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  Wolf Girl, The Howlingly bad
Year: 1981
Director: Chen Tung Man, Ching Weng
Stars: Ai Lan Yeh, Ching Weng, Sung Pa, Huoy Dyng, Su Szu
Genre: Horror, Weirdo, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Having stolen its title song from Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Wolf Girl allows us the dubious pleasure of hearing Mia Farrow sing the theme to a schlock kung fu horror flick. Hoping to avenge his father’s death, a peasant promises his unborn son to a black magic sorcerer, so that he may transform the foetus into a “Ghost Child” endowed with magical powers and the ability to grant his every desire. His wife (Ai Lan Yeh) understandably balks at having the foetus brutally ripped from her belly. Fleeing into the night she finds shelter with a kindly old woman and gives birth to twin girls. She leaves on in the old woman’s care but whilst escaping with the other, takes a fatal fall off a cliff leaving the child to be raised by wolves.

Years later the civilised girl Ai Lan (Ai Lan Yeh, again) is being courted by comical carpenter Naan, while her twin (Ai Lan Yeh - really earning her pay check) has grown up to be a topless wolf girl with freakishly long fingernails who kills any horny young couple that wanders into the jungle. Meanwhile, their father is now a rich man with a new young wife sadly unable to get pregnant. Luckily, over the years he’s knocked up a dozen servant girls. Unluckily, every time the black magician falls from the sky swinging his sword, the girls run away screaming and take a fatal fall off a cliff. “I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for twenty years and every girl jumps off a cliff! Stupid bitches!” growls the sorcerer. Hmm, it’s almost like these women don’t want to have babies violently torn from their wombs. Funny that.

While hubbie keeps ravishing servant girls, his wife couldn’t care less. That’s because she has the hots for Naan. Indeed, Naan is something of a local stud in spite of having a face like a slab of ham, shocking taste in pink shirts and a tendency to spend all day drinking at Ai Lan’s tavern singing god-awful songs (“Wolves are killing young girls, it’s terrible! It’s terrible!”). Anyway, the rich guy’s wife lures Naan back to her place where a dozen servant girls pin him to the bed while she shags him silly (“Don’t act like you don’t like it!”). Night after night, she molests poor, lumpy Naan until - much like the viewers by this point - she grows bored. “Like every man you think you’re special. Buster, you’re not special at all!” she laughs back. Ouch. Poor Naan consoles himself with a late night walk in the woods where he finally runs into the Wolf Girl. Naturally, he mistakes her for Ai Lan and responds to her animalistic amorous advances by taking her roughly from behind. A whole pack of wolves gather to watch, because as Sir David Attenborough would tell you, they love nothing better than a live sex show.

Speaking as someone who can find merit in almost any Hong Kong fantasy-horror movie, take from it me, The Wolf Girl is a disjointed mess. An obscurity even among hardcore HK film fans, this strange, shoddy Hong Kong-Thai co-production was co-directed by Ching Weng, a specialist in oddball low-budget fare from Snake Girl Drops In (1968) to Tiger Love (1977). It is tempting to theorize he handled the Wolf Girl and supernatural aspects leaving other scenes to Chen Tung Man, since the former prove far more compelling than the unfunny comedy and tedious village drama that bulk out the running time. Hong Kong horror movies treat Thailand like their equivalent of Transylvania, a land of dark superstition and barbarity. Though admittedly patronising, such subject matter yielded classics like The Boxer’s Omen (1983), The Seventh Curse (1987) and the trashy but enjoyable Eternal Evil of Asia (1995), all of which play the sexploitation horror game far better than the filmmakers do here.

A crass and unnecessarily lengthy subplot concerns a peasant girl whom the rich man finds too smelly to seduce (?!). One quick scrub in the bathtub and she’s still too hideous for his taste, but he shags her anyway. Lo and behold, she bears him a son, not that it does the poor, loyal girl any good since she’s swiftly despatched by the sorcerer. After sixty tedious minutes, the horror stuff kicks into high gear. When the Ghost Child finally manifests as a glowing, giggling little boy with magical powers, he reveals the rich man’s wife is sleeping with his manservant (“I’ll say one thing, you thrust harder than my old man!”) and melts their faces. However, his powers have no effect on his “blood sisters” Ai Lan and Wolf Girl, whereupon the repentant rich man learns the truth and defends them against the crazed sorcerer.

The film climaxes with a modestly exciting sequence that finds Naan, the Wolf Girl and the Ghost Child grappling with the wicked magician in his cave while a black magic time bomb ticks away, but by then most viewers may have given up. While Wolf Girl disappears for most of the film, Ai Lan has almost nothing to do with the plot. The lead actress gives it the old college try in her triple roles but the remainder of the cast overact horrendously.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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