Na Cha and the Seven Devils

Na Cha and the Seven Devils

aka 梅山收七怪 aka Mei shan shou qi guai aka Na Cha and the 7 Devils
Na Cha Seven Devils
Written by ???
Directed by Yamanouchi Tetsuya

Na Cha Seven Devils

Here’s your disco inferno!

Who would have thought that a movie about a bunch of animal demons running amok, including a huge fire breathing dragon in sequences directed by Yamanouchi Tetsuya, would turn out to be so boring? Obviously anyone who has had prior experience with movies where flying kids battle monsters! At TarsTarkas.NET, we have dealt with a lot of them! Though most of those are Taiwanese, Na Cha and the Seven Devils comes from the illustrious Shaw Brothers studios. It’s the second of two Na Cha films that were made at the same time by Yamanouchi Tetsuya, featuring many of the same cast (they even reuse at least one human character as the grandson of his character from the first film!), and one of several Na Cha films, a character from a classic Chinese tale.

A quick Na Cha primer: Na Cha is that kid with the flaming circles around his feet that let him fly. Sometimes his name is translated Nezha or Na Zha. He’s based on Chinese mythology that probably has roots in Hinduism. Na Cha shows up in Journey to the West and has a stream of television and film appearances.

Na Cha and the Seven Devils seems like it would be an idea kids film, just let them watch the special effects while mom and dad go get hammered..I mean, go do chores. But there is an awful lot of boob grabbing. It’s oddly sensual (though in a clumsy sensual way), and Shaw was ranking up the sexy in the early 70s. It does seem way out of place for what goes on in the rest of the film.

The look of Na Cha and the Seven Devils comes from art director Mutsuo Mikimi, who has a pedigree of doing effects on Message from Space, Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell, and Super Infra-Man. Director Yamanouchi Tetsuya was making a brief foray out of Japan, but he also has a kaiju pedigree thanks to films like The Magic Serpent and 1969’s Akakage. Doi Michiyoshi is also listed as a director on the HKMDB, but not on the actual film and I can’t find any further information.

The biggest gripe with Na Cha and the Seven Devils is that Na Cha and his immortal buddies cause all these problems on Earth, then they send only three of them to deal with the problems. Meanwhile, hundreds of people die! Sorry, folks, you are all being slaughtered to teach Na Cha responsibility! The main trouble is there is a magic peach tree that only blooms every 1000 years, and then the peaches take 1000 years to ripen. And it’s about time for those babies to pop. There are 8 this year that are destined to be a gift to the Queen Mother by order of the Jade Emperor.

Na Cha is unaware of all this, and just sees a tree with a bunch of peaches, and Na Cha wants to eat them peaches. So he climbs up the tree and grabs on, accidentally causing the other 7 to fall. Because they are at Mt. Kunlu – which is between Heaven and the Mortal World, the peaches fall through the clouds to Earth. Where they are promptly found by animals, that eat them and become superpowered Devils themed on whatever animal they were.

Na Cha Seven Devils

See my vest, see my vest, made from real gorilla chest!

Now, Na Cha did cause the original problem, but he also wasn’t told not to eat the peaches, and as someone who has done their fair share of gardening (and has peach trees in the back yard!), I know for a fact peaches will be falling off the tree regardless of Na Cha shaking the branches or not, which means a few would have dropped down below anyways. Which means the immortals should have hung a few baskets to catch these valuable and dangerous peaches!

After the peaches are found to be missing, an edict comes down on high from the Jade Emperor to solve this problem in 10 days! So the group of immortals decide to just send Na Cha by his lonesome. It’s only when his two older brothers Jincha and Mucha beg to go along that the party is increased. But still, everyone else just stays around Mt. Kunlu and laments their fate and probably going to get squashed by an angry Jade Emperor soon. Lazy, lazy people who deserve it for not bothering to help solve the problem.

Na Cha Seven Devils

I’ll use this to contact Sauron!

Na Cha (Yau Lung) – The Third Prince, he who killed the dragon and brought the rain and did other stuff that was either in the other movie or is a mishmash of his legend. His dad is General Li, and his two older brothers are Jincha and Mucha. I’ve never realized until now that Na Cha is the prototype for all those annoying flying children movies that Taiwan kept pumping out. Na Cha is also annoying and flies!
Yang Jian (Ngok Yeung) – That legendary triclops who pops up from time to time in Chinese fantasy films. Notable here for popping up out of the blue and owning Celestial Dog!
Eagle Devil (???) – An eagle that eats a magic peach, becomes a devil, and decides to steal children for food!
Rat Devil (Ngai Chi-Wong) – A rat that eats a magic peach, becomes a devil, and begins chomping down on dozens of innocent people.
White Horse Devil (Chen Hung-Lieh) – A white horse that eats a magic peach, becomes a devil, and immediately declares he’ll make the village send him a lass every day!
Frog Devil (Aai Dung-Gwa) – A frog that eats a magic peach, becomes a devil, and starts trying to get it on with random human women.
Monkey Devil (???) – A monkey that eats a magic peach, becomes a devil, and starts trying to become a beautiful seductress or something. I’m not really sure what her endgame was.
Dragon Devil (Law Bun) – A huge dragon that eats a magic peach, becomes a Red Hair Devil, but still has plenty of time to burn villages and do other dragon stuff.
Fox Devil (Tina Chin Fei) – A fox that eats a magic peach, becomes a devil, and starts seducing all sorts of random guys just because she can.

Na Cha Seven Devils

I will be the Superior Spiderman!

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The Dwarf Sorcerer (Review)

The Dwarf Sorcerer

aka Magic Kid

1974HKMDB Link
Directed by Yu Hon-Cheung
Dwarf Sorcerer
Hey, look, it’s ANOTHER Taiwanese film about a boy whose parents are murdered/mom captured and he is rescued and taught kung fu in a weekend and then he fights for revenge against a bunch of demons and he can fly and do all sorts of crazy crap. It’s almost as if we have seen this before. 9 billion times.
I think it IS the same story as Flyer of Young Prodigal, the names are the same (or same as they can be with horrible subtitle translations) and the story is the same. It is the same story, no question, it is just achieved in a different way. It even has similar groovy music. Now, Dwarf Sorcerer/Magic Kid was first, coming out in 1974 (or 1969 if you believe a few other websites), but does that mean it was the best? Keep in mind this is like being the best pile of dog poo.

Director Yu Hon-Cheung helmed such genre films as Taiwanese kaiju film Monster from the Sea, Pearl Cheung Ling’s Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery, something called Mysterious Snake Women that I hope is awesome if I ever find it, and the somewhat common kung fu flick Revenge of the Shaolin Kid.
Dwarf Sorcerer

So the images look terrifying, because of the poor quality of the print. But this is the only way to see Dwarf Sorcerer at this time, so you got to get used to it. And this still looks better than some prints I’ve seen of new films made by independent filmmakers, who somehow can make even digital film look like it was dragged behind a bus and set on fire. This print is probably just a VHS dub of a VCD that got transferred to DVD. That’s my theory, anyway.

Buckle up, as this film is rare and ridiculous, we’ll be going in depth and this will be pretty long. Maybe you should go pee first so you don’t have to get up in the middle of reading. We’ll wait. Doo–doo–doo–
Dwarf Sorcerer

You back? Good! I hope you washed your hands! Hygienic or not, here we go!

Siao-Lung (???) – Siao-Lung is a Annoying Flying Kid, making this an Annoying Flying Kid movie! NOOOoooooOooOOooOOOoo!!!! Sadly, Siao-Lung doesn’t die the horrible death he deserves. I have no clue who this kid is played by.
In-Hwa (???) – Siao-Lung’s mom gets locked up. Her crime? Being a mom! Also not being a willing participant in Evil Bad Guy’s House o’ Rape.
Sifu (Cheung Kwong-Chiu) – Do most Sifus get their students by rescuing them via giant birds? Because that’s what we got here. Cheung Kwong-Chiu is also in The Lady Musketeer, The Angel Strikes Again, 13 Worms, Bruce, Kung Fu Girls, The Legend of Mother Goddess, and the awesomely named Spooky Kookies.
Evil Bad Guy (???) – Not just bad, evil bad! That’s even badder than bad. It’s badder than the Power Glove. Evil Bad Guy kidnaps women, forcing them to a life of rape and servitude. He’s also down with polyamory–for himself only! Even look at another guy while dating Evil Bad Guy and you die. Funny, he also looks like everyone I’ve meet who is into polyamory. Evil Bad Guy’s magic and gang is brought down by a tiny kid.
Little Girl (???) – Another of Sifu’s students who follows Siao-Lung and thus gets into trouble. Siao-Lung treats her like crap, meaning he probably has a crush on her. Or is a jerk. Probably a jerk.
Happy Gorilla Family (???) – The Happy Gorilla Family are the best gorillas ever! They show up, started off evil as Dad tries to kill Siao-Lung (getting my good side!) but before Siao-Lung kills him, Mom runs by to beg for the life of her husband. Then they help Siao-Lung at the end, even suffering horrible injuries when they’re blown up. The Happy Gorilla Family us the Dwarf Sorcerer Theme as their theme song, and it fits goofy monkeys better than some annoying kid. The Happy Gorilla Family might also be known as The Alp.
Karth Devil (???) – Karth Devil is a yellow ape monster thing that shoots gas from his armpits and teleports and does all sorts of other nasty things. Because he’s evil. Can turn into a tree, a pile of hair, and into flowers. Because he’s evil.

Dwarf Sorcerer
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Magic Sword of Watari (Review)

The Magic Sword of Watari

aka Watari and the 7 Monsters aka Golden Boy subdues Monsters

Directed by Yang Moo-nwa

Mitsuteru Yokoyama created the manga Masked Ninja Akakage (Red Shadow) in 1966, which became a Toei tokustatsu series in 1967 that ran 52 episodes. The ninja Akakage and his sidekicks Aokage (played by child star Yoshinobu Kaneko) and Shirokage wander around feudal Japan fighting evil dudes, crazy wizards, and giant monsters. Several of the episodes were stitched together to make three flicks that were farmed out to various markets, titled Ninjascope: The Magic World of Ninjas, Watari the Conqueror, and Watari and the Fantastiks. The three films have recently been released on DVD. The show’s young boy star Yoshinobu Kaneko also starred in the film Watari Ninja Boy (Daininjutsu eiga Watari), which is why some of the Akakage films were renamed with Watari in the title.

Yoshinobu Kaneko then made two films in Taiwan in 1970 that were co-productions with Japan. According to Yoshinobu Kaneko’s own website, the two films were called Momotaro Young Dragon and Momotaro restrains the Seven Monsters. The second film is also known as Watari and the 7 Monsters, aka The Magic Sword of Watari, aka Golden Boy and the Seven Monsters, aka Golden Boy subdues Monsters. Which would be this very film!

Now, if this reuses some monster footage from the Akakage tv series, I have no idea. I have not seen any of these monsters in photos I saw of the Akakage series, but I haven’t watched all 52 episodes.

Peachboy! – The legend of Peachboy is a classic Japanese legend. It goes like this: Momotaro (aka Peachboy) is found inside a giant peach by a childless couple, and eventually Momotaro goes to an island to kill a bunch of demons. On the way, he makes friends with a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant. There are several films about this legend, along with a lot of cartoons and tv shows, many of which are wacky. However, The Magic Sword of Watari only follows parts of this story, and instead becomes just another Taiwanese film about a boy who flies around and kills a bunch of monsters.

We got white subs on white backgrounds most of the time! But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! Or even partial subtitles!

Peach (Yoshinobu Kaneko) – A boy from a giant peach who has super powers and flies around and is awesome and acts amazingly like the character from Watari that Yoshinobu Kaneko played, even down to having some of the same weapons. So they took him and shoved him into some of the Peach Boy/Momotaro mythos.
Lee Yu (???) – A Fox Spirit caught by Peach who joins him on his quest. Has the power to turn into pretty much anything. Is an orphan.
Pearl (???) – Farmer’s daughter, is to be sacrificed to the demon Frogger until Peach kicks it’s butt. Becomes Peach’s sister in name only as a result, thus spending the last half of the movie moping over Peach’s sick mom.
Frogger (???) – The frog demon guy that is either named devil or god or god-devil or whatever Subtitle Guy wanted to call him that sentence, so we’re just calling him Frogger because he’s a giant frog. Except when he’s a guy, or a guy riding a giant frog. Anyway, his career of demanding virgins comes to an end when he is killed.
Peach’s Dad/Old Guy (???) – Peach’s dad, found Peach in a giant peach in the river. His wife is sick and he spends most of the film looking after her.
Demon Master (???) – The head of the demons who guard the magic plant Peach is after. He looks like he’s inspired by the Japanese Tengu spirit masks.

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The Boy and a Magic Box (Review)

The Boy and a Magic Box

aka Shen Tong Bao He aka Boy With His Magic Box

Directed by ????
The Boy and a Magic Box
Screw The Boy and screw his Magic Box, the only reason you should see this film is for all the freaking weird monsters that show up! We got dinosaurs, we got three-headed guys with swords, we got dinosaurs with beards, we got flying monkeys, and we got unofficial Japanese Kaiju cameos. Sure, most are defeated by some kid, but the monsters are the reason to watch because monsters rule and stupid kids drool. This is the THIRD Taiwanese film we have watched with giant monsters that has a kid running around like he is Kung Fu Superman (Flyer of Young Prodigal and Young Flying Hero are the two others) so I can only conclude this is a popular genre in Taiwan and there may be many more such films waiting to be uncovered. And many more annoying pseudo-Kennys. Oh, well. So let’s get to seeing these monsters!
The Boy and a Magic Box

The only evidence of the film seem to be a few entries on film databases, most of which is in Chinese. So what we have been able to find out is this is a 1975 Taiwanese production, and the two surviving prints (by prints I mean VHS tapes that have been dubbed to DVDR) have either subtitles in Korean or cropped off English subtitles that you can’t read. So, essentially, no subtitles. But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! I am guessing a widescreen remastered print is too much to ask for, especially since this is probably a children’s film. I hope some day 35 years from now a Chinese neo-blogger is reviewing Elmo’s Potty Time as if it is a serious film. Because, then, I win. TarsTarkas.NET victory!

The Boy and a Magic Box

Hey, no subtitles and a confusing script lead to confusing reviews. So just go with the names we made up for everyone, it will help you in the long run.

And this review got bumped up a bit to answer the challenge thrown down by Todd at Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill over Taiwanese kaiju films. Your move!
The Boy and a Magic Box

The Kid (Choi Foo-Gwai) – The Kid is the product of love, too bad for his parents who are torn apart by fate. And then royal guards try to kill him when he is saving his little brother, but he is rescued and trained in the martial arts, which come in handy when a batch of dinosaurs try to kill him. Everyone tries to kill him, but at least he has a magic box. Because otherwise, The Kid would be The Dead. Choi Foo-Gwai spends most of the film emoting with various pained faces of rage.
Wong Lau Yeh (Leung Sau-Geun) – The father of The Kid who can’t be with the mother Yeung, what with her being one of Monkey King’s brides. So he heads off to marry some other lady and then does nothing else.
Yeung (???) – Yeung is The Kid’s mother and the lover of Wong Lau, except she’s been promised to Monkey King! So she gets thrown into Heaven’s jail. Bet you didn’t know Heaven had a jail!
Old Guy (Cheung Kwong-Chiu) – Old Guy is Yeung’s dad and let’s his daughter get with Wong Lau Yeh after misreading a book or something. That turns out to be a problem when she gets knocked up. One of the few actors I identified.
Monkey King (???) – Monkey King is the Monkey King of Journey To The West fame. Has magic Pregnancy Detection Eye Rays.
Triclops (???) – Possibly named Ar-lang, Triclops guards Heaven from invading punk kids and pregnant fiancees. His magic third eye gives him the name I gave him, inspired by He-Man.

The Boy and a Magic Box
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Flyer of Young Prodigal (Review)

Flyer of Young Prodigal

aka Xin An Ping Zhui Xiang Qu

1978HKMDB Link
Directed by Yueh Chien-Feng

Another crazy Taiwanese fantasy film, complete with some random kaiju, dragons, people puking gas, sexy women seducing heroes, evil rapists dudes, a midget, guys who turns into lizards, and an annoying flying kid.

Annoying flying kids seems to be a common occurrence in Taiwanese films, which is a shame because they are annoying.

The film follows standard video game format of rescuing the princess (Mom) and fighting all sorts of various baddies on a mission, including several boss characters and gaining a few helper dudes along the way. And you get weapons upgrades. The video game connection is solidified by actual video game sound effects used in Flyer of Young Prodigal, even though this is years before video games were rescuing the princess.

Not much info on this one. Chang Yeong Yeong is listed as a star, but I don’t know who that is. Most of the other names I cannot read thanks to them being chopped off due to the fullscreen framing. So if anyone wants to send me a widescreen copy, go right ahead! We’ve reconstructed as much of the cast as we possibly can in the Roll Call.

Sheau-long (You Shean-Long/Yu Shein-Long) – This kid is annoying, but aren’t all kids in these films annoying? He isn’t super-annoying, but he’s still pretty darn annoying. And he’ll be crying all the time. Oh, and since his dad was murdered and his mother kidnapped, he has been trained by his Sifu and sets out to rescue his mom, slaying monsters all along the way. He is credited as “Genius Chird Actor” You Shean-Long. Don’t you know about the Chird? Everybody knows the Chird is the word!
Lien-hua (???) – Sheau-long’s mom, who manages to get kidnapped because her husband Yann-chang can’t defeat some simple demons who come to kill him and steal his wife. Lien-hua becomes a slave and I guess just sits around while Cha-tien Devil tries to get it on with a different woman who is never explained. I don’t know the villain’s motivation. Maybe he’s mad he didn’t get the complete set of The Great Muppet Caper collectible glasses and decided to take it out on the world.
Lui Yuan-long (Tsung Hua) – Good guy who can turn into a dragon and joins Sheau-long on his journey because he wants to get it on with his sister.
Sister (???) – The unnamed Sister of Sheau-long, who is another orphan raised by Sifu and trained in martial arts for eventual revenge on her parents’ killers, except she doesn’t get to have revenge in this film as she is too busy chasing after Sheau-long. This brat just cost us some female revenge movie time! That jerk…
Sifu (???) – Sifu who spends his days saving almost killed kids and training them for battle so they can plot revenge years later. He’s only done it twice, I guess it is a slow couple of decades for child murdering. That’s probably good for society, but bad for those of us who like revenge movies!
Cha-tien Devil (???) – The Evil Dude who is totally evil and kidnaps moms and has lots of demon guys working for him. How does he pay them? Does he have health insurance? What about matching contributions for the 401K? None of those important questions are answered.
Head Evil Woman (???) – The head evil woman who works for Cha-tien Devil. Despite the fact that her M.O. is to seduce and destroy her enemies, Cha-tien Devil is shocked and enraged by her seducing Lui Yuan-long. Thus, she gets killified.

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Young Flying Hero (Review)

Young Flying Hero

aka Return of the Magic Serpent

1970HKMDB link
Directed by Tong Chim
Written by Poon Lui

Young Flying Hero is a rare Taiwan film. It is so rare I even wrote a Rare Movie Time!!!! post about the film, thinking I would never get to see it. But, rare Asian films have been falling out of the sky recently, and one of those films just happened to be Young Flying Hero! There are no subtitles except for permanent Chinese subtitles, so that’s no real help. But this is TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!

Young Flying Hero achieved semi-legendary status as hard to find among collectors, due to a painted poster that appeared regularly on ebay and some lobby cards with giant monsters. But hardly anyone could get a hold of the actual film. Thus, people began to wonder just what kind of monster action happens on screen. Having now seen the film, I can tell you it is actually a children’s film, with a young boy as the main character. The giant monsters appear briefly in the film despite their prominent place on the poster art, with less than five minutes of screen time at the very end. There are too few Chinese giant monster films (other notable films are the equally as rare (or even lost) Devil Fighter and rare War God.)

Taiwan fantasy is rapidly becoming one of my favorite subgenres because it can be both insanely bizarre but amazingly entertaining at the same time. There are about a dozen more Taiwan fantasy films in the pipeline, many of which are responses to the Shaw Brother’s epic movies. But I’ll save a history of those films for one of the other Taiwanese fantasy films, because I haven’t finished writing it yet. One interesting thing is the alternate title for the film is Return of Magic Serpent, which may be a reference to the Japanese film Magic Serpent!

Enough background, let’s get on with the show!

Brother (Pa Gwoh) – Our Young Flying Hero! The son of a family captured by the Evil Warlord, and trained by a mystical sifu who gives him flying powers. Then he frees the kingdom and becomes a bored kid general. His name might be Tee-Sho.
Sister (Hong Ling) – Sister of the Young Flying Hero and the maker of some food that wakes up the Sleeping Beauty. Doesn’t do much except get captured repeatedly.
Goofy Hair (???) – Goofy Hair is the son of the guy who turns in the family of our hero to the Evil Warlord. Unlike his father, Goofy Hair isn’t a greedy idiot, even if he doesn’t have the best hair stylist. He is the Piggy of Young Flying Hero.
Evil Warlord (Chiu Keung) – Evil Goofy Mustache Black Wolf symbol on outfit. He is so evil he takes over the kingdom, but doesn’t kill the rulers right away because of politics. Eventually, the Young Flying Hero kicks his Evil Warlord butt. He reminded me of Phantom of Krankor from Prince of Space.
Scorpion Guy (???) – Scorpion hat and dual claw blades that look like weapons straight out of Battle Beasts.
Centipede Guy (Yeung Fui Yuk) – Have you ever seen a dude with a centipede hat and a centipede weapon? Because you have now.
Spider Woman (Tin Mung) – Special power includes creating giant spider webs and the power to pull people into said spider webs.
Frog Guy (Lu Wei) – Has tiger stripe clothing but his hat is a goofy frog hat and the dude is fat like a frog.
Lizard Guy (???) – Has a snake-themed crown, lizardy weapons and a costume that looks sort of like scales.
Giant Frog (Himself) – He’s a big naughty frog who shows up and smashes some castles but he doesn’t have immunity to little kids flying down his throat and chopping stuff up. Is probably Frog Guy in Giant Frog form.
Giant Dragon (Himself) – A Giant Dragon shows up because we need giant dragons doing…stuff… and then he dies. Yeah. Way to be a dead giant dragon, Giant Dragon. Is probably the Lizard Guy in Giant Dragon form.

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