HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
   
 
  Satan Returns Dial 666 for Information
Year: 1996
Director: Lam Wai-Lun, Wong Jing
Stars: Chingamy Yau, Donnie Yen, Francis Ng, Dayo Wong, Kingdom Yuen King-Tan, Spencer Lam, Mark Wai-Cheung, Ivy Leung Si-Man, Lee Lik-Chi, Wayne Lai, Cheung Lau, Chan Chi-Man, Lam Kwok-Git
Genre: Horror, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Ominous groans accompany scenes of Hong Kong street life. A mysterious man checks into apartment room 666. Its dingy decor seemingly done by Anton LaVey: satanic murals, flickering candles, an upside down crucifix, and a fridge full of internal organs. Shortly thereafter stock broker Lulu (Cheung Lau) receives a phone call informing her she may be the devil's daughter (presumably with a free entry in this month's satanic sweepstakes?). Her midnight meeting with madman Judas (Francis Ng) climaxes with a co-worker crushed inside a phone booth and poor Lulu spirited into the darkness. Elsewhere, comely police psychologist Chan Shou Ching (Chingamy Yau) is plagued by nightmares about her long-lost father and the serial killer crucifying Lulu; while her nympho roommate Rose (Kingdom Yuen King-Tan) is busy getting it on with klutzy cop boyfriend Ka Ming (comedian Dayo Wong).

While on a coffee date the girls stumble into the midst of a shootout between Triad gunmen and bespectacled kung fu cop Nam (Donnie Yen), during which Ching rescues a little girl. Afterwards they happen upon Lulu's crucified corpse in a back alley. Seems Judas is killing girls born on the 6th of June, 1969, convinced one of them is the spawn of Satan. Ching's knowledge of Christian theology leads to her being teamed with Nam and Ka Ming to crack the case. But with Judas stalking her, amidst a host of hallucinations, Ching starts to suspect she might be the woman he is looking for.

Satan Returns (billed as Satan's Return in some countries) was yet another vehicle concocted by legendary screenwriter/co-director/schlock producer Wong Jing for his then-girlfriend, sexploitation starlet Chingamy Yau; most infamous being Naked Killer (1992). Perennially undervalued by curmudgeonly HK film fanatics, Yau actually had a measure of charisma and talent to go with her obvious allure, and trades primarily on those strengths here. Obviously indebted to that most iconic of Nineties serial killer thrillers, Seven (1995), co-director Lam Wai-Lun mimics that patented David Fincher style: dingy interiors, shafts of light or strobe effects, blue and amber gels, billowing plastic sheets through which the killer erupts for a steadfast shock.

Marked by traces of MTV flashiness that marred so many Seven rip-offs, the swooping camerawork is entirely Wai-Luns own and produces a fair amount of unsettling images to enhance Francis Ng's creepy turn. A fine scene has Judas freak out his cop captors with visions of their hellish past and future. Interestingly, the idea of a demonically-possessed serial killer foreshadows Hollywood's own attempt at a Seven cash-in: the lacklustre Fallen (1998).

Uniquely in horror cinema, this posits Christianity as an exotic and arcane faith that requires Ching and an amusingly foul-mouthed priest (Spencer Lam) to explain religious references to the clueless cops. It flirts with an intriguing question, namely can the Devil influence a society that has nary a concept of his existence, but soon drops the idea, throwing in a host of spear-wielding cultists so fight choreographer Donnie Yen can bust some wushu moves, and the usual Wong Jing tomfoolery: wisecracks about Seven and The Silence of the Lambs (1991), references to frequent leading man Leon Lai, and perpetually horny Ka Ming - so stupid he tries to pick up a prostitute in the midst of a stakeout.

Although a dead woman springs to life on the autopsy table and Ka Ming accidentally kisses a skinless corpse, this still rates as an atypically restrained Wong Jing production, exhibiting a tighter, more controlled filmic style. Later the plot abandons all pretence at being a Seven rip-off and amps up the supernatural content, wherein a possessed Ching (transformed into Yau's more familiarly seductive screen persona) tries to seduce Ka Ming and exerts mind-control over a wife-beating cop before the makers spring the old When a Stranger Calls (1979) gambit wherein a killer phones from inside the house. An action packed finale crams in zombie cops (who beat Ka Ming with their own severed arms), Donnie Yen going crazy with a nail-gun and chainsaw, Chingamy Yau crucified in flowing white, and a spectacular Christian-themed comeuppance for Ng's bad guy. Only an unnecessarily jokey ending lets things down.

Click here to watch a clip

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2806 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: