Beauty’s Evil Roses (Review)

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!

Mannie (Wong Wing-Fong) – A model and girlfriend of A-Kang, who spends a lot of time having sex with her. She also poses nude, which didn’t bother A-Kang before he started dating her, but suddenly makes him uneasy. Mannie helps infiltrate the evil cult that kills women, giving a bonus lesbian sex scene. Wong Wing-Fong is also known as Usang Yeong Fang.
A-Kang Hsiao (Jack Wong Wai-Leung) – A-Kang Hsiao is a cop with a girlfriend and anger issues. He’s such a good cop he becomes a target of th evil cult. His sister is Show-Mei
Police Supervisor Madam (Chang Siu-Yin) – Cheng’s girlfriend – aka Handcuff Girl – Police Captain that Cheng is sleeping with, their relationship is supposed to be a secret
Cheng (Alex Fong Chung-Sun) – Handcuff Guy – A neurotic cop who likes to beat suspects. He is dating his superior, who is only referred to as Police Supervisor Madam. He is also filled with rage. The rage burns in him like the fire of 1000 suns.
Da-Shie (???) – The evil queen of the cult who has lesbian sex and S&M bondage stuff with all the female members, though she has to answer to Evil God. The makeup artist decided to make her look extra evil, so she’s got that going on for her. Suffer not the evil to live, thus Da-Shie is dead by the end of the film.
Evil God (???) – Evil God looks a lot like Gozer. Hmmmm…. He’s evil, and he has God-like powers, such as kung fu and…kung fu. Okay, maybe he can torture people from afar. I am not sure. Evil God sure isn’t immune to bullets.
Show-Mei (???) – The Money. Miss Missouri here seems to be a tourist who makes friend with a guy who never gets a name, until she is kidnapped by a cult and brainwashed with tentacle worms or something. Then she becomes evil and her brother A-Kang has to track her down and destroy the cult.
Ian-Huang (Chui Seung-Ha) – Member of the evil cult with a Keira Knightly vibe going on. Spends the beginning of the film boinging an old dude to infect him with evil tentacle stuff. Then she dresses as a dude and later tries to kill A-Kang. The most well-characterized of the evil cult’s disciples. Her name is spelled Ian-Heung and Yen-Hong when the subtitles guy is letting his assistant do the work.
Great Priest (???) – A Taoist priest who is not Lam Ching-Ying, so he will be dead by the end of the film. And he is. Only Lam Ching-Ying can be the awesome Taoist priest, sorry, dude.
Share (???) – Share is probably supposed to be Cher, but maybe her parents wanted to teach her how to share so much they made it her name. Too bad they didn’t teach her not to get involved in deadly lesbian S&M cults.

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Thrilling Sword (Review)

Thrilling Sword

aka Shen jian dong shan he

Directed by Cheung San-Yee
Written by Shing-Ming Huang

This film rules!

It is a Taiwanese take on Snow White, which needed giant monsters, guys turned into bears, demon worship, and crystal swords. Take that, Disney! The film is filled with fantastic elements, just when you think the film has exhausted its supply of weird wonderness, it shows that Thrilling Sword has barely scratched the surface. Parts of the film remind me of He-Man, to the point where I suddenly became interested in He-Man again after years of not being interested and now know all sorts of new stuff about He-Man.

Thrilling Sword is one of many awesome fantasy films that came out of the Taiwanese film industry. At the time, they were competing with the Shaw Brothers and their elaborate and expensive productions. No Taiwanese company could compete in making their films look just as good, but that didn’t stop them from trying or from going over the top with the fantasy aspects. And that makes the films that came out of Taiwan from the 1970s and 80s some of the weirdest and most fun films. It is a shame that so many of the films are hard to find or even lost. Many of the surviving films are only found on fullscreen VHS tapes that are running on thirty years old (luckily, most have been archived digitally, so even if the film never is released again it won’t disappear.) This particular rip is taken from a TV broadcast, which is supposed to be more widescreen than the fullscreen VHS releases of Thrilling Sword, but then I saw a VCD case while looking up cast info on the film, so there is at least VCD copies around, which means there might be a DVD somewhere, but who knows how good that copy is. But this is one film I would put extra time into hunting down an upgrade for.

Thrilling Sword has also been released under the titles Heaven Sword and Thrilling Bloody Sword. So now you know. Director Cheung San Yee also directed a few classics such as Lady Constables and Snaky Knight Fights Against Mantis. He also wrote Island Warriors and came up with the story for Challenge of the Lady Ninja.

Yaur-gi (Fong Fong-Fong) – It’s Snow White! The daughter of King Gau-shien who is sent down the river when she is born as a giant lump of flesh, returning 18 years later after being raised by seven dwarf generals. See more of Fong Fong-Fong in Island Warriors.
Prince Yur-juhn (Lau Seung-Him) – Yur-Juhn is a prince of the Yur Chin Kingdom/Yur Min Nation. The name changes as the film goes on, so don’t blame me. Maybe his country should choose a name and stick with it! Prince Yur-juhn falls in love with Yaur-gi and does lots of heroic stuff for the king before he is turned into a bear and has to go get crystal armor. Just your average Thursday night. Lau Seung-Him was Monkey in Monkey War and New Pilgrims to the West.
Gi-err (Elsa Yeung Wai-San) – Gi-err is from Wu Shien Kingdom is said to be a powerful exorcist. The King has her go and kill lots of demons. She also worships demons and is plotting to overthrow the king thanks to all the demons she is letting loose in the country. The King trusts her completely. Elsa Yeung has been seen on TarsTarkas.NET in Island Warriors and Challenge of the Lady Ninja.
Shiah-ker (Chang Yi) – Gi-err’s partner who also has magic powers and also worships a demon master, and he’s totally evil and even looks horribly evil and his name even sounds horribly evil. The King trusts him completely. I think the King would trust Hitler if he knew how to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
The Little Fairy of the Forest (Ha Ling-Ling) – She used to be a rabbit that Yaur-gi was nice to and then turned into a fairy to be a friend and ally. All fairy tales need fairies, which is a rule or something. I think you can go to jail. So be sure to follow that rule, okay?
Magic Master (???) – Magic Master was trapped in a box by Gi-err and Shaih-ker long ago, probably because he has a butt on his head. A butt on his head. And a nose ring. AND A BUTT ON HIS HEAD! Magic Master also has a sweet skull staff, but there is not butt on the skull. Magic Master is let loose by Prince Yur-juhn and heads off to fight the ones who trapped him.

The Dwarves!

Leader Dwarf (???) – Is the leader, and is also an archer. All of the dwarves are former generals who have been shrunk in size. All of the dwarves raise Yaur-gi when they find her in the river as an infant. Like most of the dwarves, I am not sure who played him. None of the dwarves are given names, so I named them based on their traits.
Vain (???) – He’s so vain, he probably thinks this Roll Call entry is about him.
Drunky (???) – Are these the Seven Dwarfs or the Seven Duffs? I guess Drunky parties hard to hide his crippling lack of self-esteem, his fast-living lifestyle heading towards a colision course with reality one day soon.
Sleepy (???) – He’s sleepy, thus his name. He’s also the only dwarf whose seems to correlate to one of the classic dwarves besides the Leader Dwarf.
Farty (Hui Bat-Liu) – Guess how Farty got his name! Yep, toilet humor isn’t just the realm of modern day PG-13 comedies. Hui Bat-Liu is in the greatest movie of all time, Fantasy Mission Force, as well as Island Warriors
Mohawk (???) – I know if I was a dwarf, I would have a mohawk. Because why not? Mohawk is not the brightest of bulbs, but does help sneak Princess Yaur-gi into the castle to meet Prince Yur-juhn again.
Screechy (???) – Screechy has a screechy voice, thus his name. Yep. Good times.
Raising the roof!

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High School Ghosthustlers (Review)

High School Ghosthustlers

Senna Matsuda as Kyoko
Yuka Nakamori as Emi
Yuko Kitamura as Mayu
Directed by Yoshinori Nishikiori

High School Girls, Ghosts, penis monsters, live action hentai, Japan, if you like that stuff, here is a movie containing it. It’s campy trash, but it’s somewhat fun. And with three Japanese Models as main characters, it has plenty of eye candy to cover the boring stretches. After a slow opening, quickly interswitched with a high school girl jumping to her death, and then Kyoko is bungee jumping while Mayu and Emi sit talking. They are members of the Supernatural Phenomenon Research Club at their school. Their club is sponsored by Mr Shimada, who tells Emi, Kyoko, and Mayu that people this was part of a series of suicides and people are talking about the school being cursed, and he wants the girls to investigate. Of the girls, Kyoko is most interested in supernatural phenomenon because she wishes to see her dead grandmother again. Emi is the daughter of some sort of monk that performs exorcisms, and has some psychic powers. Mayu is basically there to fall down and ghosts to catch, and uses a ghost detector that looks like a toy gun. But the brave Mr. Shimada now has three high school girls wandering around an empty high school at midnight knowing that many high school girls have recently killed themselves. Around 12:30, they hear piano music, which turns out to be the weird janitor. As Kyoko and Emi go to the bathroom, Mayu gets attacked by scissors which cut off part of her clothes (oh, the horror :P). It is, naturally, the weird janitor, and Kyoko and Emi show up to help, and the Janitor tries to hypnotize Kyoko to kill herself, but she just beats the crap out of him. And he was responsible for the other girls’ deaths, so now the trio are heroines.
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