Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Seventh Curse (1986) Ngai Kai Lam

The Seventh Curse (1986)
aka Yuan Zhen-Xia yu Wei Si-Li
Genre: Adventure | Action | Horror | CAT. III
Country: Hong Kong | Director: Ngai Kai Lam
Language: Cantonese | Subtitles: English (idx/sub files)
Aspect ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1 | Length: 77mn
Dvdrip H264 Mkv - 720x384 - 29.970fps - 1.14gb

A young heroic cop in the jungle of Thailand attempts to rescue a beautiful girl from being sacrificed to the "Worm Tribe" she belongs to. As a result, the cop is damned with seven "Blood Curses" which burst through his leg periodically. When the seventh bursts, he will die, but Betsy, the beauty he saved stops the curse with an antidote that lasts only one year, so on the advice of Wisely (Chow yun Fat) he heads back to Thailand to find a permanent cure. Action ensues as the cop and cohorts battle the evil sorcerer of the Worm Tribe, a hideous bloodthirsty baby like creature and "Old Ancestor," a skeleton with glowing blue eyes that transforms into a monster that is a cross between Rodan and Alien.

Hong Kong film maker Ngai Kai Lam (aka Laam Naai Choi aka Simon Nam) is one crazy fellow and I really admire his work. His filmography includes films like the truly over-the-top ultra violent hellhole prison spectacle STORY OF RICKY (1991), EROTIC GHOST STORY (1990) and THE PEACOCK KING (1989) to name just a few. His style is very hysterical and he easily belongs to the most interesting HK "genre directors" I know.

THE SEVENTH CURSE (1986) is a Hong Kong version of the traditional fantasy adventure films like Indiana Jones and Wisely films in Hong Kong (BURY ME HIGH and LEGEND OF WISELY.) CURSE stars Chow Yun-Fat (!) in a little role as Wisely who starts to help the hapless blood cursed protagonist Dr. Yuan played by the veteran Chin Siu Ho. He is a kung fu martial artist doctor who was cursed in Thailand as he visited it about a year ago. Now he's having some VERY severe symptoms of something very dangerous in his body: his body starts to "explode" in gory manner bit by bit and soon it turns out that the seventh "explosion" will be the deadly one. So he goes back to Thailand with an irritatingly curious and noisy reporter woman (Maggie Cheung) to search for the Worm tribe that cursed him. What follows is over-the-top continuous series of HK insanity in the gore, amazement, worms, black magic and so on departments! Definitely beware the blood curse while you visit Thailand next time!

The film is based on the original script by I Kuang who has written an incredible amount of HK films including some of the "dark horror" classics like BLACK MAGIC (1975) and BLACK MAGIC, PART II (1976) both directed by Hoh Mung Wa aka Ho Meng Hua. I Kuang also plays the little role of the narrator in the beginning of THE SEVENTH CURSE and he seems like a very nice guy. I'm pretty sure I Kuang has also written Yeung Kuen's incredible SEEDING OF A GHOST (1983) but I'm not 100% sure about this. Still SEEDING and CURSE have many things in common and have similar gross out moments and scenes of black magic carnage. SEEDING goes even farther in the dark horror department and that is also why it's so great film. CURSE has plenty of comical moments, too, and humor and also has some day time exteriors unlike SEEDING.

The film has one incredible scene after another. There is some martial arts and gunplay but what's the most memorable in this film is of course the black magic/voodoo related theme that is practised among the Worm tribe. This results of course some truly grossing gore scenes like human body turning into a bag full of living worms (very nasty!) as the hapless victim rips his own flesh off while worms come out everywhere. No need to say but if you fear of slithery creatures and worms, do not try to watch this motion picture; otherwise you'll have nightmares for the rest of your life. The alien creature (called "little ghost") the head villain/sorcerer uses is also a jaw dropping thing and very lethal. It goes inside the victim and then explodes through its stomach in the tradition of ALIEN (1979). There's also buckets of blood in various other scenes that will make the film too much for some. SEEDING OF A GHOST has some ultra fierce gore geysirs and scenes of carnage from the beyond and CURSE comes close to that occasionally but still never quite reaches the same level, and maybe it's because CURSE is produced by the "businessman film maker" Wong Jing who probably thought the film would have been too much for audiences if it was too dark and explicit and thus wouldn't make enough money. Even now the film is way beyond what Hollywood would ever dare to even think about.

The atmosphere and cinematography is also very great in the film and so the effects add to the real atmopshere and horror elements of the film. The scenes in the jungle are almost gorgeous in their lightning and menacing mist coming through and between the trees and rocks. Also the cheap but impressive effects used in the worm tribe scenes are fine and never dull. Also the finale battle between the sorcerer and the "little ghost" is again something outrageous.

Perhaps only thing that is an obvious negative point in the film is Maggie Cheung's character which is way too noisy and stupid in the film. But then again it is nice and interesting to see her in a film like this! Also a film that includes a bazooka wielding Chow Yun-Fat in its climax can't really be without its merits, I think. Overall, THE SEVENTH CURSE was more than I had expected and naturally it makes me even more interested in the work of Ngai Kai Lam. This film is among the things that make Hong Kong cinema so unique and special and also among the reasons that make me use word "insane" so often depicting these films, because they are, but in a very positive and innovative way!



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