african-american directors series/geezer cinema: judas and the black messiah (shaka king, 2021)
film fatales #110: first cow (kelly reichardt, 2019)

the seventh curse (lam nai-choi, 1986)

This is the twenty-fifth film I have watched in "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2020-21", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." This is the 6th annual challenge, and my second time participating (last year can be found at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20"). Week 25 is called "Golden Harvest Week".

From Wikipedia:

"Orange Sky Golden Harvest, previously known as Golden Harvest from 1970 to 2009, is a film production, distribution, and exhibition company based in Hong Kong. It dominated Hong Kong box office sales from the 1970s to 1980s and played a major role in introducing Hong Kong films to the Western market, especially those by Bruce Lee (Concord Production Inc.), Jackie Chan, and Sammo Hung."

This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen film produced and/or distributed by Golden Harvest.

The Seventh Curse is the kind of movie where the IMDB parents guide gives a sense of what you are in for:

  • A baby monster bites a man's neck and erupts from his abdomen, lots of blood everywhere (looks like red paint)
  • General martial arts fighting
  • Police and villains are shot and have little bullet holes with small amounts of blood dripping
  • Man tears flesh off his face and punches hole into his belly, where maggots pour out.
  • A curse causes small spurts of blood to occasionally "pop" out of his veins.
  • Small children are lowered into a stone device that crushes them and their blood pours out. You don't see their bodies being crushed, but the concept is disturbing.
  • A woman has a disfigured face (looks like burn scar)
  • Character is torn in half by a trap and his int stones [?] are seen, group of men are skewered on spikes. Not overly graphic, but aftermath shows some blood.
  • Monster attacks people and tears at their skin. 2 monsters fight, blood pouring out of wounds. monster is shot by bazooka and explodes into bits, not overly bloody.

Even the above doesn't really explain how loony this movie is. For that, I go to the Wikipedia description of the plot:

Dr. Yuen (Chin Siu-ho) in the jungle of Thailand attempts to rescue a beautiful girl from being sacrificed to the "Worm Tribe" she belongs to. As a result, Yuen is damned with seven "Blood Curses" which burst through his leg periodically. When the seventh bursts, he will die, but Betsy, the beauty he saved, stops the curse with an antidote that lasts only one year, so on the advice of Wisely (Chow Yun-fat) he heads back to Thailand to find a permanent cure. Action ensues as Yuen and cohorts battle the evil sorcerer of the Worm Tribe, a hideous bloodthirsty baby-like creature, and "Old Ancestor," a skeleton with glowing blue eyes that transforms into a monster that is a cross between Rodan and Alien.

I appreciate that I'm cheating here ... it's not much of a review when all I've done is quote other sources. But really, doesn't the above give you a feel for what The Seventh Curse might be up to?

I can add a little to the above. Apparently the basic plot and characters come from two series of novels by the prolific writer Ni Kuang. There are 150 or so stories in the "Wisely Series" and roughly 30+ Dr. Yuen stories. In The Seventh Curse, Wisely takes a back seat, which means Chow Yun-Fat isn't around nearly enough. His cool factor is seriously challenged by the fact that he smokes a pipe ... even Chow can't make pipe smoking cool. On the other hand, he's the one who turns up at the end with the bazooka. This film came out the same year as the icon-creating A Better Tomorrow, but I can't tell which came out first. Meantime, Maggie Cheung is involved, a year after Police Story ... she's adorable but annoying, kinda like she was in Police Story. (My invaluable source for HK culture, Steve Fore, noted in a comment to my post about Police Story, "Maggie Cheung was participating here in the standard rite of passage for ingenue female stars in HK movies, taking on roles as the whiny and/or ditzy girlfriend and arm candy.") She's only 22 in The Seventh Curse.

Finally, I should mention that director Ngai Choi Lam has quite a cult following. This is the first movie of his I have seen. Fans speak highly of his Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky.

The Seventh Curse is pretty crappy, but also pretty fun. It's also short. You'd have to be in the right mood, but it's certainly possible that if you caught it on the right day, you might get a lot of goofy enjoyment.

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