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Film Review: The Eternal Evil of Asia (1995) – CAT III

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SYNOPSIS:

During a visit to Thailand, somewhat bizarrely set in the 21st century, a group of four friends, Bon (Kwok-Pong Chan), Kong (Tsui Kam-Kong), Kent and Nam are chased out of a brothel in a dispute over payment for one of the strippers. Fearing for their lives, they come across a deserted house and take sanctuary, only to discover it is the house of Laimi (Ben Ng), a powerful Wizard, who is in battle with another Wizard and his sorceress wife. They help to defeat them, and as a result become guests of Laimi who lives with his beautiful sister. She falls for the handsome Bon, but as he is engaged to May (Ellen Chan), who is Kong’s sister, he is determined to remain faithful. As a result she persuades her brother to make up a love enchantment that will make Bon hers; except it all goes horribly wrong and she ends up dead. Distraught Laimi follows the friends when they return to Hong Kong and one by one they die in horrific ways, until only Bon is left alive. May teams up with Mei (Lily Chung), a powerful Thai sorceress in order to try and prevent Bon’s death. Will true love defeat evil or will Laimi get his wicked way with May as his ultimate act of revenge?

REVIEW:

The above synopsis makes The Eternal Evil of Asia seem a great deal more lucid than it actually is. While it does work within the conventions of the dualistic (rape) revenge genre, albeit with lashings of black magic and demented sex, logic is soon abandoned for inventive murder set-pieces and some of the weirdest sex scenes that I have ever come across, including May giving fellito to Laimi’s invisible penis (I kid you not) before having sex with the equally invisible Laimi while swinging on a giant chandelier – and seeing that I have seen a great many Japanese pink films – this says a great deal about the sheer abandon and lunacy that makes this Category III Hong Kong film stand out from similar films of its ilk.

For a film as obsessed with sex and it is with horror, it comes as no surprise therefore that penis jokes abound in, from the very opening scene in which May and her friends are shown talking about how best to please their men, the transformation of Kong’s head into a penis shaped one when Laimi takes offence at his language,

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Bon’s impotence on his return to Hong Kong and of course, not forgetting, the remarkable feat of fellito that May performs on Laimi’s invisible penis, the humour comes thick and fast. All of which culminate in an orgasmic shower of sperm that splatters the screen when Laimi eventually comes (after a rather protracted albeit inventive sex scene) and just moments before he is finally defeated. Indeed the two aerial sex scenes (the first takes place during the fight between Laimi and the other Wizard, who has aerial sex with his wife in order to improve the potency of his magic, but unfortunately to no avail), are further proof of the film’s constant humorous references to all things phallic.

In terms of horror, while much of the horror is played for comedic value rather than out-and-out horror, there are some particularly inventive deaths even though in the case of Hong who is killed by pins piercing his face and head, the imagery used is derivative (and I suspect consciously) of Pinhead from Clive Barker’s seminal Hellraiser (UK: 1987) The other death scenes are no less graphic, including self-cannibalism as one of the men is overtaken by a hungry ghost while another falls victim to an illusion hex and kills his whole family before plummeting to his death from the family home.

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After all as we are told at the beginning of the film Asia is a place where people still believe in ‘hex and enchantment’ which derives from an ‘evil branch of Hinduism’ that has become comingled with belief in hex from China and cannot be explained by ‘science & spiritual studies’. Indeed the opening scene which tells of a particular hex involving stolen children’s souls is my favourite part of the film, especially when we are warned about finding ourselves next to a pale child in the cinema and told that we shouldn’t offend him or indeed, take him to the toilet as we won’t be coming back. Scary stuff indeed!

After watching many hardcore Category III exploitation films lately, The Eternal Evil of Asia provided a refreshing change – no cruelty towards animals, no overt misogyny, lots of humour, some great inventive sex and horror set-pieces – as a result, I have no reservations in recommending the film. In fact I would suggest that you seek it out, it is well worth the ride.

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