Jiang tou (1985)

In 1974, Shaw Brothers worked with Hammer to make The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. That ignited a desire to not only make martial arts films, but supernatural ones. And man, as the studio goes on, these movies grow more deranged in the very best of ways.

Ho Meng-Hua (The Mighty Peking ManOily Maniac) directed this and it only hints at how far Hong Kong horror would go. Lang Chia Chieh (Lo Lieh) wants to be with Mrs. Zhou (Tanny Tien Ni), but she’s in love with Xu Nuo (Ti Lung) who only wants to be with the love of his life, Wang Chu Ying (Lili Li Li-li). In order to win her, Lang Chia Chieh goes to magician Shan Chen Mi (Ku Feng) and has him cast a spell on Mrs. Zhou. It works, if just for a night, and she soon learns that she too can turn to the spirit world to win over the lover that she wants.

These magic spells are incredibly organic and gross. Like, you need to cut off someone’s finger and leave it under your intended person’s bed until it turns into a pile of maggots. Or to kill someone, you put worms directly under their skin.

There’s a lot of soap opera in this but every time you think it’s getting slow, someone gets half naked or makes a possessed rice ball with blood and breast milk, so you can never say it’s bad. It’s just the first course for how completely out there these movies will get.

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