HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Imp, The Bad luck baby
Year: 1981
Director: Dennis Yu
Stars: Charlie Chin, Kent Cheng, Dorothy Yu, Hui Bing-Sam, Jim Sam Sing-Tak, Yueh Hua, Wong Ching, Wong Chung, Chan Shen, Fung Ging-Man, Eric Yeung, Cheung Ga-Wai, Johnston Wong
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: With the rent long overdue plus a baby on the way, poor, luckless Keung (Charlie Chin) searches desperately for a job. He eventually finds work as an after hours security guard at a commercial building and strikes up an instant rapport with his fellow night watchmen. One night Keung is lured inside an elevator that inexplicably fills with water before descending into a basement shrouded in green fog. The doors open to reveal a wall on which scrawled in blood is a creepy childlike figure. On hearing an eerie high pitched squeal, Keung flees the scene. But when he returns with his colleagues they find nothing out of the ordinary. Shortly thereafter fellow guard Big Hulk (Wong Ching) chokes on his stew in front of the horrified men. He then freaks out in surgery and almost murders the surgeon before expiring in a spray of blood. Then Keung finds Old Uncle Han (Chan Shen) smothered to death in his home by living newspapers. At the funeral wise Taoist sorcerer Master Chiu (Yueh Hua) takes note of the bad vibes surrounding Keung and his surviving friends Fatty (Kent Cheng) and Little Ting (Hui Bing-Sam). He grows especially concerned when Fatty's normally docile dog reacts violently to Keung's pregnant wife Lan (Dorothy Yu). It seems Keung has been targeted by a restless spirit with malevolent intentions.

Horror stories are often commentaries on the correct way to behave in society. More often than not characters that stray from the rules suffer an unpleasant fate while the virtuous get to live another day. This ethos is especially apparent in Hong Kong horror, indeed Asian horror in general, only more dogmatic and complex. Fate and karma are significant factors in Asian horror. In Hong Kong horror films things like feng shui or even someone's birth date play a major role in determining one's fate. A fate that is all but inescapable. Jackie Chan once commented on his distaste for a popular belief in Chinese culture that one should avoid people who suffered great misfortune lest we be tainted by their bad luck. This idea manifests in The Imp wherein Keung's friends all suffer freak deaths as result of his 'unlucky' presence. The weight of responsibility eventually drives poor Keung to an impossible dilemma. When he chooses compassion over self-preservation it seals his doom. The unsavoury message here tries to justify putting yourself first and turning one's back on people in need, but if the measure of a scary movie is how disturbing it is conceptually then The Imp is undeniably an effective, unsettling work of horror.

Dennis Yu dabbled in a variety of genres throughout a relatively brief directing career but showed a particular talent for horror: e.g. The Beasts (1980), his stab at a Last House on the Left-style revenge thriller, and the flawed, goofy but interesting Evil Cat (1987). The Imp stands as his strongest genre effort. Beginning in very low-key, slice of life fashion the plot is grounded in the mundane yet relatable concerns of decent people in financial desperation before gradually escalating into surreal, supernatural terror. Influenced by Hollywood films like Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Omen (1976), Yu focuses on a husband and father to be slowly cracking up, not solely through unearthly influence but also pressure to provide for his family. The film was among several attempts by Taiwanese matinee idol Charlie Chin to break away from the sentimental romances for which he was best known. He is highly compelling here as an unusually vulnerable, even pitiful male lead. Veteran Yueh Hua brings the weight of decade's worth of martial arts heroes to his role as the ghost-busting Taoist sifu while co-star Kent Cheng (later a multi award-winning character actor) injects mild levity with his amusing T-shirts but also figures in one of the film's scariest scenes.

The Imp is a rare HK horror film with a thoughtful, measured pace. Yu wisely takes time to detail Keung's relationship with his wife and fellow security guard and explore his earthly problems before bombarding viewers with some of the most nightmarish imagery in Asian horror. His creative direction makes use of ingenious lighting tricks along with masterful sound effects to create the sense of something otherworldly intruding on our realm. Equally Yu makes imaginative use of space, demonstrating there are few things scarier than a dark, empty room. Cinematographers Bob Thompson and David Chung – later director of among others Magnificent Warriors (1987) and I Love Maria (1988) – start out with a crisp white and blue tinged colour palette for the more 'realistic' early portion of the drama, then take a leaf out of Dario Argento's book and burst into surrealistic colour for Master Cheung's magical battle with a supernatural force and Keung's journey into a gold-and-emerald subterranean realm to confront a malevolent little ghost girl in red. Joseph Koo's eerie electronic score is gut-wrenching stuff as indeed is that shocking final scene.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3074 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
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: