The Seventh Curse (1986)
Directed by: Ngai Choi Lam
Written by: Kai-Chi Yuen, Wong Jing
Starring: Chow Yun-Fats, Dick Wei, Maggie Cheung, Siu-Ho Chin
Blood curses, demonic possession, investigative journalism… sure it’s one other instance of bonkers cinema from The Cat and The Story of Ricky director Ngai Choi Lam. There’s going to be motion, violence and sleaze on this wild experience into the world of Hong Kong Class-III cinema, however within the grand scheme of issues it’s typically fairly delicate. Which is to say there’s much more low funds monster and gore results than there are nude scenes and issues are by no means taken too far. It’s much less Untold Story and extra Temple of Doom in case you get the place I’m coming from. Extra journey story than straight up horror, however nonetheless a heady combination of loopy sequences and outrageous spectacle. In a approach it’s a movie that has all of it, relying on what you’re in search of after all. So maintain onto your hats (and your stomachs) as we delve into the world of occult thriller and historic evil.
To lend this all a sort of pulpy environment the story begins with occult skilled Correctly (Chow Yun-Fats) and medical researcher Dr. Yuan (Siu-Ho Chin) at a black tie banquet. It’s right here that their exploits are being informed by novelist Ni Kuang (as himself) to a rating of gorgeous ladies. It’s a surreal second for the reason that two leads are characters in a plethora of books by the writer, but it surely units the stage for issues to return. This might be a bigger than life story; tongue planted firmly in cheek. Later their are additionally pool events and swimsuits simply in case you didn’t get the message, together with a playboy (Wong Jing, the primary of a number of acquainted faces in a string of cameos) declaring they’re writing about ‘astrology’ and ‘sexology,’ due to course they’re. Nevertheless this sort of narrative, hopping from the current and into flashbacks, does often current a little bit of a pacing drawback.
As soon as the story begins correctly we’re launched to plucky, and sometimes irritating, reporter Tsui Hung (Maggie Cheung) throughout a hostage crises. That’s proper, there’s no time to fret in regards to the occult simply but. As a substitute there’s a police raid on a constructing being held by armed terrorists and Tsui desires the large scoop. It’s a really unusual sequence during which Yuan is taking all of it critically and Tsui beats a police officer with a brick to realize entry to the placement. However in a approach that is one other instance of the tone being arrange. The wire work is excessive and the motion is by no means reasonable. The identical might be mentioned of the scene during which our different lead, Black Dragon, (Dick Wei in a non-bad man function for as soon as) makes his look. Which is throughout an assault scene in Yuan’s residence the place each his womanising nature the titular ‘seventh curse’ is launched. Why select violence, motion or intercourse when all of it can occur within the house of some minutes?
Leaping again in time it’s proven that Yuan was cursed throughout a jungle expedition. The social gathering was in search of new medicines however as a substitute discovered the ‘worm tribe,’ a typical evil cult who put on black and pink. As they apparently sacrifice their very own individuals to realize some sort of imprecise energy, Yuan sees a ritual involving a magic dagger. These chosen by the dagger are despatched to a tomb during which the dwelling (and mutating) skeleton of a tribal elder resides. Together with lots of different particular results insanity there’s additionally some sort of monster foetus below the cult leaders cloak, so in case you’re not on board at this stage then it’s most likely not going to be your cup of tea. Varied pores and skin melting shenanigans ensue and Yuan falls sufferer to the curse. Fortunately for him the seven phases will take a yr to change into deadly, due to sometimes clothed priestess Bachu (Chui Sau-lai) giving him a few of her personal, apparently magic, blood.
Right here issues get a bit muddled as Black Dragon recruits Yuan (after breaking into his home and attacking him) to save lots of Bachu from the cult, who’ve beginning kidnapping native youngsters. What was he doing in regards to the curse till now and why is it activated at this stage? What was the cult doing for the final twelve months? Do they actually need to indicate youngsters being squashed like grapes to sate the powers of evil? Don’t even fear about it at this stage; it’s simpler simply glide because the gang heads to again to the jungle. Correctly isn’t actually within the movie an excessive amount of, which is a disgrace for Chow Yun-Fats fanatics, although he does a minimum of present as much as often smoke a pipe or kill a monster as and when the story calls for it. On this approach he’s bit just like the Gandalf of the journey, solely with extra bazooka hearth energy.
By way of straight ahead motion there are many highlights to select from, even when some sequences are just a little temporary. After some nice hearth stunts early on issues calm down till a fast battle with tribal thugs in Thailand. Yuan and associates are additionally concerned in some fairly loopy automobile crashes and lots of brutal demise traps. There’s additionally what can solely be described as a combat towards monks on high of a booby-trapped-Buddha. All of it goes a bit Boxer’s Omen within the third act because the heroes race to discover a actual blood curse treatment, resulting in a finale with creatures which appear to have been impressed by a sure alien design. Tsui remains to be fairly grating as issues go alongside however Maggie Cheung a minimum of has charisma to spare. If there’s one missed alternative it’s obtained to be selecting to have her change into simply one other curse sufferer as a substitute of reworking from spoilt brat to motion hero.
Nonetheless, on the finish of the day it’s a vibrant, slimy, and sometimes ugly story. One which places the sense of journey earlier than any sense of logic. Possibly the tuxedo carrying narrator has simply been partying an excessive amount of as issues progress. With so many parts taken from different films it could be simple to name this a little bit of a multitude. Arbitrary guidelines of magic artefacts and witchcraft apart, the construction of the movie itself isn’t probably the most coherent. The cameos are self indulgent (style followers ought to be certain that to look at the longest minimize) and there are just a few gory moments that will make Mola Ram blush. But on the identical time there’s a form of silliness to all the things in a narrative that has cartoon model blood and low cost puppets posing as undead monstrosities. However that’s all a part of its oddball attraction, and regardless of just a few minor caveats it’s at all times an entertaining journey into the unknown.