The Wizard of Gore / The Gore Gore Girls

released May 1st, 2012
by
Something Weird / Image Entertainment
video: 1080p / 1.78:1
audio: DTS-HD MA 2.0 English
subtitles: none
disc: dual layer BD50 / Region A
The Wizard of Gore / The Gore Gore Girls Blood-Drenched Double Feature Blu-ray is readily available through Amazon.com.

Something Weird and Image Entertainment simultaneously thrilled and disappointed long-time fans of exploitation icon Herschell Gordon Lewis with their The Blood Trilogy Blu-ray from last year. On the one hand the films had never looked better, but issues with improper matting (Color Me Blood Red and Two Thousand Maniacs were essentially vertically panned-and-scanned into an aspect ratio of 1.78:1) and compression (everything on the release, and there was a lot, was crammed onto a single BD50) undermined many of its positives. Even so, I was enthusiastic enough about that effort that I pre-ordered the labels’ second Lewis Blu-ray collection as soon as it was announced.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the thing, I should say that, as with The Blood Trilogy, I’m pleased enough with The Wizard of Gore / The Gore Gore Girls Blu-ray double feature to offer it a grudging recommendation – it certainly helps that it only ran me $11. Still, fans expecting any sort of improvement over the former release’s presentation should keep those expectations in check, as The Wizard of Gore / The Gore Gore Girls has plenty of troubles of its own.

First, bear with me while I offer a disgruntled note on dual layering. As you’ll see from the information I’ve listed at the head of this article, The Wizard of Gore / The Gore Gore Girls double feature is indeed housed on a dual layer BD50 – unfortunately that doesn’t tell the whole story. The release actually totals just 26.7 GB, meaning it occupies a hair more than half the total capacity offered by a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray disc. For all practical purposes this is a dual layer disc in name only – the two features take up just 12.8 and 12.0 GB respectively, with measly average bitrates to match. In other words, Something Weird / Image have foot the bill for a dual layer Blu-ray disc and then not used the extra space they paid for. It’s akin to a publisher printing a 200 page book with 200 additional blank pages at the end, and really begs the question – Why bother?

With regards to the films, both The Wizard of Gore and The Gore Gore Girls are transferred from positive 35mm elements (the latter sporting the alternate title Blood Orgy). Damage is prevalent throughout both features, from minor spots and speckling to cue marks, persistent vertical scratching, and even the odd splice. For cheap drive-in fair like this, the elements for which no one thought to preserve until well after the fact, this kind of damage is to be expected, and it does nothing to detract from the quality (or lack thereof) of the films themselves. Otherwise the source prints could best be described as inconsistent, a fact due both to production limitations and age. Though color can vary considerably from shot to shot, contrast is generally strong – with regards to The Gore Gore Girls the contrast can actually be overbearing, but even this overly dark image remains a revelation in comparison to the blown-out SD transfers of before.

Speaking more specifically, The Wizard of Gore is easily the stronger presentation of the two. Presented in 1080p courtesy of a flat-matted 1.78:1 transfer (as opposed to the selectively matted Color Me Blood Red and Two Thousand Maniacs), Wizard looks perfectly acceptable, if far from earth-shattering, in its high definition debut. Despite Lewis’ own dubious understanding of the topic and the frequency of awkward compositions, the framing here looks comfortable for the most part. Some manner of grain suppression appears to have bee applied, though not to the point that all texture has been obliterated, and the image is free from the waxy quality that plagues more substantially DNR’d transfers. Color and contrast both improve appreciably over past SD editions (despite some variation in both the frequent reds are well saturated and appropriately bloody), but the big story here may be the detail. Regardless of the limitations of the materials (and a frequent lack of focus in the original photography) detail can really impress in places, particularly during the close-ups that mark Montag the Magnificent’s television act.

Unfortunately the space constraints levied upon The Wizard of Gore do take their toll, though thankfully not to the extent that they could and perhaps should have. The film is granted a (very) modest Mpeg-4 AVC encode at an average video bitrate of 14.7 Mbps, and though the image is passable overall minor artifacts (blocking in the grain and a bit of banding) can be found tinkering about in the background throughout. Still, I’ve seen much worse done with much more, and none of the encode limitations here were so obvious as to distract me during playback. Audio sounds precisely as one would imagine (flat, poorly mixed, and overall bad), though Something Weird / Image can’t be faulted for that. The Wizard of Gore gets a technically robust DTS-HD MA 2.0 treatment that precisely preserves every inch of its awfulness, and aside from the lack of subtitles (some fun could have been had with these given Montag’s bizarrely stilted line delivery – “Why, it’s nothing more than an i-LOOOOO-sion!”) I’ve no complaints on this front.

The presentation for The Gore Gore Girls is of substantially weaker stuff all around, even though the source element appears to have been of comparable quality to that for The Wizard of Gore. Presented in 1080p at a flat-matted ratio of 1.78:1, framing may be a bit more of a sticking point here than with the co-feature. The Gore Gore Girls features especially shoddy blocking and framing throughout, and while Lewis appears to have been loosely composing for widescreen matting (a quick look at an old open SD master reveals as much) the photography doesn’t look especially comfortable that way. Characters wander in and out of their proper spots, the camera tilts, and in more careless moments whole heads can be lopped off of Lewis’ subjects (and not in the way fans like). Regardless of how this may have been projected theatrically I’d argue that open matte 4:3 would have been the way to go with this video edition.

Framing is not the only problematic aspect of the presentation, however, as The Gore Gore Girls suffers from something until now absent from Something Weird’s Blu-ray efforts – excessive digital manipulation. Those looking for grain will find none here, though the insubstantial pretense of it can be glimpsed from time to time, and the image is so smooth in places as to appear more illustrated than photographed (see the shot above). Frequent edging indicates some attempts at artificial sharpening, but detail goes the way of the grain – fine details are practically nonexistent, and there’s nothing in the way of texture to be seen. Motion fairs poorly as well, and is riddled with blocky patterning.

With regards to the encode The Gore Gore Girls is technically stronger, Mpeg-4 AVC at an average video bitrate of 15.7 Mbps, but the limitations of the transfer prevent it from really benefiting. Aside from some blotchiness here and there artifacts are negligible, though with such a dearth of detail and texture it couldn’t have been that difficult for the encoder to keep track – the only thing that keeps this looking at all like film is the frequent unrestored damage. Still, the usual reviewer platitude applies. This looks better than the old DVD by quite a bit, but make of that what you will. The audio is again properly presented in lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0, and while The Gore Gore Girls arguably sounds worse than The Wizard of Gore I doubt it should sound any better. As with The Wizard of Gore there are no subtitles.

The release offers a healthy spate of supplements, even if there’s nothing new in the mix. Both The Wizard of Gore and The Gore Gore Girls are accompanied by commentaries with producer / director Herschell Gordon Lewis, and a comprehensive video gallery of H.G. Lewis exploitation art is included as well. The bet supplement of the bunch may be the disc’s stack of trailers – aside from a preview for the recent documentary Godfather of Gore, you get trailers for Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red, The Alley Tramp, Goldilocks and the Three Bares, The Gruesome Twosome, She-Devils on Wheels, Something Weird, and The Wizard of Gore.

My temptation to recommend Herschell Gordon Lewis’ films grows exponentially with their awfulness, and both The Wizard of Gore and The Gore Gore Girls are downright terrible stuff – I love it! I just wish I could say the same for this Blu-ray from Something Weird / Image Entertainment. There are too many issues with the feature presentations for me to recommend it too wholeheartedly, though the price is right – this was worth the $11 I paid for it, if not much more. This is a decent if utterly unremarkable way to see these two Lewis shockers, and those looking for nothing more will likely be satisfied.

The Wizard of Gore

The Gore Gore Girls

Screenshots were captured as full resolution .png in Totem Movie Player, then compressed to .jpg at a quality setting of 97% using the ImageMagick command line tool.

13-nin Renzoku Boukouma

a.k.a. 13-Victim Serial Attacker / Serial Rapist
Year:
1978   Company: Shin-Toho Film Company   Runtime: 60′
Director: Koji Wakamatsu   Writers: Koji Wakamatsu    Cinematography: Hideo Ito
Music: Kaoru Abe   Cast: Kumiko Araki, Mayuko Hino, Kayoko Sugi, Maya Takagi, Ami Takatori, Tensan Umatsu

Ferociously independent writer and director Koji Wakamatsu (United Red Army, Secrets Behind the Wall) has never been one to trifle over the social acceptability of his work, and is well known for his combination of sociopolitical commentary and extreme sex and violence.  Even with that in mind this is a tough one.  Wakamatsu’s 1978 obscurity 13-Victim Serial Attacker concerns a troubled young man who bikes around Tokyo on a seemingly meaningless quest to rape and murder any young woman he finds.  It’s a bleak, discouraging film that offers neither justification nor excuses for its content, and though broadly categorized as “pink” erotica and even horror, trying to classify it as entertainment of any sort is missing the point.

Thematically 13-Victim Serial Attacker can be seen as a direct offshoot of Wakamatsu’s earlier Secrets Behind the Wall, which focused partly on the rise of a homicidal sexual deviant in an anonymous Japanese apartment complex.  Indeed, an early montage of endless indistinguishable apartment buildings echos the past film nicely.  13-Victim Serial Attacker‘s simple and repetitive narrative follows a similarly misguided youth, but perhaps misguided isn’t the word.  Unguided may be more apt.  Shuffling aimlessly about the banal artifices of postwar prosperity, the attitude of the unnamed offender speaks as much of boredom and time-fed anxiety as it does of psychopathy.

The opening moments of the film have our unnamed and overweight protagonist whittling together a custom firearm in a rundown metal works before stuffing it into his omnipresent overalls and speeding off on his bicycle.  He soon finds himself in an apartment complex, where he picks a tenant at random and infiltrates her home by pretending to be a policeman.  Once inside he viciously assaults the inhabitant, a young stay-at-home wife, raping her until he reaches a hollow satisfaction and then unloading his firearm into her uterus.  The brief opening credits fade in over a static shot of her sad remains, sprawled bloody and lifeless and treated with all the respect one might grant a heap of dirty laundry.  When we meet up with the young man again he is wandering around Tokyo Bay, killing time before an opportunity to strike once again arises.

The rest of 13-Victim Serial Attacker follows in a similar vein, as our anonymous assailant happens upon victim after victim, many of whom seem at least as adrift as himself.  A pair of hot-headed lovers near a commuter line, a young artist by the sea, and a host of faceless others are needlessly attacked and murdered in spaces as small as automobiles or public restrooms and as expansive as undeveloped industrial land.  Wakamatsu shows grim imagination in some of the assaults, as when a prostitute and her gent are tied back-to-back by their limbs before the attacker begins his deadly business.  The director also incites reaction from his audience through his brutal and honest depictions of rape, with several of the victims appearing to enjoy themselves as they seek a respite from the violence in the fleeting comfort of sexual arousal.

The most substantial development of the film again echos an earlier Wakamatsu production, as the nameless creature at the story’s center captures a policewoman and holds her hostage in an abandoned warehouse, assaulting her again and again.  The narrative thread reminds strongly of the director’s first independent production, The Embryo Hunts in Secret, in which a well to do businessman takes a female associate hostage and forces her into a variety of degrading subservient behaviors.  That film, which speaks of the oppressive nature of power and the necessity of rebellion, offers the audience a satisfyingly gruesome out.  Here there is nothing of the kind.  After the policewoman misbehaves, nearly drawing the police into her kidnapper’s hideaway, he simply draws his gun and shoots her.  She ends her appearance like so many others, as another statistic to be rattled off on the radio news.

Throughout 13-Victim Serial Attacker the audience is given very little in the way of insight into the character’s reasoning, and the purpose of his actions remains elusive.  When his final victim, a young blind woman, asks him if he enjoys killing he responds as honestly as he likely can – “I don’t know.”  When she summarily asks if why he kills he has no answer for her at all.  Oddly, the only understanding the audience is really allowed to develop for the eponymous serial attacker comes by way of the film’s score, a collection of sparse avante-garde improvisations by renowned alto saxophonist Kaoru Abe, who would die later the same year of a drug overdose.  The harshness of Abe’s performances evoke sensations of loneliness and interminable angst, while a brief encounter between the attacker and Abe, in cameo, draws a rare emotional reaction, a single tearful eye, from the former.

13-Victim Serial Attacker ends abruptly, and with violence every bit as sudden and needless as the rest.  With the police unable to stop him the army (!?) is called into action, and an unstoppable social monster meets the irresistible force of military intervention.  As the sun literally sets on our protagonist’s violent spree, a solitary jeep lies in ambush.  Their meeting is torrid and bloody, and as the unknown man dies his voice fades into the inhuman shriek of Abe’s saxophone.  Wakamatsu’s parting shots recall the opening scene, with the man’s bullet-riddled body floating in Tokyo Bay, the army having left it behind as though it were nothing more than an innocuous bit of garbage.  Its a final act of inhumanity in a film overflowing with them, and Wakamatsu leaves the audience to contemplate its consequence.

As a brutal example of Wakamatsu’s rebellious cinematic spirit 13-Victim Serial Attacker is striking, with exceptional photography from ace cinematographer Hideo Ito (In the Realm of the Senses, here working in cost-effective 16mm) and haunting musical contributions from the late Kaoru Abe.  Its capacity to offend also ranks higher than just about anything else I’ve had the pleasure to cover here, though with Wakamatsu one should always expect a little confrontation.  Those with a hankering for a bit of intellectual pursuit will find the most satisfaction here, while those looking for a good night out would do best to avoid Wakamatsu all together.

And now, a brief note on the title used here.  13-Victim Serial Attacker is my own rough translation from the original Japanese title.  The more common translation of Serial Rapist just isn’t accurate, eliminating the numerical beginning and lending the word boukouma (literally something like “habitual act of violence”) a more precise meaning than it seems to have.  The word nin that follows the number 13 literally means “man” or “person”, and has been translated here as “victim” since these are the people that the word is, in this case, referring to.  Keep in mind that I am in no way trained in the Japanese language, but in the absence of a suitable official English title for this rarely seen film I have done my best.  Whine if you must.

Contagion

Year: 1987    Runtime: 91′  Director: Karl Zwicky
Writer: Ken Methold  Cinematography: John Stokes   Music: Frank Strangio
Cast: John Doyle, Nicola Bartlett, Ray Barrett, Nathalie Gaffney, Pamela Hawkesford

Real estate agent Mark (John Doyle) is driving through the Australian bush when he sees a woman being kidnapped by your typical rape-hungry backwoods person. The following rather timid rescue attempt doesn’t work out too well for Mark, for the backwoods guy isn’t alone. A few minutes later, Mark finds himself stretched over his own car’s hood and raped by a guy who dresses up in a mouse mask for the occasion.

Afterwards (we don’t get to see the rape), the backwoodsies (that’s the technical term, I think) take Mark and the girl to their camp. In a surprising twist of fate, Mark manages to escape after a time and even stumbles into killing one of his tormentors. Next thing he knows, Mark finds himself – still in the bush – breaking down in front of an aggressively blasé woman named Cleo (Nathalie Gaffney). Unimpressed by the backwoods rapist threat, Cleo takes Mark to a mansion where she lives with another girl called Helen (Pamela Hawkesford) and an older guy with an upperclass accent and Hugh Hefner’s dress sense (that is, none) called Rupert (Ray Barrett).

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Women in Cages Collection (The Big Doll House / The Big Bird Cage / Women in Cages)

Disc company: Shout! Factory   Video: 480p / 1.78:1    Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Subtitles: None   Disc: 2x DVD9   Release Date: 06/28/2011   Reviewed from a screener provided by Shout! Factory LLC (Thanks Mitzye!)  DVD available now at Amazon.comBlu-ray available for pre-order.

Shout! Factory are at it again, with the latest in their continuing line of Roger Corman’s Cult Classics turning up the heat just in time for summer to hit its stride.  The Women in Cages Collection brings together a course trio of Philippines-produced ‘women in prison’ exploitationers from the early years of Corman’s New World Pictures, all of which center around blaxploitation megastar Pam Grier (Foxy Brown) and her considerable assets, professional and otherwise.  The Women in Cages collection offers just about everything fans of Corman productions could ever ask for – plenty of exposed flesh and wanton depravity balanced by a hefty dose of blistering woman-scorned revenge.

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Beyond the Darkness

a.k.a.: Buio Omega / Blue Holocaust / Buried Alive / In quella casa Buio Omega
Year: 1979   Company: D. R. Communications   Runtime: 94′
Director: Joe D’Amato   Writers: Ottavio Fabbri, Giacomo Guerrini   Cinematography: Joe D’Amato
Music: Goblin   Cast: Kieran Canter, Cinzia Monreale, Franca Stoppi, Sam Modesto, Anna Cardini,
Lucia D’Elia, Mario Pezzin, Walter Tribus, Klaus Rainer, Edmondo Vallini, Simonetta Allodi
Disc company: Media Blasters / Shriek Show   Video: 1080p 1.78:1    Audio: DTS-HD MA 2.0 English
Subtitles: None   Disc: BD50 (Region A)   Release Date: 04/19/2011   Product link: Amazon.com

Media Blasters first announced that it intended to release Joe D’Amato’s magnum opus on Blu-ray more than a year ago, in early spring of 2010.  The news was met with an uneasy mix of joy and trepidation, the former of which slowly whittled away as release date after release date came and went with nary a sign of the disc itself.  The company has blamed the delays on the time it took to get their hands on quality materials for the film, a process that took far longer than anticipated, but whatever the case may be the damage was already done.  Many fans were expecting a mess of epic proportions should the release ever materialize at all.

But materialize it did earlier this month, when retailers and third party sellers were suddenly found to have the title in stock.  Initial press has been far from positive, bemoaning lost footage and audio deficiencies with an unexpected venom, assuring, with anger to spare, that the mess so many expected had at long last arrived.  I have to admit that I completely lost interest in this release as the delays started piling up, but the vitriol with which Beyond the Darkness‘ high definition debut has been received has piqued my curiosity once more.  And so, I put in an order for the title myself, wondering all the while what digital horrors might await me.

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Sledgehammer

Year: 1983   Company: I & I Productions   Runtime: 84′
Director: David A. Prior   Writers: David A. Prior   Videography: Salim Kimaz
Music: Philip G. Slate   Cast: Ted Prior, Linda McGill, John Eastman, Janine Scheer, Tim Aguilar, Sandy Brooke
Disc company: Intervision Pictures Corp.   Video: 480i / 4:3    Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Subtitles: None   Disc: DVD9   Release Date: 05/10/2011   Reviewed from a screener provided by Intervision Pictures Corp.  Available for preorder at Amazon.com.

Well that was unexpected.  Intervision didn’t do much to impress this reviewer with their initial DVD releases, a double helping of Jess Franco snoozers whose covers offered more in the way of genuine entertainment value than the films themselves, but this is more like it.  Sledgehammer isn’t so much an artifact from another time as from another universe – an ugly and unintelligible mess of cheap thrills and cheaper drama from the early days of the straight to video shot-on-tape explosion.  I dig it.

Writer / director David A. Prior, who would go on to direct a good deal more (like 1987’s inimitable Aerobicide), modeled Sledgehammer after the popular and profitable Friday the 13th franchise, and it shows.  The meager story concerns a group of purported young people who head out for a weekend of drunken fun in a rural location with an ominous history and are subsequently dispatched by a supernatural masked maniac armed with the eponymous sledgehammer.  In its basics Sledgehammer is strictly a by-the-books slasher, but its oddball trappings keep it from being so easily quantifiable as that.

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Battle Royale

Year: 2000   Company: Toei Company, Ltd.   Runtime: 114′ / 122′
Director: Kinji Fukasaku   Writer: Kenta Fukasaku (from the novel by Koushun Takami)
Cinematography: Katsumi Yanagijima   Music: Masamichi Amano  Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda,
Taro Yamamoto, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sosuke Takaoka, Takashi Tsukamoto, Yukihiro Kotani, Eri Ishikawa,
Sayaka Kamiya, Aki Inoue,  Takayo Mimura, Yutaka Shimada, Masanobo Ando, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano
Disc company: Arrow Video   Video: 1080p 1.78:1    Audio: DTS-HD Master 5.1 Japanese,
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Japanese   Subtitles: English   Disc: BD50 (All Region x2) DVD5 (Region 0 PAL, x1)
Release Date: 12/13/2010   The Limited Edition 3-disc package, numbering only 10,000, has already sold out at most
retail locations, but can still be purchased (for now) through Arrow Video.  The Special Edition 3-disc Blu-ray
edition, in Arrow’s standard packaging (multiple covers, cardboard slipcase) is up for pre-order at Amazon.co.uk

Be sure to visit the Cult-Labs forums to have your say on this and future Arrow Video releases

Today's lesson is...Under the pretense of a leaving on a school trip, a class of forty-two 9th grade students is drafted into the Battle Royale program – the Japanese government’s response to an exploding youth crime rate in a time of recession and social unrest.  The children are forced to fight for their lives against their own desperate classmates, each of which has been given a survival kit complete with its own unique weapon (such varied items as axes, swords, machine guns and pot lids).  If a sole survivor has not emerged within three days then the battle is forfeit, and everyone dies.

At the center of the action are Shuya Nanahara (Fujiwara) and his crush, Noriko (Maeda), who form a shaky alliance with 18-year-old transfer student Kawada (Yamamoto) in a desperate bid for survival.  The winner of an earlier Battle Royale himself, Kawada claims to know a secret means of escaping the game alive – a secret he promises to share with Noriko and Nanahara should they be the last children standing…

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The Sexy Killer (1976)

If these crudely animated titles from Shaw Brothers don’t have you craving an old-school exploitation fix, nothing will. Sun Chung (Human Lanterns) directs this sleazy story of a nurse (Chen Ping, The Big Bad Sis) who takes violent shot-gun revenge against the drug lord (Wang Hsieh, The Super Inframan) responsible for the self-destruction of her sister.

You can read our review of the film here.

Run and Kill

company: Come On Film
year: 1993
runtime: 88′
director: Billy Tang
cast: Kent Cheng, Simon Yam,
Esther Kwan, Lily Lee,
Danny Lee
writer: Bryan Chang
cinematography: Tony Miu King-Fai
music: Jonathon Wong Bong
Order this film from Amazon.com

“Fatty” Cheung (Kent Cheng) is not the luckiest of men. He might have a solidly running business selling gas, a doting mother, a loving little daughter and a pretty if costly wife (Lily Lee), but he’s bound to lose all of it faster than he could have expected.

When Cheung comes home early on his wedding anniversary, he finds his wife having a bit of adulterous fun with a decidely thinner and younger man than himself. Cheung is not the kind of man prone to violent outbursts, so he just protests limply that the couple really shouldn’t do it in his living room and skitters away to get drunk.

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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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