Tuesday, September 20, 2011

RED TO KILL (Hong Kong; 1994)

Here's a review of Red To Kill that won't make your eyes glaze over . . .

RED TO KILL (Hong Kong; 1994)
D: Billy Tang Hin-shing

Lest anyone think his RUN AND KILL licked the bottom of the exploitation barrel, director Tang soon after excreted this astonishingly tasteless Category III endurance test that makes the earlier work look like I HAVE A DATE WITH SPRING! After her father dies, mentally-challenged young Lily Chung is moved into an apartment complex where one floor is a government-subsidized rehab center for like-minded cases. Bad enough she and her new friends must endure the accusatory remarks of the “normal” residents (reflecting prevailing attitudes toward Hong Kong’s disabled as second-class citizens), but also the depraved advances of workshop co-ordinator Ben Ng, who’s also a ripped ‘n ragin’ serial rapist and necrophile of the wackiest sort. When he brutally rapes her after her pretty red dress and undies drive him nuts (the after-effect of a childhood trauma, don’tcha know), then walks free at the subsequent trial because she’s declared an unfit witness (!), social worker Money Lo decides it time to punch this bad boy’s tickets, but gets more than she bargained for when her deliberately slutty come-ons rocket him right off the deep end. Perhaps that tablesaw might ease the negotiations! Excessive to say the least, and balanced with a strange sentimentalism, but those who expect no subtlety (or deep characterizations) will probably find much bad taste to savour. Most of the cast assay retardation by tilting their heads, jutting out their lower jaws and rolling their eyeballs, while Ben Ng, thespian extraordinaire of Category III psychos, never misses an opportunity to stick his bare ass front and center before going beaters on a mannequin or pouring ice down the front of his thong. And while Chung does little to further the plight of the developmentally disabled in Asian societies, she does spend much of this jawdropper in the altogether. Waaaahhh!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This review was previously published on this blog in 2008.

Adultery. Suicide. Murder. Insanity. Drug addiction. Severed arms. Severed Heads. Impaled eye sockets. Acid facials. Attempted infanticide. To name a few.

Sure, it all sounds like the grocery list for some lurid Category III thriller from Hong Kong, or a par-for-the-course exercise in J-horror.

But it's not.

Welcome to Korea, 1967.

The film is A PUBLIC CEMETERY OF WOL-HA, a contemporary-set chiller about a conniving housemaid who keeps her wealthy matron in perpetual sickness in the hopes that her eventual death will free up a little space in her husband's love life...and bank account. While the victim takes the eternal yawn by her own hand, and in abject sorrow and humiliation as befits only the most beautiful Korean tragediennes, payback begins in earnest for her tormentors (and yes, there's more than one!) when her ghost returns home to settle up the bill.

There's some remarkably effective imagery here on what appears to be a modest budget (jazzed up with enough cheap-scare violin shrieks to make then-WKU student John Carpenter proud). One might easily draw visual links to similar Japanese films of the period, but on the basis of this, my first foray into old-school K-horror, I'm tempted to think the Korean shock film industry was vogueing to it's own gruesome beat, one that still reverberates in many of the country's unique modern shockers.

Regardless, Michael Carreras would most definitely have been impressed.

Click through to YouTube via any of the above videos for more clips from this and other amazing (and often rare!) Asian Cinema!

Available at many fine retailers near your keyboard

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From The Archives of Rex Saigon: The Age of Video (1988)

Another journey back in time, to the halcyon days of 1988 with this 10th Anniversary of Home Video feature from the pages of the now-defunct home tech magazine VIDEO. What was hot, what was not, and what (they thought) was to come . . .

(turn pages included at the end)