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The Sexy Killer

postera.k.a. Du hou mi shi / The Drug Connection
company: Shaw Brothers
year: 1976
runtime: 88′
country: Hong Kong
director: Sun Chung
cast: Chen Ping, Yueh Hua,
Tung Lam, Si Wai, Wang Hsieh,
Tin Ching, Chan Shen
writer: Ki Kuang
cinematographer: Lam Nai-Choi
limited availability
(IVL disc is OOP)

Plot: A nurse whose sister is destroyed by the illegal drug industry poses as a prostitute and infiltrates the upper echelons of a Hong Kong gang in order to get her bloody revenge.

While my taste in film has shifted more towards the serious as of late (not that my reviews here do much to evidence this), there are times when nothing hits the spot like a good, trashy exploitationer.  Shaw Brothers’ The Sexy Killer is just such a film, careening through such saucy subjects as drugs, prostitution, and sado-masochistic sex on its way to a shotgun-fueled finale that plays like a candy colored scope re-envisioning of Bo Arne Vibenius’ Thriller – A Cruel Picture.

The story concerns Wanfei, a nurse in Hong Kong who gets a nasty wake up call when her younger sister is tempted into the sordid world of heroine abuse and sex trafficking.  Wanfei involves herself with a shady celebrity, whose strong public posturing against the exploding drug industry makes her blind to the fact that he’s nothing but a paid cover for the cartels, while simultaneously seeking her own revenge against the gangsters who defiled her sister.  Her policeman friend Weipin is fighting his own losing battle against corruption in the department, realizing that a presumed friend is on the cartel’s payroll only after his reputation for drug busting almost gets him killed.

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It doesn’t take long for Wanfei to find out that drastic action is required if she’s to move up in the ranks of the mob, and she begins moonlighting as a prostitute for the higher ups.  She’s found out when an attempt on the life of the Boss of the operation (a sexual sadist with a dungeon in the back of his bedroom) goes wrong, and dragged off to the edge of the city for disposal.  But it’ll take more than a few moronic henchmen to stop this lady scorned and it isn’t long before she’s driving right through the front door of the Boss’ house, blasting holes the size of dinner plates into every gangster she can find.

The Sexy Killer is a prototypical Shaw Brothers exploitation vehicle, of which they produced a slew throughout the ’60s and ’70s along with their better known martial arts product.  One can expect to see lots of bare human flesh by the end of things, much of it belonging to lead Chen Ping.  The company obviously understood the dual functionality of the heroine, and the intended audience should have no trouble getting behind Ping’s lust for vengeance while oodling over her extensive physical charms.  The highlight of the picture is inarguably her delivery of deliciously violent final justice, and I can think of few actresses capable of handling a shotgun so deftly while donning a pink polka-dotted dress.

Keeping things interesting in the dry spells between senseless acts of depravity are a stable of unusual characters made all the more unusual by the audaciousness of the performances behind them.  Wang Hsieh (the Professor in The Super Inframan) steals the show as the depraved Boss, gleefully twirling his cane betwixt the legs of his favorite whore and whipping her while who-knows-what spools through a collection of film projectors in his bedroom.  Just as memorable is Tin Ching as the happy-go-lucky sex trafficker Ma-Yuan, who gets his just deserves when Wanfei convinces the Boss of his usurptuous intentions.

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Direction by Sun Chung is as adept as necessary for the material in question (scripted by Ki Kuang, Human Lanterns), and he keeps the material from becoming draggy even in the slower spots.  Cinematography by Lam Nai-Choi (director, The Story of Ricky) is questionable, and his overuse of wide angle lenses often gives the impression that we’re watching a film shot through a goldfish bowl – not that it does a thing to dampen The Sexy Killer‘s potential to entertain.

There’s only one DVD release of The Sexy Killer I’m currently aware of, from IVL’s extensive line of Region 3 Shaw Brothers titles.  The disc presents the film in a decent, if slightly soft, anamorphic widescreen transfer in the original 2.35:1 Shaw Scope ratio.  Audio is Mandarin, augmented with optional English and Chinese subtitles.  Extras are typical – stills, production notes, and a collection of trailers for other IVL releases.  The disc is currently listed as being temporarily out of print by the company, though copies are still easy enough to come by on eBay.

I enjoyed the hell out of this one, though my mindset at the time undoubtedly had a lot to do with it.  This is trash, pure and simple, but of the brightly colored and irresistible variety only the Shaw Brothers can provide.  Keep your expectations in check and know what you’re in for – the screenshots here should be enough to convince of whether or not The Sexy Killer is for you.  As for me, this one comes recommended.

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