|Copyright 1975 Shaw Brothers
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 27 April 2009
- Xu Nuo - The hero. A construction engineer who works at a site that is filled with Chinese men wearing bell bottoms and yellow hard hats (like a bunch of "Village People" impersonators). He also wears leopard print boxers and has tattoos like Popeye on his biceps, but he's straight.
- Quming - Brimming with earthworms is no way for a woman to spend her honeymoon.
- Master Furong - He is a kind old shaman who would fit right in with the more colorful residents of New Orleans. The only trouble would be him calling down purple lightning on anyone he saw carrying a skull. In China that might be a sign that the skull-bearer was an evil wizard, but in New Orleans - well, who doesn't carry around a skull in New Orleans?
- Lou Yin - A depraved woman who is more than willing to use her wealth to get what she wants, even if it means digging up graves and handling rotting fingers and teeth. Dies of sudden old age.
- Liang - This gigolo has an impressive collection of shirts. They all needed names, so I named them. One is "Hawaiian Bionicle," while another favorite is "Stained Glass Menagerie." He is killed by a migraine. Yikes, that is one mean headache!
- Sha Jianmai - Wicked wizard whose customers pay him to cast death spells and other baneful magics. He takes checks! Dies of fried karma.
|This is a strange offering from the Shaw Brothers studio, because it contains absolutely zero kung fu. Instead of fighters punching, kicking, and tumbling, we are introduced to Sha Jianmai as he speaks to a woman who is upset with her cheating husband. She wants Sha Jianmai to cast death spells on the adulterous jerk and his large-breasted mistress. After the terms of payment (gold and precious stones) are agreed to, the wizard gets to work. Blood and hair from the man and woman are mixed, and anatomically correct clay dolls are used to represent the doomed pair. Sha Jianmai is not without a sense of bawdy humor. He makes the dolls do the dirty, then he starts poking them with voodoo needles. In the adulterers' bungalow, the cheating husband and his busty toy get real busy before getting real dead.
Hotel employees might be used to finding illicit lovers murdered, but what killed them is usually something obvious, such as a gun, knife, or hair dryer. Sha Jianmai's victims' final convulsions left them in a twisted heap on the floor. The woman who discovers the bodies knows that they were not killed by a jealous wife (at least not in any of the normal ways). Master Furong is a good shaman, so it falls on his shoulders to wipe out Sha Jianmai with a counterspell. The black magic practitioner feels the retributive strike coming. He cuts his tongue with a dagger, and then licks and pastes dozens of papers to the walls of his hut. The hut still does not survive, but Sha Jianmai narrowly escapes destruction.
Xu Nuo is quite a ways removed from black magic-infested jungles. The young man spends most of his days in the heart of the city, working to create a building from steel beams and cement. He also has to stay on the lookout for Lou Yin; the older woman has the hots for him, and she is not taking no for an answer. The rich widow (her dead husband owned the construction company) even chases her reluctant beau up and down the city streets. Both of them drive tiny cars; I think that Xu Nuo's might even be a little Datsun! While Lou Yin is actively pursuing romance with Xu Nuo, she herself is being courted by Liang. Lou Yin wants nothing to do with the shifty gigolo.
What does an opportunistic gigolo do when his sugar mama does not want the position? If he is Liang, then he goes looking for a wizard who can cast a love spell. Yes, Sha Jianmai will happily force someone to fall in love if he is paid his price. Liang agrees to a pay the black magic man quite a bit of gold for a love potion (#3, I believe).
My favorite scene in the movie takes place when Liang visits Sha Jianmai for the first time. The gigolo watches the wizard make a love spell for a girl who wants to get married. First, Sha Jianmai packs the girl's booty full of rice! He then mixes the soon-to-be-a-groom's blood and hair with snake venom and the girl's breast milk. No, she is not breastfeeding a baby, nor expecting one soon. The magician has a potion that makes women lactate! The girl drinks the potion, then the...uh...lovingly seasoned rice is scooped out of her…uh…womanhood. She is instructed to give the booty-flavored rice ball to her unsuspecting boyfriend. Wow, just wow. That is going to be a mighty tangy meal. "Baby, you didn't have to make me dinner. Yum, that is good. What did you use for seasoning, cod bullion?"
One of Sha Jianmai's love potions works wonders on Lou Yin, but the magical roofies wear off the next morning. Liang wakes up to find out that Lou Yin is not at all happy with him, and when Lou Yin is not happy, her German Shepherd is not happy. Faced with being bitten on the sensitive bits (the ones still slightly Lou Yin scented) or spilling the beans, the gigolo tells the scheming widow about black magic. Lou Yin instantly realizes that she has found a way to force Xu Nuo to fall in love with her. She asks Sha Jianmai to make her a love potion that never wears off.
The way that Sha Jianmai's black magic works is satisfyingly repugnant; the spells always require body parts or bodily extracts that are not for the squeamish. One thing that Lou Yin has to do to Xu Nuo, in addition to the normal requirements of hair and blood, is to leave a handful of rotting teeth and human fingers under the young man's bed. Still, despite often putting on an "Oh Buddha, this is disgusting" face, Lou Yin perseveres though all the steps involved in making a permanent love potion. She uses it on Xu Nuo at his wedding reception. Within an hour of giving his vows to love Quming forever, the bespelled young man is staining the sheets with Lou Yin. After consummating his marriage to the wrong woman, Xu Nuo lays in bed, smoking in that listless way that people smoke when their life consists of nothing besides tawdry encounters. Lou Yin does the same.
Poor Quming is left wondering what the heck happened to her marriage. When she tries to get her husband back, Lou Yin has a death spell cast on her. Not good! The abandoned wife collapses, and her body is infested with worms that bloat her stomach and squirm about under her skin. Disgusting stuff. Speaking of disgusting worms, Liang, the worthless gigolo, fails to pay Sha Jianmai the gold that was promised. The wizard pokes a clay Liang doll until the cad drops dead of a killer migraine. Murdering by proxy is not the black magician's only hobby; he also casts a spell on Lou Yin with roofie-scented flowers. Now the vapid widow has two lovers: one who could not stand her before the love potion, and one that she cannot resist.
Fatal migraine headaches, sex partners with hate/hate complexes, itsy-bitsy cars, and worm-filled women. This movie is so 1975.
Along comes Master Furong, who is going to make everything all right. With his white magic he saves Quming from the death spell, and even rescues Xu Nuo from the lascivious clutches of Lou Yin. A hot bowl of centipede chowder cures the enchantment that was cast on the young man. Nothing says love like centipede chowder.
Sha Jianmai and Lou Yin do not stop causing trouble for the protagonists, resulting in a climactic confrontation between Master Furong and Sha Jianmai. The film makers pull out ALL the SPFX stops! There are skulls waving around, laser beams (magic laser beams) shooting back and forth like the cheap zap-zaps seen in Italian space operas, psychedelic backdrops, and even shields (magic shields) that look like "Star Trek" teleporter sparklies. The booty-flavored rice ball, washed down with premature lactation might be my favorite part of the movie, but the final battle is some pretty wild cheese itself.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Being the target of a death spell is pleasant right up until the point that you die.
- Magic sounds like a flatulent cicada.
- Women mark their territory in ways that are only recognizable by other women.
- Always look a gift coconut in the mouth.
- Snakes can hear dog whistles.
- Seducing a married man is against the law.
- Weather vanes are a grim reminder of the history of chicken lynching that was common in 1970s China.
- There is nothing worse in the world than an out-of-tune clarinet.
- Single women age faster than married women.
- The Buddhism proficiency provides a +4 save against death magic.
- 3 mins - Why can't you just use bacon and filet mignon like normal people?
- 4 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 17 mins - RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A CAR!
- 24 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 28 mins - Note: the fat girl is sitting alone.
- 31 mins - I have not seen interior decor like that since "Fantastic Voyage."
- 38 mins - Are those toilets? If they are, what are they doing in the living room?
- 45 mins - Wow, now that is a bachelor pad. The carpet, just the carpet, probably gets more a** in a week than most married men do in a year.
- 58 mins - Welcome to your golden anniversary!
- 63 mins - There is no way that I would try to climb over that fence.
- 65 mins - Baby said, "Dance, black magic, dance!"
- 90 mins - "What you doing, fool, pointing a skull at me?"
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Lou Yin: "Right now, I happen to want you, and what's more, I'll have you!" |
Xu Nuo: "Mrs. Zhou!"
Lou Yin: "You forget, my name's Lou Yin."
Xu Nuo: "Now look, I know that you're rich. Your husband left you a lot of money, and I know money buys a lot of things, but regrettably it won't buy me."
||Liang: "Listen, just give me a chance. That girlfriend of mine's a multi-millionaire, and I can help you with her. I promise you, you'll make a fortune!" |
Sha Jianmai: "Don't think I'll need your help, but still, I will give you another chance. You've three days to get me the money, or you're gonna die."
||Sha Jianmai: "First, you must get some of his hair, with the roots." |
Lou Yin: "Well, second?"
Sha Jianmai: "A little blood. Doesn't have to be much. And thirdly, some of your milk."
Lou Yin: "You must be kidding. I've got no milk."
Sha Jianmai: "You just drink this now. Within three days, you'll have plenty of milk."
||Master Furong uses his white magic to get the worms out of Quming.
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|I like to think that Sha Jianmai is not so much killing Liang as helping him on his way.
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