Thursday, October 15, 2009

Demon of the Lute

I've been spending a lot of time watching Shaw Brothers kung fu movies lately. I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't previously seen many of them, and in trying to make up for lost time I've been scouring the internet watching every movie that's even remotely involved with the Venom Mob, which has kind of been my jumping off point. One of these movies, I'm very happy to say was "Demon of the Lute".

The only review I had read said that it's moderately enjoyable if you realize that it's a children's film. I guess maybe the reviewer was expecting a more straightforward kung fu flick, but I had seen a trailer, and it was clear to me that this was also an early eighties fantasy flick, which I'm a total sucker for, so I was definitely in.

My god. This movie made me feel like I was 12 years old, but maybe trippin' balls at the same time. I'm not going to even bother talking much about the story because honestly, it takes a total backseat to the fighting, score and super sweet visual effects. I am however going to post a lot of screencaps to try to express the crazy radness of this film. If you want to surprise yourself with all of the weird shit that goes on in this movie, you may not want to go any further.
Let's introduce our heroes!

                                                                          Feng Ling
She's got a sweet flying sword and she's played by one of Shaw's super-babes Kara Hui. She does all kinds of super fast hand jives and it spins around and beats the shit out of people. She's on a quest for a magical bow and arrow that can defeat the evil (and totally sweet looking) lute.

                                                             What the lute actually does:

                                                                          Yuan Fei
Played by Siu-hou Chin (House of Traps, Legend of the Fox, Mr. Vampire, Fist of Legend) who is repeatedly referred to as "ugly" in the film because of the heart-shaped birthmark on his face. Mm-hm.

                                                     Ding-dong and his father The Thief
The Thief is played by the awesome Phillip Kwok (Five Deadly Venoms, Crippled Avengers, a million other sweet films). Another reviewer referred to Ding-dong (seriously) as a girl, but I'm fairly certain he's a boy. He gets drunk during the second half of the movie.
They rob from the rich to give to the poor. Need 'em? That's cool, just use the bunny signal!

                                                                       Old Naughty
He's Feng Ling's brother and he's also ridiculously awesome. He's drunk, his horse is drunk and he fights using a giant pair of golden scissors. Played by Yuen Tak. Totally underrated. Love that guy.

                                                         Other supporting good guys:

                                                              Skinny elf and Fatty elf
Skinny elf is nightmare-worthy, but he does piss on Yuan Fei's face and gets rid of that unsightly birthmark!
                                                        Did he just piss on you? Heck yes!
                              Fatty elf is actually super adorable. They give our hero a sweet sword.
                                                            Don't worry, it, uh, grows.

                                                                     The Woodcutter
It is a little weird seeing some of these actors who usually play super serious parts in many Shaw Brothers films acting so ridiculously goofy, but I kind of like it. He's played by Lung Tien Hsiang.
                                    My brain is about to explode, so I'll move on to the bad guys!

                                                                   The Demon of the Lute

                                        His army of dudes with wiggly spiders on their heads

                              Awesome dude with growing hair and ridiculously oversized axe
                                                                Before getting angry:
                                                                   After getting angry:
                             Lee Hoi San looks weird with hair anyway, so this is just ridiculous.

                                                             Viking and Hermaphrodite

                                     Old Long Arms, Killer Hunchbacks and Demon disco ball

                               There's so much more awesome weirdness. Check out these sets:

There is so much other crazy shit going on in this movie like killer trees (not the Evil Dead rape-y kind), birdmen, fire breathers, etc. I advise you to watch this immediately.
                                                          If not for yourself, do it for him.
                                                                 Jason Pai Piao is Amazing.