Silver Hermit From Shaolin Temple (1980)

A monster hand reaches up to grab a buddhist monk...
A monster hand reaches up to grab a buddhist monk…

Directed by Roc Tien, starring Roc Tien (who also wrote the script), Meng Fei, Chun Sing and Tien Ho.

Also known as THE SILVER SPEAR, this Taiwanese wuxia production begins like a murder mystery, with several warriors dying of poisoning in a mountain valley. The hero, Silver Hermit, is accused of the killings and becomes embroiled in a story that encompasses concealed identities, buddhist monks, hidden allegiances, secret siblings, the search for a tunnel to the much-desired Green Jade Villa, the destruction of an entire town, and the return of a vampiric villain called Immortal…

VHS sleeve
VHS sleeve
A coupla monks
A coupla monks

This movie, from IFD Films & Arts LTD, starts really well, with a nicely-paced first act located in misty, snowy valley sets that mix together artificiality and atmospherics effectively. However, after the villain Silver Spear reveals that he poisoned the victims as part of his plan to ensure he inherits Green Jade Villa, the movie becomes more and more confusing, thanks to choppy editing, many over-dark sequences and the introduction of a multitude of characters, many of whom are concealing their real identities.

 Green Jade Villa
Green Jade Villa

SILVER HERMIT FROM SHAOLIN TEMPLE is based on a novel by Gu Long, so perhaps the filmmakers tried to cram too much of the book’s plot into the movie. Whatever the reason is for the semi-incoherence, by the time the blood-sucking bad guy Immortal is introduced into the tale you do begin to wonder whether the story is actually being made up as it goes along. On the plus side, the involvement of this villain, who sports a wild, Albert Einstein-esque haircut (and is referred to as ‘a beast from Persia’), does mean you get the opportunity to enjoy watching a tall, clawed, pale-faced, fang-mouthed monster-man rampage about the place during the hectic finale!

Poster
Poster
Video sleeve
Video sleeve

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