Beauty’s Evil Roses
aka Se jiang II zhi xie mei gui
Directed by Lam Wah-Chuen
Written by Chan Hiu-Bing
Beauty’s Evil Roses is somewhat famous in the circle of people who watch Hong Kong cult cinema because it is pretty darn weird. Besides being a weird Category III film, it also falls into the genre of movies that have weird S&M-type scenes, creepy tentacle stuff, and goofy Thai witchcraft battles. The creepy tentacle stuff is the types of things you expect to see out of Japan, not Hong Kong. The best stuff is the crazy goofy witch effects, especially when the Taoist priest is battling the Thai witches (why to all the evils in the universe in Hong Kong films come from Thailand? Because the city fears the wild frontier!)
So we have crazy witch cults, girls getting kidnapped, lesbians, cops doing cop stuff, more characters than you can shake a rape tentacle at, confusion, goofy effects, lesbians, gender-neutral evil deities, lesbians, Taoist priests, battles in outer space, lesbians, and lesbians. Seems like a winner to me.
Despite this being a VHS copy, the film did get a cheap DVD release at some point. But we don’t have it, so you can’t see it! Nyah nyah nyah!
The cast list is very sketchy, I did my best but make no promises as to the accuracy. So if there are errors, it is your fault for noticing them, and I will use my Lathe of Heaven powers to alter reality so my guesses are correct. That’s what you get for doubting my cast listing skills!
A lady we will later find out is named Ian-Huang comes to see Inspector Liang. Whatever business she had is forgotten because she has hurt her leg, which is fixed by the Inspector kissing her feet. Then she’s up on the table dancing seductively and passion envelopes them both. As in they have sex. With their naughty parts. On the desk. During the sex she transfers something to him via mouth, and then he acts all spooky. But enough of that, we got more opening credits to play!
The film decides to introduce to us all sorts of characters at random, but won’t bother to give names to any of them until much much later (and a few never get names!) A new girl in Hong Kong we later find out is named Show-Mei meets a handsome fellow and soon they are dating and in love. We meet Police Officer Cheng and his higher-ranking girlfriend who never gets a name and we’re calling Supervisor Madam. She literally handcuffs him up to avoid some sex. Avoiding sex isn’t what Officer A-Kang Hsiao and his girlfriend Mannie are doing. Because they are doing it! For a long time. He’s another cop and is Show-Mei’s sister. She’s a model, because all cops date models. She wants to do a sexy photoshoot, but he is against that (only because he is dating her, I am sure he was fine with her being naked before he was dating her!)
At the police station, Cheng is chastised by his girl for calling her Darling in public. He has a suspect who everyone things is a boy, but since it is Ian-Huang we all know she ain’t no boy. Despite the fact she has a Kiera Knightly disguised as a boy vibe going on, she is still too obviously a girl that this should fool no one. Cheng punches her around a bit skirting the brutality rules while annoying his girlfriend. The subject barely touched on is that there is a rash of disappearing girl cases in Hong Kong. If they went right out and said it there would be much less confusion when things happen later. So they find out Ian-Huang is a girl, so Supervisor Madam gets a turn to beat up and ask questions of the suspect until Inspector Liang comes to take over the case and claim Ian-Huang, who is promptly let go (we don’t see that she is let go, but since she is free when she shows up later that is what happens. Again, the script has problems.)
Inspector A-Kang gets a call, his sister is missing! We didn’t find out until later his sister is Show-Mei, and as we never see who is on the other line and never see her boyfriend again until the very last scene in the film, things were confusing. I am assuming he was supposed to be the guy on the other line and there was a scene made where she goes missing that either was never filmed or was cut for time and to ruin the clarity. In any event, this was one of the main factors making the film confusing. After yelling at Mannie for doing the photoshoot anyway, A-Kang goes to talk to Inspector Liang, who acts spooky despite his plea for A-Kang to trust him. A-Kang also has a boxer friend who had his girlfriend kidnapped and killed in front of him.
A-Kang finds his sister Show-Mei dancing for Cheng in a hotel acting like a call girl! A-Kang grabs her and runs out, but Show-Mei hates him and doesn’t want to go with him, she is happy being a whore. Luckily for her a motorcycle gang has arrived to drive her away, and they do. So the gang that kidnaps women brainwashes them AND provides 24 hour biker gang support. And even with that, the film will now go down the rabbit hole of crazy…
Show-Mei is brought before an evil witch queen named Da-Shie who tells her she failed her. Da-Shie’s place is a red-walled room with a giant spider web and several other girls in black leather, including Ian-Huang and a girl named Share. Show-Mei begs forgiveness, and Da-Shie asks an androgynous other person named Evil God for torture advice, Evil God doesn’t care and speaks without moving its mouth. So Show-Mei is yanked up by ropes and beaten, and then tortured with jumper cables hooked up to car battery. Da-Shie also will add more poison so Show-Mei can’t disobey any more. This is done via a tentacle extending from the arm of Da-Shie that has a three-jawed mouth, which is shoved down Show-Mei’s mouth.
How is this not a Japanese production?
Ian-Huang is ordered to kill A-Kang. Regardless, Da-Shie must first have lesbian sex with Share while also flashing back to her own rape experience as a teenager and how she bit off one of the ears of the guys. Yeah. The sex then turns into a second session that gets all S&M-ish. Share then runs away while Da-Shie is trying to do some witch ritual, but is killed trying to escape. I guess she really didn’t like S&M. Maybe her safe word was “NOOOOOOOOO!”
Share is only almost dead, as A-Kang rescues her from the river. A-Kang is almost killed by a tentacle that comes out of her mouth until Cheng saves him. Cheng mentions he was undercover when A-Kang grabbed his sister and ruined his chance to get deeper into the gang. A-Kang is then lured off by Ian-Huang, who holds him up with a gun and tries to get him to have sex with her. A-Kang manages to escape but leaves his pants behind.
Share is at A-Kang’s house in bed while A-Kang and Cheng talk about how no one can cure her. Mannie barges in and thinks A-Kang is cheating on her, and that Cheng is joining in on the cheating. She must think her man is a pretty kinky guy. But everything is explained and an episode of Frasier filled with misunderstandings leading to disaster is avoided.
A different unnamed cop takes A-Kang, Mannie, and the unconscious Share to Great Priest, who looks like a drunk. He uses kung fu and taoist papers to stop a witchcraft controlled Share. This new cop is only said to be Cheng’s “assistant”, which basically means the actor wasn’t available due to filming running long or some other problem. Great Priest does rituals around Share, only to be countered by Da-Shie doing rituals of her own. This battle of wills is performed over a topless Share, just in case you were wondering if the nudity parade had stalled. Animals are cut up, but finally a super-sized snake slithers out of Share’s throat and strangles her to death in half a second. Bummer. Where is Sam Jackson when you need him?
Great Priest can’t tell them much except that the enemy is a witch from Thailand. So now Mannie will go undercover and try to get kidnapped and recruited into the female witch cult club. She gets picked up almost immediately by cultists and brought to Da-Shie.
Now Da-Shie uses magic to light a bunch of candles in a square pattern around the lying down Mannie, and then more magic draws out Mannie’s spirit from her body. Her spirit is clad in leather clothes, by the way. Evil God has Mannie’s spirit assault Da-Shie at first, but it soon turns into your normal lesbian sex sequence. Well, normal for this film. It is never resolved what happens to Mannie’s body, because at this point the spirit is a physical form. I am guessing they combine back together after the sex, but we don’t see anything or are told.
Great Priest sets up a Taoist station to do rituals, but needs Mannie’s panties in order to locate her for protection spells. That makes perfect sense! NOT! Great Priest sets up a ritual so they can all see what Mannie sees. It is too late for the lesbian sex, but just in time to see that Mannie is tied up and she is about to be tentacle poisoned. So they fight back by casting spells so that A-Kang and Mannie are connected, in that in however he moves, she moves. Then Great Priest moves A-Kang around to so that Mannie if fighting off the tentacles and thus Da-Shie in a kung fu battle. Just when you think it would have been more efficient for Great Priest to just connect to Mannie himself he instead battles Evil God in the metaphysical plane (i.e. bad special effects land.) Great Priest grabs a key to get into Da-Shie’s hideout but is killed by Evil God.
A-Kang has the key to the hideout, so it is time for the police to raid it. Of course A-Kang gets his boxing buddy to help, because you always need to take civilians with you while raiding Thai Witch hideouts. Somehow, the all girl witch coven has a male bald kung fu guy on staff to help fight the cops. I guess they were out of female martial arts experts that day. More cops arrive for a shootout lead by Supervisor Madam. A-Kang goes inside and fights Da-Shie, eventually machine gunning her down. He rescues Mannie, but now has to look for his sister while avoiding the marauding Ian-Huang and her guns.
A-Kang’s sister is going to shoot him but Boxing Guy grabs her and they give her antidote. Antidote? When the frak did they get an antidote? Stupid movie!
Supervisor Madam fights Ian-Huang as Cheng finally shows up to help. Cheng fights Evil God, who fights pretty badly for a God. Evil God gets snaked up by coils dangling in the web ritual room that Da-Shie used. Random coils saving the day, what? No matter as some other cops come in, and then the police machine gun the defenseless Evil God dead. Who knew the police were Evil Nietzsche?
The whole building starts to explode from all the explosives thrown in it by the cops (and the fact all evil lairs explode when the boss is dead) Everyone is a-ok, and then Inspector Liang is arrested. The credits begin rolling before he is even arrested but he is arrested as they roll. And the final shot is Show-Mei and her boyfriend and some other random woman back in Hong Kong having fun. Yeah. Huh? What?
This movie is a weird spectacle flick that everyone who has seen it knows about it and remembers, just because it is bizarre. It is not the kind of thing you tell people you have seen, however, unless you are hanging out with people who enjoy weirdo cult films. So don’t tell the cute girl at Taco Bell about this flick unless you want a restraining order and spit in your burrito.
Rated 4/10 (Mei Ah, The Queen approves of Thai Witch Tentacle S&M Lesbian movies, random cult member, exploding house!)
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