Directed by Titus Ho, starring Kent Tong, Poon Lai-Yin and Ga Lun.
A film crew sneaks into an off-limits burial place in Borneo, releasing a Red Dwarf ghost, triggering a murderous curse that will only be halted when a grey-haired sorcerer and a Buddhist Lama finally intervene.
This unashamedly exploitative release from Nikko International Productions & Films presents us with the typical Hong Kong horror movie staples of arcane rituals and chanting monks, mixing them into a salacious brew heavily indebted to western movies.
Mondo footage of the slaughter of real pigs, a meddling documentary crew and the depiction of indigenous tribespeople as cruel savages hint at the influence of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, while a set piece involving main protagonist Stella being assaulted by a possessed bamboo bed that forces her legs wide open above an oil lamp is undoubtedly inspired by THE EVIL DEAD.
RED SPELL SPELLS RED is certainly full of incident. Memorable moments include the very gross spectacle of a Borneo tribesman eating the innards of a still-alive chicken, Stella’s possessed period blood provoking a supernatural incident, death-by-jungle-vines, people succumbing to scorpion infestations, and a finale in which the grey-haired holy man allows himself to be covered in scorpions and immolated.
Let’s just spare a moment to consider put-upon documentarian Stella (Lai-Yin), who finds herself in multiple situations that inevitably result in her clothes getting wet. She is also plagued with a Scorpion Spell that causes her to exude these black arthropods from a wound near a red birthmark, making her deadly to anyone who gets too close to her. Even when the helpful sorcerer is trying to cure her, this calls for the poor woman to be bound to a rotating water wheel (cue more wet clothing shots), then sprinkled with powder made from the ground-up skull of the sorcerer’s dead daughter, before having a chunk of possessed flesh ripped from her shoulder. This is definitely a location shoot Stella will want to forget!
All in all, RED SPELL SPELLS RED is a gonzo, shameless piece of brazen Hong Kong exploitation filmmaking that lovers of vulgar, mad & muddled mondo horror movies will love.
Directed and written by Jeffrey Lau, starring Sandra Ng, Billy Lau, Man Cheung, Fung Woo, Ann Bridgewater, Suki Kwan, Fui-On Shing, Hsiao-Mei Chang and Cheung-Yan Yuen.
Female cops go undercover to crack a forgery case and, while they wait to meet up with the counterfeiter bad guy Maddy (Shing), they stay at an almost deserted apartment block that is haunted by ghosts.
Aka THUNDER COPS, this sequel is crammed with very broad, farcical humour, much of it centred around a buffoonish, newlywed policeman (Lau) believing that his cop wife (Ng) is having a fling with her boss, Inspector Shin (Woo).
Meanwhile, in the ghost-infested building, a monk (Yuen) captures the various spirits and stores them in drawstring bags covered in Buddhist swastika symbols. These bags are then placed behind a sealed ‘Door of Hell’, but one of the bags is accidentally dropped, enabling the blue-lit female ghost (Chang) to escape, kill the landlady and begin to terrorise the place. Oh, this ghost can definitely be nasty, but she also likes to have her toes sucked!
The overly slapstick film gives us such silliness as Inspector Shin posing as a cross-dressing pimp, a parody of the slo-mo Chow Yun-Fat corridor moment from A BETTER TOMORROW and a scene where two of the guys take part in a literal pissing contest. The flick properly kicks into gear, however, once the monk returns and everyone teams-up to tackle the nasty girl ghost, who eventually gets beheaded.
But now matters really become strange, as the headless body chases after everyone, as does the ghost’s floating severed head!
To tackle this flying fiend, the heroes use remote control toy helicopters, equipped with mini-rockets, to chase the gliding head! Yes, you heard that right: we now get a fun action sequence as the yellow helicopters pursue the flying head through corridors and rooms, firing missiles at it!
The female ghost’s floating cranium is finally cornered by the helicopters as it rests on a table… so the head decides to self-destruct: it explodes!
The blood from the head splatters onto the characters, which attracts even more ghosts, who storm into the building, resembling shambling, long-haired zombies.
After a farcical sequence involving the monk suggesting that one of the men should be castrated to save the day, the situation is finally solved with the invocation of Buddhist mythological characters, who magically deal with the spirits.
Tom Stewart (Richard Carlson), a jazz pianist living in an island community, is haunted by the ghost of his ex girlfriend Vi Mason (Juli Reding), who he allowed to fall to her death from a lighthouse.
I like this cheesy B&W ghost flick quite a bit!
TORMENTED, directed by Bert I Gordon (who swaps his usual giant creatures for a ghostly gal this time), features a neat little story that keeps you interested as you watch Carlson becoming ever more paranoid, repeatedly seeing the ghostly Reding… who very often appears just as a head, a hand or footprints. At one point Carlson thinks he finds Reding’s drowned corpse but it becomes just a pile of seaweed: is he losing his mind?
There’s an enjoyable soundtrack that is jazzy with creepy moments, director Gordon’s daughter Susan is pretty good as young sis Sandy, the special effects are very simple yet quirkily effective in their own way and, well, TORMENTED has a novel vibe all its own.
Juli Reding, as the vengeful spirit Vi, looks like she had a fun time in her role, playfully harassing Richard Carlson’s character Tom throughout the film…
Also known as ZODIAC POWER 3: KICKBOXER FROM HELL, this is a cut-and-paste IFD movie that intercuts new footage featuring western martial arts actor Mark Houghton with a 1976 Hong Kong/Korean supernatural movie called THE OBSESSED, starring Nora (WAY OF THE DRAGON) Miao.
The film begins with a woman called Sophia being chased by sackcloth-wearing bad guys. She stumbles upon a kickboxer called Sean (Houghton), who saves her. Back at Sean’s home there is a funny conversation on the couch as Sophia explains things to Sean: “It’s a long story – I’m a nun, actually – but my partner and I are working undercover against Lucifer.” Excellent stuff! This explanation works as a tenuous link to the existing footage from THE OBSESSED: the newlywed heroine in this 1976 production, played by Nora Miao, is meant to be Sophia’s partner, who has now given up being a nun and has married a stocky guy called Robert.
In this part of the plot we see creepy things start to happen, such as a broken clock starting to work again in the family home and a scene where Robert and his wife are given their wedding photos… and each shot features the ghostly face of his dead first wife Lisa!
Back with the newly-shot footage, we cut to the dark HQ of the Lucifer-worshippers, who like to wear face paint and sackcloth. After some amusing trash-talk bickering (the dialogue in the new scenes is priceless), the two dudes who failed to catch Sophia are forced to fight to the death in a martial arts ring. One of the combatants dies when his groin is punched!
Jumping over to the haunted home yarn, we see a young maid encounter a ‘guest’ who is actually the ghost of Lisa. Lisa is always lit by green or blue lighting. At one point the slightly scabby-faced Lisa cackles as she eats some watermelon.
Back with the Sean plotline, the sackcloth satanists capture Sophia as music stolen from HALLOWEEN plays on the soundtrack. The main satanist henchman, who prefers to wear shades and a red bandana rather than sackcloth, kills Sean’s brother! Before we can see how Sean reacts to this, we cut back to the ghost storyline. We see blue-lit ghostly Lisa brush her hair in a mirror and wonder whether the bent-over old housekeeper character is a nice or bad person.
The new wife is smothered by Lisa’s floating wedding gown… or is the wife imagining things? (Of course she isn’t!) The wife is then attacked in the garden at nighttime by Lisa, but hubby Robert still decides to go on a pre-planned business trip. What a caring guy!
Ah, here’s the midpoint twist: Robert is a bit of a deceitful womaniser and he’s gone to a hotel to meet his lover. Ghostly Lisa shows up and throws Robert into the sea, but Robert just brushes off this supernatural encounter like it was nothing and meets-up with his mistress in his hotel room. What a hound! As Robert’s lover takes a bath… a floating blue-lit hand appears, then Lisa strangles the mistress and throws her from a balcony!
After we see the Lucifer worshippers perform a ceremony, burning a photograph of the wife, we see her become compelled to attack her nephew.
Robert returns home soon after and is shown photos of his house taken by some real estate guys. Each shot shows Lisa’s ghostly image, but Robert just blames the realtors for taking bad photographs!
Later, blue-lit Lisa watches Robert kiss his new wife, then there’s a flashback of Lisa’s funeral from a few years ago. In another scene there is some kind of seance/ceremony that takes place in the cemetery and the bent-over housekeeper starts speaking with Lisa’s voice, claiming that Lisa was murdered. Yikes!
Robert goes fishing and thinks back to when he was married to Lisa, who we see accusing him of marrying her just for her money. The flashback ends with Robert strangling Lisa.
Back with the Sean plot thread, he fights a sackcloth dude (who I’m sure I saw being killed at the start of the film). Wearing a red vest, Sean kicks ass and beats the satanist. He then fights another Lucifer-lover: “I don’t know what pain is, but you do!”
Meanwhile, the ghost story reaches the point where we see Lisa’s grave being dug up and there’s no body! After the old housekeeper is knifed to death by Robert, we see him go to the garden and dig up Lisa’s corpse. But why? Nobody knows it’s buried here, so why dig it back up? Anyway, Robert is soon taunted by Lisa’s ghost, which now has fangs. Robert is attacked by her and he is eventually captured by the authorities.
But what I want to know is this: why did Lisa’s ghost initially taunt and attack the innocent new wife and Robert’s mistress, rather than immediately target the murderous husband? I guess it will remain a mystery.
Now the Sean-vs-satanists section of the film reaches its climax (“You’ll pay for my brother!”) as the hero confronts the Lucifer-worshipping bad guys at their HQ, where Sophia the young undercover nun is being held prisoner.
Sean and the main henchman fight each other with sledgehammers (as the theme from RE-ANIMATOR plays). The fight ends when Sean breaks the guy’s neck. Sean now begins to smash a series of skulls (that each have a candle) because he realises this is the way to remove the satanists’ power.
The cult leader, who sports KIϟϟ-style face paint, brings the broken-necked main henchman back to life, but Sean dodges a swinging sledgehammer blow and the final sacred skull gets smashed, causing the cult leader to die.
And then… we get an abrupt IFD-style finish: the end!
The scenes from THE OBSESSED are well enough done, with the story possessing a little bit of mystery, but not much effort is made by IFD to make this plot line seem at all relevant to the satanists story.
The new footage with Houghton (who appeared in such Hong Kong actioners as TIGER ON THE BEAT 2) is fun to watch, however, and I enjoyed listening to the sackcloth-wearing bad guys pettily swear amongst themselves. Some of the fighting was okay, too.
Devoted to every kind of movie and TV monster, from King Kong to Godzilla, from the Blob to Alien.