Action, adventure and mind-melting is a Shaw thing
A big influence on Quentin Tarantino, the Shaw Brothers Studios made over 800 movies over a 40 year period, everything from musicals to spy-movies, but best known for being Hong Kong’s major martial arts studio – they were probably the best, and most mind-melting, entertainment to come from Asia since opium. Celestial Pictures now own the rights to the Shaw Brothers library and are painstakingly restoring the original prints for DVD, but while we’re waiting, a Shaw Brothers all-nighter is happening as part of February’s London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film.
They’ll be showing four films – people suffering from delusions, who hear voices in their heads or have similar problems are advised to stay well away. Super Inframan (Hua Shan, 1975) stars a young Danny Lee (The Killer), with Inframan battling monsters from the earth’s core lead by the evil princess Dragon Mum (Terry Liu). Oily Maniac (Meng-Hwa Ho, 1976) is based on the true story (oh, come now, at least let us have our dreams!) of a “thing” that comes out at night covered in oil and kills people, covering them in oil. It stars Danny Lee again, along with buxom beauties like Chen Ping and Angela Yu Chien, but be warned – when this was first released, censors thought it was so scary and unsettling that they had to cut it heavily for theatrical play! Mighty Peking Man (Meng-Hwa Ho again, 1977) is a spin on the ageless theme of beauty and the beast, with Swiss beauty Evelyn Kraft being the object of the seven-storey Himalayan beast. Variety called it, “High camp, Chinese style.” Finally, we have Monkey Goes West (yet again Meng-Hwa Ho, a much earlier work from 1966), the story of a monk searching for Buddhist scriptures - amongst the creatures he encounters are Monkey, Pigsy and Diana Cjang Chun-wen as the obligatory damsel in distress. One of the movie’s many highlights appears to be Pigsy’s vision of a pretty widow frolicking in a pool with eight nude maidens.
This all-nighter starts at midnight on Saturday 5th Feb and ends around 08.30 on Sunday 6th. For more information, go to http://www.sci-fi-london.com . The festival itself runs from the 2nd to 6th February.