HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birth of the Dragon
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 1764 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 film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
The Elix
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
   

 

Last Updated: