You know that we love movies with multiple titles, so how about these ones? Fu Manchu and the Kiss of Death, Kiss of Death, Against All Odds and best of all, Kiss and Kill. The fourth movie in the Fu Manchu series produced by Harry Alan Towers, this movie finds Jess Franco pulling off an amazing movie: he used scenes featuring Shirley Eaton from his movie The Girl from Rio without telling her. She didn’t learn that she was in a Fu Manchu movie for several years.
Somewhere in the jungle, Dr. Fu Manchu (Christopher Lee) has found a lost Amazon city that has a deadly venom that can only kill men yet gives women the kiss of death. Of course, they have to be bit by venomous snakes to get this power and mind-controlled, but you know, this may not be the goofiest plan that Fu has come up with. Can I call him Fu? Is that too familiar and am I assuming our friendship?
You can tell when Franco is into the movie. Spoiler warning, it’s when women are tied up or when the gorgeous and deadly Lin Tang*, the daughter of Fu Manchu shows up surrounded in light and smoke. Or when Maria Rohm appears in a cowboy hat and chaps? You know that’s when Jess Franco is being, well, Jess Franco.
Look, this movie was made for less than some movies spend on donuts. Also, yes, Christopher Lee is in yellow face and the entire Fu Manchu thing is super racist and there’s a lot to unpack there, but let me give you some advice: if you are watching Jess Franco movies for life lessons and good taste, you’re doing it wrong.
*How amazing is it that Tsai Chin not only was a Bond girl twice (You Only Live Twice and Casino Royale), as well as two Marvel Cinematic Universe characters (Melinda May’s mother on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Walpo in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), the role of Auntie Lindo in the film The Joy Luck Club, Auntie in Memoirs of a Geisha and an international recording artist whose song “The Ding-Dong Song” was a big hit?