Newest Reviews
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
Night Eats the World, The
War Bus
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
They Shall Not Grow Old
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Man Who Invented Christmas, The
Tom's Midnight Garden
Lady, Stay Dead
Thieves, The
My Dear Secretary
I Think We're Alone Now
Amazing Colossal Man, The
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael
Nae Pasaran!
Kiss of the Dragon
Other Side of the Wind, The
Secret Santa
10.000 Km
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Hitler's Hollywood
Ghost Goes Gear, The
First Purge, The
House of Wax
Newest Articles
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
  Heaven & Hell a roarin' rampage of reincarnationBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Chang Cheh
Stars: David Chiang, Alexander Fu Sheng, Maggie Li Lin-Lin, Jenny Tsang, Li Yi-Min
Genre: Horror, Musical, Martial Arts, Weirdo, Fantasy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: “A terrorizing experience through the dimensions of dead and alive!” proclaims the Chinese trailer in fractured English. They ain’t kidding. If you’ve a phobia of Hong Kong fantasy’s loopy logic, stay well clear. Everyone else, strap in for a wild ride. Veteran chopsocky helmer Chang Cheh assembles a galaxy of Shaw Bros.’ biggest stars for this amazing – deep breath – time-travelling/musical/martial arts/fairytale/gangster melodrama/anti-drug/comedy/gory horror/morality play about reincarnation, star-crossed lovers and karmic retribution. (Gasp!)

Top-billed, kung fu legends David Chiang and Alexander Fu Sheng are special guest stars, our main man is the lesser- known Li Yi-Min. He plays a palace guard in the opening act set in Heaven, a wonderland of fluffy, pink clouds, golden temples, celestial beings and dancing girls. After playboy Chiang’s romance with a comely handmaiden angers the grumpy gods, kindly Yi-Min helps the lovers escape and is punished with a one-way ticket to reincarnation. Next thing you know he’s a cabbie (presumably the gods’ idea of the lowest form of life) in late seventies Hong Kong, witnessing happy-go-lucky artist Fu Sheng falling for lovelorn secretary Jenny Tsang. The cute couple (an item in real life until Fu Sheng’s tragic death) sing a love duet amidst a hyper-stylised, day-glo, 2-D set straight out of The Magic Roundabout, but a nasty triad boss (perennial baddie Lo Lieh) develops a yen for Jen. Kung fu badass Fu Sheng sorts out the triads, but when Lieh pulls a gun, it’s kind-hearted Yi-Min who takes the bullet (Can’t this guy catch a break?).

Next stop: the gore-splattered, torture dungeons of Hell, where demons slice off gamblers’ hands and yank tongues out of gossipy housewives, while ghosts with 10ft. tongues prey on lost souls. Yi-Min falls for Red Dress (Maggie Li Lin-Lin), a pretty spook whose flashback reveals she was abused by dope fiends. Together they beseech Buddha who proposes they assemble a crack team of martial arts experts and fight their way out of Hell! Fortunately, legendary kung fu quintet, The Five Deadly Venoms gather across space and time, each with flashback tales of woe…

Essentially, a martial arts remake of Jigoku (1960), a Japanese horror classic available on DVD from Criterion (Wonder why they gave this one a miss?), Heaven & Hell is nutty indeed. Its philosophical musings on karma and morality are sincere, but reactionary and shallow when compared to Tsui Hark’s Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983). But as a one-of-a-kind fantastical thrill-ride it’s heady stuff, a non-stop parade of frantic fistfights, musical numbers and outrageous gore. The candy-coloured splendours of Heaven and the garish, grand guignol of Hell are presented beautifully, in Cinemascope with razor sharp detail (Available on region 3 from Celestial and region 1 from Image). A perfect party movie, if watched back to back with The Dragon Lives Again (1976) and Fantasy Mission Force (1985) will surely explode your brain.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2389 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor


Last Updated: