One of Sun Chung's masterpieces
morgoth | omaha, NE | 06/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anthony Lau Wing and Chen Kuan Tai star as rivals in this Sun Chung Shaw Brothers flick from 1982. There's a lantern contest coming up, and Lau Wing hires expert lantern maker Lo Lieh to help him win the contest. Suddenly a new character comes in, a masked man who kills women in really sick ways and then strips their skin off. It's made clear early on who the killer is, so the question becomes, why is he doing this? He's setting Lau Wing and Kuan Tai against eachother by killing their women, and he has a great time doing it. The movie starts out pretty good, but it gets a lot better as it goes along.
I can't say enough good things about this movie. The mood, fights, acting, gore, cinematography... everything about it is good.
There's plenty of action , and the choreography is very very good. And the acting and directing job greatly enhance the fights.
Also starring are Venoms Sun Chien and Lo Meng, and some very lovely women.
The picture quality is good on the Image DVD, though not as good as a Dragon Dynasty or Media Blasters Shaw Brothers release. Sound is good and the subtitles are well written. Chinese language only. From what I have heard this is the best version of this movie.
Special features include a 14 minute interview with actress Shaw Yin Yin and an alternate take for the skin peeling scene. Shaw Yin Yin has a small role in the movie, but it's a very good interview. And the alternate take of the skin peeling scene is pretty sick. Good stuff."
A very strong argument on the energy-saving benefits of usin
D. Wilson | NY by way of Cali | 10/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Have you ever heard a movie title quite so compelling? Two words that should never find themselves put directly next to each other: human and lanterns. The pairing just feels disturbing and wrong-- after seeing this movie however, few things have ever felt so right(I may even look into making a few of my own LOL!). The story centers around two wealthy, proud and competitive heads of a village by the names of Tan and Lung, preparing for the upcoming lantern festival. Both want ot make sure that their lantern is the absolute best and therefore the talk of the town. Enter a reclusive lantern craftsman with the knowledge of how to make the perfect product-- and willing go to whatever cruel lengths necessary for the human flesh needed in their creation. As loved ones close to both competitors begin mysteriously disappearing, foul play is suspected of each other, and the rivalry grows out of control... though are either one truly responsible? Human Lanterns is classic Shaw Brothers material, superbly directed by Chung Sun(the man behind the even better film, The Deadly Breaking Sword), filled with lavish sets, an excellent musical score, and a fantastic cast. Chen Kuan-Tai(Crippled Avengers, Challenge Of The Masters, and many other great films) plays Tan, the more mature and reserved of the rivals, while Liu Yung plays Lung as a much more vain and even borderline despicable competitor. The real star of the show is actually Lo Lieh(too many good movies to name!) as the demented lantern maker who takes particular glee in the live skinning of his victims (easily one of my favorite performances from his legendary career). This is one of the finest martial arts/horror hybrids around, the action is marvelously choreographed while the horror is far from campy(no hopping vampires here) and delivers some genuine chills. Still though, Human Lanterns is for kung fu fans first and foremost, those deciding to give this a try for the(limited) horror and exploitation elements will surely be dissapointed with what is ultimately delivered(a few macabre moments of flesh peeling grue)."
Martial arts / macabre
David Brown III | gloucester, MA. USA | 07/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the finest martial arts films in the Shaw Brothers retinue. The storyline is profound, cohesive, well paced, and utterly teeming with allegorical allegations of just why it's unwise to push people too far. Fantastical, realistic, and superbly filmed. Human Lanterns is a film for the horror/martial arts eccentric. The action is superbly shot. The atmosphere is positively spooky. Lo Lieh (the main villian) relishes his role second to none of the past greats in the horror genre. There are no bars held in this martial arts nightmare. The cinematography is lavish and very beautiful. The acting is spot on and the dialogue delivered perfectly. The best part is the action of course and the continuity in the fight scenes are definitely some of the finest you'll see in a Shaw Brothers film. A must have for the more serious/grimmer Shaws fan. It is a shame Sun Cien (venoms star kicker) was not made better use of in the film, but Lo Mang's cameo, is fully satisfying. The attitude! This film exudes of it. If your a Chen Kuan Tai (southern china king boxer when Shaws discovered him), Liu Yung, Lo Lieh, or Lo Mang fan, you'd simply be foolish not to purchase this film. Probably my favorite Shaws film and I possess over 400 of them. For any further info on this film, any Shaws films, or any japanese/chinese cinema just drop by kungfucinema. You'll get it. There may be some who disagree with this review but this film will certaintly hold anyone's attention from beginning to end. If you do like this film, look for The Bloody Parrot, a Celestial Pictures R3 release imported from Hong Kong. Another martial arts macabre masterpiece."