Thursday, January 25, 2007


Directed by Amando de Ossorio
Spain; 1974

Based on my film viewing experience, if you are an attractive woman between 17 and 30 years of age and your in a low budget motion picture made in either Italy or Spain during the 70's, there is an 80% chance you are playing a high fashion model. If your an attractive woman who is older than 30, then you will probably be playing the head of the modeling agency. The Ghost Galleon adds a good deal of credence to my theory as a movie about undead knights running amok on a decrepit ocean vessel, opens with a fashion shoot. I'm guessing that by making your female characters models it allows you to place them in odd and precarious situation in very little clothing, if any. For instance, stranded on a small boat in the middle of the sea with only a thin whisper of a bikini to protect you from the elements.

Amando de Ossorio 3rd entry into the Blind Dead films rarely gets the love or attention that his previous films, Tombs of the Blind Dead & Return of the Evil Dead do. I think mainly because the first half of the film is so utterly weird & preposterous. Of course this is also the reason I find myself so found of the film. 2 models have been hired by a boating tycoon who is about to introduce a new brand new line of motorboats. The models are to take the boat out into open water, act as if they are stranded and wait for passing ships to approach. Once they are picked up and brought back home the news outlets and paparazzi would then instantly be drawn to such a story as two young hot models rescued from certain dehydration and fatigue from a passing vessel. The resulting publicity would then attract more attention to the motorboat they were riding. Sounds ridiculous, but with today's era of wacky inter-net campaigns and Geico commercials it also almost sounds plausible.

Of course once the two ladies find themselves set adrift they find that passing ships are few to come by. While radioing back to home base they encounter a think fog. Drifting deeper into the think soup they come across The Ghost Galleon. A decaying dilapidated ship which comes across as the inspiration for The Black Pearl, the pirate ship in those Johnny Depp films the kids like so much. It really depends on the shot however, as some glimpses of the Galleon our obviously a model boat floating in a sink somewhere in Spain. Once the girls boat lines up with the Galleon an amazing thing happens that I feel has gone mostly unnoticed. In your typical horror situation, once the eye candy finds what is obviously a haven for death and a path toward certain doom, they run right towards it. In The Ghost Galleon however, one of the models (the more attractive one in my opinion played by Blanca Estrada) stays in the motorboat. Something in her tells her, "You know what, uh uh". Granted she does climb aboard the Galleon the next day, but the fact that she didn't "run toward the danger" the moment she came across it, was a welcome surprise. Of course once on board both women meet their fate at the hands of the undead Knights Templar. With the 2 models disappearance, a rag tag group of men and woman then make their way out to the same local where the fog was reported and eventually they too find themselves face to face with the Galleon and her crew.

The best part of any Blind Dead film are those scenes featuring the undead Knights themselves. No background information is given about their origin this time, which is in striking contrast to the previous two Bind Dead films. Both of which offer some what conflicted accounts to the Templar origins. I personally prefer the original where their eyes are peaked out by crows. But having ones eyes burned out before being executed is also a deliciously macabre visual.

The Knights move slow but they always seem to out number their prey. One minute their are 4 approaching, only to turn around and face 20. It's as if every possible crevice or crack in the ships wood could hold one of the undead. This adds to a dark and deeply oppressing atmosphere and some of the most striking visuals in the Blind Dead series. The final scene where several knights walk out of the water onto the shore in constant pursuit of the remaining castaways, is a particularly memorable image. Such a scene is often used in zombie films (ex. Zombie Lake, George A Romero's Land of the Dead) but the Knights in particular stand out as being deader than most. When they rise out of the sea, water cascades from inside their skulls out of their eye sockets & on to the rocks and sand below. The visual effects and costumes for the knights are as impressive today as they must have been when they first took to horse back and galloped across the big screen.

It feels a little rushed here and there and you do you get the feeling that the filmmakers where grasping for a different angle to approach the Knights, but with its weird premise, thick atmosphere & striking visuals, The Ghost Galleon is worth checking out. My hopes are that this series is revised and that next time we find the Knights on the Moon. All we have to do now is figure out how to get some hot models up there.

Review by The Undead Film Critic!

Specs and cover art for long-awaited Jodorowsky DVDs!!!

A Golden Age is upon us. Soon we will live in an era when Alejandro Jodorowsky's extrordinary films EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN will be available in restored and decked-out-with-extras special edition Digital Video Discs at affordble prices. I almost feel like crying.
From the Fangoria website, an offering of information:

Streeting May 1 will be a boxed set containing 1970's EL TOPO, 1973's THE HOLY MOUNTAIN and 1968's FANDO Y LIS, with TOPO and MOUNTAIN also available separately. Each movie has been digitally restored, with TOPO presented fullscreen, MOUNTAIN in 16x9-enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen and FANDO in 1.66:1 widescreen; the first two have Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 stereo soundtracks, with TOPO and FANDO in Spanish with optional subtitles and MOUNTAIN in English. Extras are as follows:

* Audio commentary by Jodorowsky (in Spanish with optional subtitles
* English dub track * Exclusive interview with Jodorowsky * 2006 on-camera interview with Jodorowsky (in English) � Photo gallery/original script excerpts * Original theatrical trailer (with English voiceover)

* Audio commentary by Jodorowsky (in Spanish with optional subtitles
* Deleted scenes with Jodorowsky commentary (in Spanish with optional subtitles)
* THE TAROT short with director commentary (in Spanish with optional subtitles)
* Restoration process short
* Photo gallery/original script excerpts
* Original theatrical trailer (with English voiceover)
* Restoration credits

* Audio commentary by Jodorowsky (in Spanish with optional subtitles
* La Constellation Jodorowsky documentary
* French and English stereo tracks

In addition, the boxed set comes with CD soundtracks for EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, plus a bonus DVD of LA CRAVATE, Jodorowsky's never-before-released first film. This package retails for $49.98; the TOPO and MOUNTAIN discs retail separately for $24.98 each.

Check out the Cetin Inanc fansite!!!

We're about to take an extended break here at Worldweird and so I'm loading up a handful of stories one after the other over the course of this afternoon and evening. After that it might be more than a week before we start up again with fresh content. Please hang-tight, as this year promises to be a banner year for weirdfilms of all sorts, and we will be there to cover it with enthusiasm and style!

You've gotta see this! - a website of major Worldweird Cinema interest: A Myspace fanpage for the director of the all time worldweird classiks DEATH WARRIOR, THE BIGGEST FIST and THE MAN WHO SAVES THE WORLD, the great Cetin Inanc! They've included biographical info, a partial filmography, extrodinarily rare original trailers for amazing films he made with Turkish superstar Cuneyt Arkin and more.
An absolute must-see. Go here, pilgrims.


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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Severin Films continues to take our money.

Here's a rundown of the amazing stuff Eurotik DVD specialists Severin Films has in store for it's devotees:


Limited Edition Collection Features A Never-Before-Seen Interview With Cult Director Joe D'Amato & All-New Soundtrack Compilation CD!

The breathtakingly beautiful Laura Gemser stars as the infamous sexual adventuress in these three erotic epics now on DVD for the first time ever in America:

EMANUELLE IN BANGKOK - Emanuelle prowls the steamy underbelly of the Thai city on an odyssey of opium orgies, depraved Republicans and flying ping-pong balls.

SISTER EMANUELLE - Emanuelle renounces her wanton ways and joins a convent for wayward schoolgirls, only to face temptation from some very unholy sins of the flesh.

EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD - In director Joe D'Amato's notorious jaw-dropper, Emanuelle uncovers a global conspiracy of enslaved women, kinky Senators and inappropriate uses for exotic pets.

BONUS CD: GETTING DOWN WITH BLACK EMANUELLE - An all-new compilation of remastered soundtrack music by composer Nico Fidenco. eye-popping deleted scenes, an exclusive featurette and more, all waiting within the succulent confines of BLACK EMANUELLE'S BOX.

“SUPERHUMANLY SEXY... Laura Gemser Is A Honey-Dipped Cup Of Juicy Java Goodness!”
- Mr. Skin

Colour / 1.85:1 / 16x9 / 281 mins / Not Rated / $69.95 / Reg 0 (NTSC) / 3 x DVD 5 + 1 x CD
English / Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 / English Subtitles
UPC 891635001162 / Item SEV1110

Director: Aristide Massaccesi (as Joe D'Amato) + Giuseppe Vari (as Joseph Warren)


EMANUELLE IN BANGKOK: Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Ely Galleani [Elide Galleani], Ivan Rassimov, Venantino Venantini...

SISTER EMANUELLE: Laura Gemser, Monika Zanchi, Gabriele Tinti...

EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD: Laura Gemser, Ivan Rassimov, Karin Schubert, Don Powell, George Eastman [Luigi Montefiori]...


EMANUELLE IN BANGKOK: Emanuelle nera - orient reportage / Black Emanuelle Goes East


EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD: Emanuelle - perché violenza alle donne? / Emanuelle Versus Violence to Women / The Degradation of Emanuelle / Confessions of Emanuelle



  • Joe D'Amato At Eurofest
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Black Emanuelle's Groove - Interview with Composer Nico Fidenco
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Newly Remastered Soundtrack Compilation CD of Music by Nico Fidenco

  • Two new Jess Franco DVDS:

    Sado-erotic French literary masterpiece The Story Of O is updated, unrestrained and unleashed courtesy of infamous euro-cult master Jess Franco! Odile, a young nymphet played by the luscious Alicia Princípe, submits to more than she bargained for when she is seduced into a sexual game by her shameless neighbors. Torrid afternoon threesomes soon transgress into a haven of degradation when two brutal perverts enter the lurid scene. How far will Odile's carnal curiosity push her before the ultimate climax is fulfilled?

    Daniel Katz (NIGHT OF 1,000 SEXES) co-stars in this scorching tale of sex and sadism that remains one of Franco's most renowned early 80s features. Severin Films is proud to present it now fully restored from original Spanish vault elements, featuring all-new Bonus Materials and presented totally uncut & uncensored for the first time ever in America!

    Colour / 2.35:1 / 16x9 / 92 mins / Not Rated / $ / Reg 0 (NTSC) / DVD 5
    Spanish Dolby Digital Mono / English Subtitles
    UPC 891635001216 / Item SEV1115

    Director: Jess Franco

    Starring: Alicia Principe [Alicia Pedreira], Carmen Carri—n, Daniel Katz, Mamie Kaplan, Mauro Rivera.

    Aka: Historia sexual de O

  • Franco's O - Interview with Director Jess Franco


    This is Emmanuelle as you've never seen her before a unique take on the insatiable sexual adventuress courtesy of Jess Franco! French TV star Muriel Montossé (billed here as Vicky Adams) follows in the uninhibited footsteps of Sylvia Kristel and Laura Gemser as Emmanuelle, exploring carnal fulfillment in the most unlikely places. But after an impromptu live-on-stage lesbian exhibition with a sultry stripper, her friends think she may be out of control. Will she resist the allure of every extreme erotic opportunity that comes her way or can she seduce her partners to submit to THE INCONFESSABLE ORGIES OF EMMANUELLE?

    Known to late night cable connoisseurs as EMMANUELLE EXPOSED and co-starring Carmen Carrión (THE SEXUAL STORY OF O) and Robert Foster (MACUMBA SEXUAL), this lascivious erotic masterpiece is now fully restored from the recently discovered original negative, with all-new Bonus Materials featuring Jess Franco himself, and presented totally uncut & uncensored for the first time ever in America!

    Colour / 2.35:1 / 16x9 / 86 mins / Not Rated / $29.95 / Reg 0 (NTSC) / DVD 5
    English / Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 / English Subtitles
    UPC 891635001223 / Item SEV1116

    Director: Jess Franco

    Starring: Vicky Adams, Robert Foster, Carmen Carrión, Ida Ralin, Tony Skios.

    Aka: Las orgias inconfesables de Emmanuelle / Emmanuelle Exposed

    And don't forget, on Febuary 27th:

    What is the Most Incredible Thing a Woman ever did for $1,000,000?

    AN EXQUISITELY CRAFTED THRILLER... Guaranteed To Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat! - THE SPINNING IMAGE

    In a controversial career that flayed every envelope of cinematic excess, nothing can prepare you for this stunning thriller from the infamous director of ZOMBIE and THE BEYOND. Jean Sorel (BELLE DE JOUR) stars as an arrogant San Francisco doctor trapped between his sultry mistress (Elsa Martinelli of BLOOD AND ROSES) and an amoral stripper (Marisa Mell of DANGER: DIABOLIK) who bears an uncanny resemblance to his recently deceased and possibly murdered wife. What follows has been called Fulci's first true masterpiece, where sexual obsession, cruel deception and depraved murder all come together in one unforgettable PERVERSION STORY.

    John Ireland and Faith Domergue co-star in this gripping giallo - also known as ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER - that features eye-popping nudity, provocative locations (including the gas chamber at San Quentin) and a badass jazz score by Riz Ortolani (MONDO CANE, KILL BILL). Severin Films is proud to present PERVERSION STORY in a startling new high definition transfer from the original vault negative thought to be lost for more than 35 years!.

    Colour / 1.85:1 / 16x9 / 103 mins / Not Rated / $29.95 / Reg 0 (NTSC) / DVD 5
    English / Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 / English Subtitles
    UPC 891635001155 / Item SEV1109

    Director: Lucio Fulci

    Starring: Marisa Mell, Jean Sorel, Elsa Martinelli, John Ireland...

    Aka: Una sull'altra / One on Top of the Other / Una historia perversa

    # Rare bonus CD featuring music by Riz Ortolani
    # Theatrical trailer

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    Major Worldweird DVD News!!!!!

    Things at Worldweird HQ are a bit in flux at the moment, but I had to share these two MAJOR news-stories with you.
    First, and at long last, We have the first details concerning the Jodorowsky DVDs. Got this info via the Digital Bits website (no time for links, google it) via the DVD Maniacs forum:

    ABKCO Films and Anchor Bay Entertainment have just announced a pair of titles that we've been waiting for on DVD since Day One of this format... El Topo and The Holy Mountain! No kidding!Anchor Bay will release a special limited edition collector's box set, The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, on DVD on 5/1 (SRP $49.98).The set will contain El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Fando Y Lis on DVD, fully restored and remastered from new HD transfers in anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio. The box set will also include 2 music CDs containing the soundtracks for El Topo and The Holy Mountain, as well as a DVD of Jodorowsky's never-before-released first film, La Cravate. El Topo and The Holy Mountain will also be available separately (SRP $24.98 each). The El Topo DVD will contain audio commentary by the director, the original theatrical trailer (with English voice-over), a 2006 on-camera interview with the director as well as an exclusive new interview, a photo gallery and original script excerpts. The Holy Mountain DVD will include audio commentary with the director, deleted scenes with commentary, the original theatrical trailer (with English voice-over), the Tarot short with commentary, a restoration process short, restoration credits, a photo gallery and original script excerpts. Fando Y Lis will include audio commentary with the director and the La Constellation Jodorowsky documentary.Subtitles on the discs will be available in English, French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.

    Oh my sweet fucking Odin. I can hardly believe the day is almost here. May 1st. Mark it on your calender.
    The only thing that could possibly match the sweetness of this moment is some news concerning our fav DVD boutique Mondo Macabro's roster of 2007 releases. Well, dig this blog from MM's myspace page:

    Happy 2007 to all our fans!
    We hope that the holidays were good to you and you all got plenty of Mondo Macabro DVDs in your stockings this year. 2006 was a banner year for Mondo as we released some of our finest DVDs yet and received some of our strongest reviews. We're extremely proud of such discs as VIRGINS FROM HELL, DON'T DELIVER US FROM EVIL, THE DEVIL'S SWORD, and THE BOLLYWOOD HORROR COLLECTION VOLUME 1 and the feedback that we've been getting from all of you has been part of what keeps us going. You may have noticed that we haven't announced any new titles since we released SNAKE DANCER back in November. But we haven't been idle. Oh dear me, no. We've been working on our very first feature film production. That's right, a Mondo Macabro movie! If you want to learn more then read about it here.
    As you can imagine, this has kept us pretty busy. But you can expect to see a full slate of Mondo Macabro titles all through 2007 and well into 2008 with some of the most mondo films we've ever released. Here's what you can expect from us starting in spring/summer 2007:

    THE BLOOD ROSE (aka RAVAGED and DEVIL'S MANIAC) – Claude Mulot's erotic horror classic.

    THE WARRIOR – The Barry Prima action classic, finally on DVD and completely uncut!

    QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC – The Indonesian horror classic, also known as BLACK MAGIC III.

    DAUGHTER OF EVE (a.k.a. SILIP) – Filipino erotic classic now available for the first time on DVD anywhere. Read more about it here.


    There are even more exciting titles in the works, but we're not ready to discuss them just yet. You'll hear about them soon enough, that's for sure!

    Cheers, Your friends at Mondo Macabro

    Very, very coooool.
    We've been a little worried about the state of affairs in cult DVD land, but with all these mouth-watering titles 2007 looks to be a banner year for all things weird and digital.
    See ya soon, worldweird-o-philes!

    Monday, January 15, 2007


    Some info concerning our favorite film-maker/comic-book author/modern mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky, from an interview on the Premiere Magazine (of all places) website.

    On the upcoming DVD (box set?):
    "After almost 25 years of conflict with Allen Klein, we made a friendly arrangement. I went, some months ago, to New York to remaster EL TOPO, arranging the color. I made wonderful work with the daughter of Allen Klein, Robin. The DVD includes three of my best pictures FANDO Y LIS, EL TOPO, and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, with two hours of bonus features including the first film I made when I was 24 years old, which was lost. The picture was a tale of Thomas Mann, a pantomime called THE TIDE. There are interviews, commentaries."

    On the re-mastering process:
    "They have a new machine [to make] the colors I wanted. At that time [I made the film], the technique was not so perfect. Also, some shots that were dark are clear and shots that were static, I gave them movement. It's perfect now. For the first time in my life I have the picture as I like it. I did this with all three pictures. The first picture was black and white, so it was not a problem, but EL TOPO was a problem because the color was not good. And THE HOLY MOUNTAIN is like a painting."

    On his next film:
    "It's called KING SHOTS. It's a gangster movie. There are a lot of actors who want to play in the picture. Marilyn Manson will play the role of a 300-year-old Pope. Nick Nolte called me and said he saw a picture I did called SANTE SANGRE. He said, "I want to work with you." I said, "How can I pay you." And he said, "That is not important." I want to shoot in Romania and in the desert in Spain where Leone shot his pictures. It's set at a casino in the middle of the desert and all the gangsters come to gamble. In the desert they find the skeleton of a giant man as big as King Kong. I wanted to make a film called ABEL CAIN which was the SON OF EL TOPO but I could not raise the money. Too expensive. You know, I am a poor poet trying to make artistic, individual pictures. I am not a multinational. I think my pictures are some kind of an elixir that can change the mind for the better. I hate pictures where you go in silly and you come out silly, not changed. With my pictures I want to change the way you see the world. That is for me is the meaning of cinema."

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Movie Review: EN BUYUK YUMRUK

    Directed by Cetin Inanc
    Turkey; 1983

    Cuneyt Arkin is one suave motherfucker.

    There could hardly be a better representation of this inherent suaveness than the 1983 crime flick EN BUYUK YUMRUK, wherein our man Arkin displays devastating levels of both disarming charm and bone-cracking ass-kickery. Directed with a brilliant haphazard verve by Turko-flick vet Cetin Inanc, this little film is as essential an introduction to the wild, wild world of Anatolian Cinema as one could want. It may struggle with its crippling lack of budget, but more than makes up for that with insanity, creativity and the Movie Star God appeal of Worldweird Cinema’s #1 icon Cuneyt Arkin (who also produced and wrote the script; what a renaissance man!)

    I can’t really give you a synopsis of the plot, since I don’t (unfortunately) speak Turkish and my copy bore no English subtitles. And heck, you don’t really need to know what’s going on here. Cuneyt Arkin beats up bad guys. Cuneyt Arkin shoots bad guys. Cuneyt Arkin blows up lots and lots of bad guys. Cuneyt Arkin occasionally makes passionate love to his equally ass-kicking girlfriend. Cuneyt Arkin does what Cuneyt Arkin does.

    Beyond that there are many instances of typical Turkish insanity. Ridiculously evil villains, casual sadism, misogyny by the boatload, child endangerment, and footage stolen from other movies (a common trait of the Arkin/Inanc films of the early 1980s see also DEATH WARRIOR and THE MAN WHO SAVES THE WORLD). For example, when Cuneyt stages his climatic raid on Villain HQ his bullets and bombs seem to find victims in the form of cowboys from a western and Nazis from a WWII film, no doubt both culled from cheap Italian productions. It only adds to the utter surrealism of the whole thing. This is really an amazing movie for those who dig on the magick of Z grade sinema. The Turks really knew how to do it up right, and it doesn’t get any more right that this Cuneyt Arkin star vehicle.

    You must get. You must watch. You must worship.

    Print provided by Shocking Videos.

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Worldweird Newsbrief!!

    Howdy pardners!
    We got just a few tidbits from DVD land to pass on, if you haven't already heard about 'em that is.
    Firstly, from the mighty Severin Empire of Eroticism, a limited edition BLACK EMANUELE box set!!!!! Holy Shit, that rules the freakin' roost!
    Details, kiddies:

    This March expect the first volume of Black Emanuelle's Box in a Limited Edition of 4000 Units. This four disc set will contain the uncut version of Joe D'Amato's EMANUELLE IN BANGKOK, the X Rated Version of the outrageous EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD, Giuseppe Vari's SISTER EMANUELLE and a newly mastered compilation cd of Nico Fidenco music produced by Claudio Fuiano called IN BED WITH BLACK EMANUELLE. Box comes with six poster art reproduction post cards from around the world. Extras will include interviews with D'Amato and Nico Fidenco, deleted scenes and trailers.

    They already have our money. And our hearts. And our hard-ons.

    Next, we have yet still more Anchor Bay Italo-Horror re-hashes from Blue Underground.
    Namely, these:

    Cool, I guess. But why don't they release something y'know, new?
    Speaking of not releasing something new, here's the details on Shriek Show's new (and hopefully improved) LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN DVD, from the Fangoria website:

    The disc will include a 103-minute cut of the movie (the longest available anywhere), remastered in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with English 5.1 and mono and Italian mono soundtracks. The special features are:
    * Half-hour interview with Fulci expert Professor Paolo Albiero
    * Featurette on the history of the film�s censorship, with Albiero
    * Original Italian titles
    * Fulci trailer reel
    * Shriek Show trailers

    Retail price is $19.95.
    Out March 13th.

    Lastly, we here at Worldweird have been waiting impatiently, very impatiently, for any news out of Mondo Macabro concerning their 2007 roster of sure-to-be-mind-roasting flix. But all we've heard from them is deafening silence. But we were checking out their Myspace page today and found this possible hint among their "pics":

    Can anyone tell us what movie this is from? Our guess is SNAKE SISTERS, a Filipino film MM have been rumored to be releasing. But that's only a guess. We shall see.
    Gods willing, they will make the official announcement very soon.
    Quite frankly, we're tired of waiting.

    See ya next time, boys and girls!!

    Saturday, January 06, 2007

    A YouTube Tribute to Jean Rollin

    Although it hasn't really been reflected in the posts here (yet!), lately we've been pretty much obsessed with the cinema fantastique of the great French film-maker Jean Rollin. Here is a smattering of trailers and clips of his singular work found on the YouTube for you to peruse. If you haven't yet discovered the odd and mesmerizing world of the "Rollinade", let these vids be your gateway drug. You're warned though, they can be very, very addictive.
    (Another Warning: Clips contain nudity!)

    La Nuit des traquées (1980)

    Lèvres de sang (1975)

    Requiem pour un vampire (1971)

    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Movie Review: SEVENTH CURSE

    Directed by Ngai Kai Lam
    Hong Kong; 1986

    Hong Kong
    horror and fantasy cinema of the early to mid-80s really excels in delivering a kind of pure enjoyment and excitement. It may not have entirely original plots, scores, or ideas, but there's often something surprising to be found even in the midst of a routine exercise in genre; something that could not be said about Hollywood films of the same era. SEVENTH CURSE, based on a series of popular Chinese adventure stories, may take several cues from the first two INDIANA JONES movies, but I guarantee that there are at least a few things that you've never seen before in this film.

    It begins, in perhaps a conscious nod to BRIDE OF FRANKENSTIEN, with a group of high society types sitting and enjoying alcoholic beverages in their evening wear. An old man, presumably the writer of the story we are about to see, is discussing the merits of wine-drinking and story crafting to a bunch of women who are far too young and attractive for one to believe that he could be fucking them, no matter how drunk he gets them. For a second I thought I was watching a Chinese cognac commercial, but then the plot reveals itself as aforementioned old man admits that some of his best stories are based on the real-life adventures of his two friends: Yuan and Wesley (also known as Wisely and Wei). Enter the two tuxedoed men (the latter played by Chow Yun Fat), who with a wink and a nudge take us into a flashback…

    Cut to a tense hostage situation, in which Yuan is sent into a building (the reason seemingly to show us his martial arts skills) while a SWAT team prepares to bombard. Another ostensible reason for the scene is to introduce us to Maggie Cheung's character, Tsai-Hung, whose main purpose in the story is to pop up in a place where she shouldn't be, much to the consternation of Yuan. Later at a party, Tsai-Hung tells Yuan she is following him, the great adventurer, in hopes of getting an interview and some naked pictures for a story.

    Real trouble begins when Yuan returns home from the party and is attacked by a stranger. After smashing the stranger into just about every piece of glass furniture to his name, Yuan finally relents, and it turns out the stranger is not an assassin, but a messenger. His name is Huh Lung, and he comes from Thailand with a warning for Yuan: the blood curse, which Yuan apparently received on one of his previous adventures, will kill him shortly. Furthermore, he should avoid lovemaking, because it will exacerbate the problem. He urges him to return to Thailand. Yuan pooh-poohs the advice and proceeds to sex-up his lady friend. Turns out, Huh Lung wasn't joking: Yuan's veins begin to throb, and eventually a bubble forms on his thigh and pops, spraying blood all over.

    Obviously concerned over having popping veins, Yuan consults his good friend Dr.Wei, who identifies the malady as some form of Thai black magic. Dr.Wei asks Yuan, "Have you been to Thailand recently?" Here the movie makes the audacious move of entering into another extended flashback (remember we're already in one from the beginning, so that means that Yuan & Wei are now telling the old man and sexy ladies about this flashback).

    On an expedition in Thailand, Yuan oversees a beautifully woman named Betsy, wearing what appears to be nothing but a long white t-shirt, bathing in a pond. So overcome by this private wet t-shirt contest, Yuan drops his binoculars and becomes completely enamored with the woman. Later Yuan's friend warns him to stay away from her and her village, but curiosity drives him and a group of friends towards the village where they arrive just in time to witness a crude ceremony. High priest Aquala, Hong Kong's answer to Mola Ram, is selecting victims for a blood sacrifice to "Old Ancestor", and you can guess who is on the chopping block.

    Yuan's attempt to save the woman from sacrifice leads to an awesome kung-fu fight with a skeleton (the aforementioned "Old Ancestor"). The skeleton, for some reason, can also morph into a creature that looks like an H.R.Geiger alien (as in from the movie ALIEN) with wings. Betsy makes it to safety, but unfortunately Yuan and his friend are captured and tied to posts. Aquala spreads magic goo on Yuan's friend which causes his skin to swell and burst with maggots! Aquala then begins to give Yuan his blood curse, each popping vein accompanied by a sound effect that may actually be the sound of a cork popping out of a champagne bottle. Luckily, Yuan is able to escape by focusing light onto the ropes that bind him, burning through them. When he meets up with her again, Betsy thanks Yuan for saving her by taking a knife and cutting a magic item from inside her left breast. She tells him it will cure his blood curse, so he gobbles it up and thus ends the flashback.

    As it turns out, the cure only lasted a year, and if he doesn't return to Thailand for a more permanent cure, Yuan will suffer several more vein bursts over the next 48 hours until he dies. This revelation moves our heroes to Thailand where, accompanied by the relentless Tsai-Hung, they attempt to locate a cure for the blood curse, rescue Betsy (again), and stop Aquala and "Old Ancestor" once and for all. I'll intentionally leave a lot of details out here to give you some incentive to track this movie down, but let's just say that there is a "Little Ghost" who is brought about by a potion made from the blood of 100 children, a booby trapped jungle, a race up a giant statue of Buddha, fighting monks, possession, cow placentas, a rocket launcher, and a climatic battle for the ages. Additional elements borrowed from Indiana Jones include a village where all of the children have gone missing (given a nearby context clue, can you guess where they are?!*) and a boulder chase with a clever substitution for an actual boulder. At 77 minutes long, the movie speeds along from set-up to set-up with a strange mixture of adventure, martial-arts, and horror.

    I realize that this is more of a description than a review, but it really is difficult to translate an experience that is as immediate and visceral as SEVENTH CURSE into words that people would want to read on the internets. As I said before, there is something pure to the mayhem and adventure that is contained within this movie and others like it. It lacks the psychedelic excess of BOXER'S OMEN and the sleaziness of SEEDING OF A GHOST, so I can't recommend it as highly as those, but I still think it's something special. Untainted by Spielbergian aspirations of commercial appeal and critical acceptance as well as freed from the constraints of decency and taste by the Hong Kong Category III rating, films like this relish in the simple joy that is watching characters transverse fantastic sets, fight monsters, and commit superhuman feats of strength and endurance. Narrative logic is traded for excuses to show gore and tits, and this is a good thing. If the movie took itself any more serious it would be a drag, and at the same time, if it was too aggressively stupid it would be as tedious as a Troma movie, or worse, something smug and self-knowing like SLITHER (apologies to fans, I don't think it's a bad movie. I just didn't like it.). Not everything in the movie is played for laughs, and though it will make most people laugh, I hope that others can find the same wide-eyed admiration I find for movies that aren't afraid to be exactly what they are and should be.

    *Answer: The children are being lowered into a giant stone vice where they are crushed for their blood. It is a scene that would be horrifying were it not so absurd.

    Review by the newest member of Team Worldweird Laird Jimenez!