Last year I reviewed a couple of Hong Kong films that I categorized as “Under the Living Room Table”. These are tapes I picked up years ago pre the dvd age and which as best as I can tell never made it on to dvd for unknown reasons – perhaps copyright issues with a lot of production companies that are long out of business. Anyway, I hope to review a few more of these even though I believe the films are not available except through the “gray” market.
Beauty’s Evil Roses (a.k.a. Beauty Evil Rose)
Director: Lam Wah-Chuen
Country: Hong Kong
This film has long had a reputation as one of the more obscure but intriguing Cat III movies made in the days when HK still knew how to make fun sleazy entertainment! I am not actually sure why I put this off for so long as I enjoy a good sleaze fest as much as the next guy but I just never got around to it. But I finally dusted it off, turned down the volume (as I was staying at my parents and was correct in assuming there would be lots of moaning!) and watched it the other day. For much of its short 79 minute running time the film is nearly incomprehensible with it jumping around quickly from character to character and plot to plot but interspersed within are more than enough crazy sexual shenanigans and general weirdness to satisfy most connoisseurs of bad tasteless Cat. III films.
It begins as all good films do with a woman walking into a cop’s office and doing a strip tease to entice him and then turning him into a compliant zombie slave that will do the bidding of her mistress, the evil Dai Jeh (Wong Wing-fong). Dai Jeh ruthlessly runs a female cult of leather clad motorcycle riding sweeties who use sex as a weapon of destruction. What their aim is isn’t exactly clear but they certainly have it in for the male species and find happy fulfillment in one another in lengthy lesbian entanglements with painful sax muzak playing in the background. In her splashy red themed lair decorated tastefully with skulls, chains, candles, bondage ropes and a throne, Dai Jeh dishes out both her anger and her favor on her underlings. Whipping here is both for punishment and pleasure. Behind her power is black magic (imported of course from Thailand) in which she can project an alien looking creature down the throats of others to control them.
Various good guys are out to stop her - A Kang (Chung Jan-wang) who is looking for his sister who has joined the cult, his girlfriend Mannie who wants a career in nude modeling (we wish her luck) and policeman Cheng (a young Alex Fong). They hire a Taoist priest to combat her black magic but clearly he isn’t from the same school as Lam Ching-ying's priest as he needs Mannie’s underwear to weave his spell and seems to enjoy curing topless female victims. In the end – this being a Hong Kong film – it all meanders into a chaotic kung fu shootout that seemed just right. Or as one of the cult cuties said to A Kang “Let me see how great your penis is”.
As a note of interest according to the HKMDB credits, the director Lam Wah-chuen has had a multifaceted career. His directing credits are few – this, Devil Girl 18 (how have I missed that one?) and a couple others but also 2002’s Runaway Pistol which I thought was very dark and very good. But as a cinematographer he has some amazing credits – Made In Hong Kong, The Longest Summer, Bullets Over Summer, Diamond Hill, Juliet in Love, Little Cheung, Women’s Private Parts among them – he is clearly a favorite of director Fruit Chan and other indie directors. He also composed the music for many of those films. Interesting guy.
My rating for the film: 5.5