Golden Venom

Golden Venom

aka 金蠶降

1991HKMDB Link
Directed by Lam Yee-Hung

Golden Venom
Throw your hands in the air, and crystal ball like you just don’t care!

Golden Venom is a kung fu fantasy with laser beams shooting out of people that turns into gross out horror as two families feud in non-game show format. It’s pretty uninspired at times, and I’m not sure what the real point of it was, because it isn’t enough of a gross out film to satisfy the gross out fans, but it’s not enough of a good wuxia type film to satisfy those fans, either. It’s a halfway effort that fails everyone. The only reason I watched Golden Venom is because characters were wearing crazy colored wigs and doing magic kung fu moves, but the overall plot was disappointing, the villains are generically evil, and even though I like the goofy effects, the rest of it is boring.

Golden Venom
Gingers do so have souls!

Saying Golden Venom is not fond of women would be an understatement. Every female character except one is killed, many are sexually degraded, and most are just quickly killed and tossed aside. The only real strong female character is Skeleton, and she’s evil and crazy!

The only real cool thing are the villains and how outlandish they are. The almost cartoonish look seems inspired by the Golden Light Puppets, much like many of Pearl Cheung Ling’s films and other Taiwanese fantasy flicks seem to feature goofy wigs more than other countries. Even though the bad guys look like kids fantasy characters, with the nudity and grossness I doubt this is intended to be a kids flick.

The “Golden Venom” from the title is the name of the mouth laser beams. It’s poisonous and comes in different flavors unique to each family’s secret recipe. Each family also has cures, which can’t be made without the help of the family.

Golden Venom
Welcome to Comicon!!

The presentation is okay, though in this print the subtitles keep changing the names of the characters. This is only a problem because some of the names are cooler than others.

Golden Venom is flawed and is too mean-spirited for my taste. I generally hope for a fun kung fu adventure, not a film walking the line towards being pure exploitation but afraid to pull the trigger. Director Lam Yee-Hung also directed a bunch of terrible Category III flicks before disappearing into the ether. After seeing Golden Venom, I’m wondering why it took so long.

Master Ying Kim (Ku Feng) – Blind patriarch of the Kim family and former police officer. The family’s quest to do what is right causes trouble when this jerk family of monsters decides they should be able to do whatever the heck they want. No one bothers to stand up to them except the Kim family.
Chih Kim (Mark Cheng Ho-Nam) – Master Kim’s son, a cop who keeps the peace, even though some people seem to have a problem with him punishing their family members for raping people. What a jerk, right?
Sister Kim (???) – Master Kim’s daughter doesn’t even get a name, and I don’t know who played her. She then sacrifices for the family (and a female servant then sacrifices for her!) and ultimately pays the highest price.
Cherry (Gam Chi-Gei) – Local girl saved from rape by Chih Kim, who then helps out the Kim family. Cherry’s Grandpa also helps, but he gets killed in the process.
Dragon (Charlie Cho Cha-Lee) – Evil jerk patriarch of the Dragon family, who have goofy hair, goofy family values, and a history of seeking revenge at the cost of everything else.
Skeleton (Siu Yam-Yam) – The evil wife and famed sorceress. Wears a skull necklace. Sometimes the subtitles call her Skeletor, which would have been a cooler name. Siu Yam-Yam is also in Big Bad Sis.
Teh (Jue Gwan-Yeung) – Rapey son of the Dragon clan, also called Puma, but I like Teh better because it’s more Internet. Was punk before punk was cool.
Mystery Guy who helps the Kim’s (Lau Shun) – A former cop who used to work with Master Kim and is partially responsible for blinding him. Feels guilty, so has his daughter Trady become a servant for the Kims and secret helps their battle against the Dragon family.
Golden Venom
I see Starbucks has brought back the pumpkin spice latte…

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The Eight Hilarious Gods (Review)

The Eight Hilarious Gods

aka Siu baa sin

Directed by Jeffrey Chiang Gu-Jun

Hong Kong does their take on Hakkenden, the tale that gave us Legend of Eight Samurai and Message From Space. Except it is a pure comedy and no one marries a dog. That’s good, as this film is about as related to the traditional Japanese story as Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter is to the Gospel of Luke. It does have some recognizable Hong Kong stars (even to Western audience members only slightly familiar with Hong Kong cinema) and some nice fantasy fights for a comedy, but isn’t afraid to dwell in the poop jokes or to murder children just so the audience can go “WTF?” So let’s all go “WTF?” together!

This version of the film comes from one of those double-VHS tapes, found in the double-size VHS boxes that old-school video stores had. The only video store I know by name that still carries those is Le Video in San Francisco, but some of the old-school Chinatown rental stores have this as well. The double-tape explains why there are numbers after the title, because there are two title screens, one for each tape. Old school is the best school, baby! There ain’t no forced commercials here like on DVD. Sure, the picture quality isn’t the best, but it’s not like this film is begging for a remastered DVD. It should be remastered.

Ben (Adam Cheng Siu-Chow) – Ben is a high-level fairy who misplaced six magic pearls that just happen to be the pearls Lucifer is going to use to try to destroy the world. Except there is also this prophecy that says six people will show up to help defeat Lucifer, so now Ben is looking for them. Adam Cheng was in a film entitled Sup Sap Bup Dup as well as playing the boss of the female tribe in Fantasy Mission Force, so that’s enough street cred for me to give him a thumbs up!
Buddy Wall (Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu) – One of Heavenly Goddess’s fairies who attempts to stop Satan. Not powerful enough to face him alone. Has a crush on Ben, and is part of a running gag where no one finds her attractive. Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu is a famous Hong Kong comedienne.
Lotus (Rosamund Kwan Chi-Lam) – Brutal proprietor of the Dragon Gate Inn, who beats those who complain about her service. The whole Inn is a scam to rob customers with a freezing mist, and she collaborates with Uncle Cheung in this scam. Rosamund Kwan is probably best known here for playing Aunt Yee in the Once Upon a Time in China series. Prophecy mark – Love for one’s elders.
Lousy Han (Ng Man-Tat) – Lousy Han is a loyal friend who lets his buddy Smart Hon walk all over him. He gets into trouble constantly, but always with a smile on his face. Ng Man-Tat is in a whole mess of Steve Chow films, as well as many other efforts. Prophecy mark – Loyalty.
Uncle Cheung (Lawrence Cheng Tan-Shui) – The effeminate tour guide leader and fellow conspirator in Lotus’s robbery scam. Lawrence Cheng Tan-Shui has made a career of playing stereotypical homosexual goofballs, from his own shows to films like this and The Storm Riders. Prophecy mark – Mercy.
Smart Hon (Deric Wan Siu-Lun) – Smart Hon is the brains behind the Hon/Han group, but he isn’t as smart as his name implies. His greatest ability is avoiding getting into trouble. Deric Wan Siu-Lun is probably most recognizable as Emperor Kang Xi in the two Royal Tramp films. Prophecy mark – Justice.
Sheriff Lee (Shing Fui-On) – Looking like a crazy wild-man, Sheriff Lee is desperate to solve a case before he’s demoted. He is willing to do anything. ANYTHING. Even his mother won’t stand in his way. Shing Fui-On has appeared in more films than I can count, probably most notably in God of Gamblers. Most of them were without the crazy makeup. Prophecy mark – Filial Piety.
Uncle Tsao (Peter Lai Bei-Dak) – Information collector and informant. Likes Lotus, but instead ends up with Uncle Cheung! Not a happy camper. Prophecy mark – Faith.
Lucifer (Lau Shun) – The devil is an evil mo-fo! Did you know that Lucifer has clawed hands, metal hair, a voice sounding like one of the Visitors from V, and spends all his free time terrorizing a random small village in China? Because he does. This movie proves it. And he enjoys tossing children off roofs.

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