HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
Night Eats the World, The
War Bus
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
They Shall Not Grow Old
Dollman
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Man Who Invented Christmas, The
   
 
Newest Articles
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
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
   
 
  Web of Death Beware the killer kung fu tarantulaBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Chu Yuan
Stars: Yueh Hua, Ching Li, Lo Lieh, Ku Feng, Wang Hsia, Lily Li, Wang Chung
Genre: Horror, Martial Arts, Romance, Fantasy
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Superstar Shaw Brothers’ director Chu Yuan brings you this colourful, costume adventure. A delirious kung fu/fantasy/horror/mystery that might seem one of a kind if its maker hadn’t spent a lifetime honing his personal sub-genre down to a fine art. Unlike the revenge-driven plots and historical settings used by his contemporaries, Yuan spins yarns of head-spinning complexity amidst the fairy grottoes and celestial pavilions of the mythical, “Martial World”. This fantasyland of flying swordsmen, mystical heroines and strange beings is ruled by esoteric clans with supernatural powers. Here, ever oily Lo Lieh plays Snake Chief of the Venoms Clan, an evil sect out to rule the roost. Everyone is after a secret super-weapon, the Five Venoms Spider, before he unearths it to wield against the other clans when they gather at Mount Wudang. Complicating matters is Fei (Yueh Hua), prized pupil of the Wudang Clan, when he meets and falls for Susu (understandable, since it’s Ching Li at her loveliest). Susu doesn’t tell him she’s the Venom Chief’s darling daughter, but decides to secretly help Fei find the spider.

Misunderstandings and tragedy ensue as our star-crossed lovers struggle to save their families but are caught in a legacy of bitter feuds, jealousy and betrayal. Things move at a furious pace as the plot springs twists and surprises. It culminates in a fantastic finale at Mount Wudang where clans cower from a death-ray spewing, killer tarantula that glows green and roars like Godzilla! The theatrical special effects pack period charm and the super-stylised sets are beautiful to behold, ranging from the misty mountains of Wudang, the extraordinarily lovely lakeside pavilion where our lovers meet by moonlight, to the spectacular Venom Clan headquarters with its spidery motif, lava pools and bilious, green smoke. Chu Yuan films his spooky, fog-filled, cobwebbed sets in over-saturated colours reminiscent of Mario Bava.

Typically for a Chu Yuan wu xia movie the narrative overflows with major characters, yet his skilful script and editing mean audiences needn’t struggle to keep track of who is double (and sometimes triple) crossing whom and why. A superb cast of Shaw Bros. regulars breathe life into these eccentric oddballs, star players including Lily Li, Ku Feng and Norman Chu. Multitalented leading man Yueh Hua is subdued here, generously allowing Ching Li her chance to shine. A beautiful, versatile performer known for comedic and romantic roles, Li became Yuan’s favourite actress. As tragic heroine Susu, she is lovingly photographed, handles action with aplomb, dons an array of disguises and endures more emotional turmoil than any character in the film. Wu xia novels were considered serious literature and often banned in mainland China for their subversive aspects. Susu is turned away by every establishment figure she meets. Everyone is too busy spouting sub-Confucian malapropisms to exhibit any tolerance or compassion. In a society that venerates age and social status Yuan dares to portray the all-wise martial arts masters as petty, narrow minded and self-serving. Hankies at the ready for a real tear-jerker of an ending.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1956 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

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

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

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

 

Last Updated: