I’ve seen giallo from all over the world, but this would be the first Hong Kong version I’ve ever seen. It was created by Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud, whose Black Mask 2: City of Masks I had seen, but had not prepared me for this delicious offering.
It features Hong Kong starlet Carrie Ng (Naked Killer, Sex and Zen), who practically smolders the screen as Carrie Chan, a woman devoted to the sexual release of death and using her jade talons to render flesh into works of art.
During the reign of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, a torturer invented a special drug that paralyzed muscles yet increased the sensitivity of nerve endings. Sometimes he used this for erotic pleasures, but mostly it was used to extract pain from his victims. Yet he always wondered what the drug would be like for his own use, so he killed himself under its influence.
Now, the jade skull that contains this rare substance has been found by Catherine Trinquier (Frederique Bel, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec) and she sees it as a way to gain a fortune after murdering a lover to acquire this treasure.
Meanwhile, the demonic Carrie is staging a play all about the famed executioner while conducting her own psycho-sexual experimentations of pain and pleasure.
Known as Red Nights in the Western world, this movie has no slavish devotion to the 1970’s giallo style while somehow feeling that it could rightly take its place within it, uniting the world of the exploitation anti-heroines like Olga and Ilsa while at the same time dipping a green clawed digit into the respective private parts of the best parts of the works of Martino and Franco, pausing for a moment to be bathed in the lights of Argento and basking in the sounds of a Morricone.
There are moments when I was worried that this film would descend into the depths of torture porn, but it righted itself many times. This is why I watch films, to discover new and delirious highs. Consider this a must-watch.
Look for this as Red Nights on Tubi.