Omen director). The scene at the end where flying (well, ok, hurled ...) snakes are being hacked up with a samurai sword certainly possesses the WTF-factor.

            'Spooky Encounters' is also an excellent HK kung fu / comedy combo ... the magick duel at the end rather blew my mind as a kid.

            Really need to rewatch 'Story of Ricky' again too, that's another legendary flick.

            Would also be curious to see more decent old school HK ninja outings at the mo. Top of the stack has to be 'Duel to the Death', but 'Ninja In The Dragon's Den' is also something of a winner. Chang Cheh's 'Five Element Ninjas' has a certain charm and relentless, if episodic, action. Anyone aware of any other genre gems?

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            • #7
              May I direct you towards a short little conversation that starts here: http://www.verygoodplus.co.uk/showth...iac#post521754
              "Only one thought left, that makes me come alive,
              and that is you and me side by side, on the licorice ride"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Viva Chiba View Post
                I've been checking some of these out too of late, and have 'Corpse Mania' and 'Black Magic' on my 'in' pile... thought 'Boxer's Omen' was fun.

                I'm guessing you're familiar with 'Human Lanterns'? Pretty good, though nowhere near as mental as some of the other titles, I suspect.

                Also liked 'Killer Snakes' (purportedly best early effort by Boxer's Omen director). The scene at the end where flying (well, ok, hurled ...) snakes are being hacked up with a samurai sword certainly possesses the WTF-factor.

                'Spooky Encounters' is also an excellent HK kung fu / comedy combo ... the magick duel at the end rather blew my mind as a kid.

                Really need to rewatch 'Story of Ricky' again too, that's another legendary flick.

                Would also be curious to see more decent old school HK ninja outings at the mo. Top of the stack has to be 'Duel to the Death', but 'Ninja In The Dragon's Den' is also something of a winner. Chang Cheh's 'Five Element Ninjas' has a certain charm and relentless, if episodic, action. Anyone aware of any other genre gems?
                Nice one, guys - seen "Human Lanterns" (some great visuals but pretty dull at points) and "Ricky-O" (super fun, but lacks the phantasmagorical element I'm after…)

                I'll check out "Killer Snakes" . . cheers! Though i'm hugely cautious of the Hong Kong horror/coemdies after seeing a few ("Seventh Curse") etc… cool FX, but way too many "comedy fat guys". Don't like the tone.

                Originally posted by Brainbomb View Post
                May I direct you towards a short little conversation that starts here: http://www.verygoodplus.co.uk/showth...iac#post521754
                Forgot about that one! Should have put it in the chart. Not entirely great I recall feeling after watching it, but love how heavily moralistic it is. Defo a fun watch.
                Muchos mixes <<<<

                HELLFIRE VIDEO CLUB

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                • #9
                  Actually, I may redact that statement about "Oily Maniac" - i think i may have drifted in and out of sleep for the second half, NEED TO REWATCH!
                  Muchos mixes <<<<

                  HELLFIRE VIDEO CLUB

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                  • #10
                    Looking forward to watching all these, always been a little more straight down the line with Shaw Brothers films though I love Encounters of the Spooky Kind.

                    Oh and "Oily Maniac" hahahaha, what a title. Thanks Pencilface.

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                    • #11
                      I quite liked the Boxers Omen but I think that for me the silliness detracted from the weirdness if that makes sense.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Filthy Rich View Post
                        I quite liked the Boxers Omen but I think that for me the silliness detracted from the weirdness if that makes sense.
                        Rich, you sound like a crazy person right now! It was the perfect blend for me… loved it!
                        Muchos mixes <<<<

                        HELLFIRE VIDEO CLUB

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                        • #13
                          I thought that i might be saying the wrong thing there....
                          Actually, I think that I have hit on a (semi) serious point for me there. For my enjoyment of things weird there has to be some kind of seriousness or weightiness in the film for that to be balanced against. I suppose the equivalent of a straight guy in a comedy film. Does that make some kind of sense even if you don't agree?
                          ps I will make sure Liza sends that file over today, she forgot yesterday

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                          • #14
                            Yeah, totally get your point - I probs approach things from a different angle having bee obsessed with any practical FX-based films (think Carpenter's "The Thing") from my early teens. I just want to be presented with achingly odd or poorly-made (or even well-made!?) special FX or makeup or set design. Add to that plot-based non-sequitors and confusion and I'm in heaven...
                            Muchos mixes <<<<

                            HELLFIRE VIDEO CLUB

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