HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Leatherface
Grimsby
Caniba
Bedroom, The
Dark Tower, The
Better Watch Out
Beguiled, The
Year of the Comet
Levelling, The
Dog Days
Annabelle Creation
Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Sssssss
Woman in Question, The
Atomic Blonde
Doulos, Le
Okja
Bob le Flambeur
Wedding in White
Léon Morin, Priest
Napping Princess, The
Scorpions and Miniskirts
Berlin File, The
Beaches of Agnès, The
Blue Jeans
Garokawa - Restore the World
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Gleaners & I, The
Peter of Placid Forest
Golden Bird, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
   
 
  Curse of Evil Family MisfortuneBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Kuei Chi-hung
Stars: Liang Chung Tai, Fei Ai, Lily Li, Alice Lau, Tsui Ling Yu, Frankie Chan, Lai Wang, Tin Leung, Yuen-Yan Lo, Chin Ho Wang, Siu-Kwan Lau, Jason Pai Piao, Szu-Ying Chien, Ping Ko, Chic Lau
Genre: Horror
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: One grisly night bandits murdered thirteen members of the Shih family then dumped their bodies in a well. Thirty years later lone survivor Old Madam Shih (Lai Wang) celebrates her fiftieth birthday, only to see her only son drop dead on the spot. It appears bad karma has placed the entire Shih clan under the 'Curse of the Bloody Frog.' Madam Shih subsequently raises her two granddaughters Yu-Lan (Liang Chung Tai) and Yu-Mei (Lily Li) under her roof living alongside her in-laws and their children: pig-tailed woman-child Ming-Ming (Chic Lau) and her illegitimate stepbrother Chin-Hua (Fei Ai), deemed automatically untrustworthy according to Chinese tradition. Even after the kids come of age the curse continues to plague the Shih household. First in the form of freak accidents. Then creepy-looking frog puppets invade the house, ripping people apart. Eventually a hideous serpentine demon bursts out of the well and rapes several women to death. As if all that were not enough, a mysterious murderer begins bumping off family members, one by one. This drives sweet, innocent young Yu-Lan to turn detective whereupon she uncovers another dark secret lurking in her grandmother's past.

Evidently the creative team behind Curse of Evil had seen Possession (1981) given this obscure Hong Kong horror produced by the Shaw Brothers twice recreates its central image with a woman found having slimy sex with a Lovecraftian tentacle-beast. Albeit in wildly different context from Andrzej Zulawski's infamous opus. Certain grim-and-grimy sequences wherein characters stumble into open graves to be eaten alive with their entrails torn apart by goofy frog puppets also evoke the nightmarish visions of Italian gore maestro Lucio Fulci. The film has a few decent jump-scares but for the most part proves a muddled morality tale with frankly irksome old-fashioned values and a creaky plot. Its scope, pace and imagination pale by comparison with the delirious highs Kuei Chi-hung scaled with The Boxer's Omen (1983). Possibly because he was a late replacement for original director Fung Wong.

Kuei Chi-hung's gritty, confrontational style and commitment to social satire distinguished his horror films although he dabbled in multiple genres at Shaw Brothers and would likely rather be remembered for his torn-from-the-headlines series of crime thrillers The Criminals (1976). With Curse of Evil Kuei treads an awkward line, alternately satirizing and reinforcing certain prejudices ingrained in traditional Chinese folklore. Hence, as tradition dictates, bastard offspring Chin-Hua justifies his stepfather's mistreatment by emerging a despicable rapist. Elsewhere a young woman who refuses to marry ends up raped to death by the demon (a lot of rape in this movie) while non-Chinese viewers may well wonder why the curse befalls the victims' descendants instead of their murderers' offspring. Kuei paints in broad strokes, clearly signposting characters as good or evil yet the finale inexplicably contradicts everything we are told about the origin of the curse with the most ridiculous Scooby-Doo surprise ending possible.

Along the way you get a lot of tiresome conservative platitudes, shrill soap opera confrontations and unintentionally laughable moments interspersed with sporadic demon rape, frog puppet violence and entrail-munching. Among the supporting cast pop star-turned-film composer-then-later-multi-hyphenate auteur Frankie Chan pops up as Yu-Lan's saintly tutor. Established as a potential love interest he instead suffers an especially grim fate, which is just as well given his atrocious acting. Martial arts superstar Jason Pai Piao also cameos as a police inspector though he leaves most of the detective work to Yu-Lan and, much like kung fu queen Lily Li, disappoints fans by not getting into a single fight. Boo! This was Kuei's penultimate horror film for Shaw Brothers. After aptly-named flop comedy Misfire (1984) he emigrated to the USA where he opened a pizza restaurant before dying of liver cancer in 1999 at age 61. Curse of Evil ends with a would-be cautionary message from the narrator that actually sounds a rather misanthropic note warning viewers true evil exists in the hearts of regular human beings: "Some of them might be your neighbors. Heh, heh, heh."

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 280 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
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: