Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Shan kou (1980)

... aka: 山狗
... aka: Beasts
... aka: Beasts, The
... aka: Flesh and Bloody Show, The
... aka: Flesh and the Bloody Terror
... aka: Mountain Dog
... aka: Survive

Directed by:
Dennis Yu

Five teenagers; outgoing Wah (Eddie Chan), his shy and innocent kid sister Ling (Patricia Chong), Pauline (Siu-Ling Wong), her lazy / cowardly boyfriend Ken (Cheun-Man Ko) and third wheel Louis (Paul Chung), who has a crush on Ling, head by bus to the mountains for a summer weekend camping trip. After switching to a lorry, they're dropped off in the middle of nowhere then hike to the valley of Kau Wah Shan, where only a tiny village rests. Something immediately seems off with the unfriendly locals. The bus driver refuses to speak to them and when they stop at a small general store, the owner lies about having a telephone and sends them on their way. The five find a nice place to set up camp not too far from the store and near a waterfall, ignoring a "No Camping" warning as they do and instead using the sign as firewood.








A couple of obnoxious redneck locals, Fu (Man-Bo Kwok) and Ko (Chor-Fai Kwong), who spied on the girls from a shack behind the store, show up to menace Ling and demand some of the soup they're cooking. You see, in this village there isn't much in the way of law and order. There's also no opportunity and little hope for the impoverished younger villagers, who've resorted to semi-savagery and stealing whatever they can in order to survive while they fantasize about running away to live in the Netherlands. The two men are chased off by Wah, but they'll soon be back... only there will be more of them, including constantly-snarling Snake (Ming Kam), who has rotten teeth, hisses, drinks snake venom and has a cobra for a pet, the big, bald and slow Mo (Kent Cheng) and the sadistic ringleader Holland Man (Ching Wong).

While Wah and Louis are busy chopping wood and Pauline and Ken are busy messing around in some weeds, Ling finds herself alone washing dishes at the base of the waterfall. The five thugs arrive, hold her down, rip off all her clothes and brutally gang rape her. After finding her nude and unconscious, Wah chases after them and is pushed into a boar trap dug in the ground, where he's impaled on sharpened bamboo sticks. Snake even drops his cobra into the hole just to make sure Wah's finished off for good.









While most of the locals defend the thugs responsible and say the teens were not welcome there, the CID show up to investigate matters and haul four of the five killers in. A local drunk identifies them as the culprits always stealing his chickens and harassing him, but he's written off as an unreliable witness. Ling is of no help as she's gone crazy from her attack and does things like brushing her teeth bloody after (gah!) using her toothbrush to clean a toilet. The rapists / killers are then set free and return to the village. But there's someone who's not about to let them get away with what they did: Ling and Wah's father, Mr. Chan (Sing Chen); a woodworker in good physical condition for a his age. Chan goes to the same area where his children were attacked, camps out and waits for the right moment to strike.









After burying the drunk farmer up to his neck, the "Disco Boys" steal his money, which they use to go into the city, get drunk and pick up hookers. They're rejected by most due to their poor hygiene and one even farts in Fu's face in a scene that would be repeated about 1000 times in various Troma movies. When they return home with a bar girl, they attempt to gang rape her but she manages to run off. They then start disappearing one by one, all falling victim to the vengeful father, who puts his carpentry skills to use making various booby traps he hides in the woods. The weapons used include a jagged sickle blade, a metal mouse trap (which is so big it could probably also catch a bear), a nail lined box and, my personal favorite, snakes.








Fairly well-made on a low budget, this ugly, gritty, mostly humorless film has clearly been heavily inspired by a number of U.S. backwoods terror tales and revenge flicks like Deliverance (1972), THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978). The bad guys are truly disgusting cretins and, while they're certainly adequately loathsome and the actors (some of whom never appeared in anything else) are well cast, they also go a bit over the top with it. The goons yell, behave idiotically, drool, act obnoxious, pick their noses, lick blood, smell bad and constantly bicker and fight amongst themselves. The victims and the father character are given far less screen time when this would have benefited from a bit more balance in that department.

If you've seen your fair share of exploitation films, you've probably already seen most of this before. It's neither the best of its kind nor the worst and it's neither the most graphic of its kind nor the least. It merely falls somewhere in the middle. The outdoor scenery is nice and there's plenty of violence, fighting and blood, plus some full frontal female nudity in the uncut version. I actually found the first half of build-up with the teens hiking / camping, which tries to be atmospheric with a lot of added fog and eerie Theremin-sounding music, stronger than the actual revenge portion, which is supposed to be the big pay off. Those not interested in seeing violence inflicted upon real animals should also be warned that a pig, a chicken, a rat and snakes are killed. And the same folks probably won't appreciate the bits where a monkey is yanked around on a chain and a dog is thrown on the ground.



Numerous cuts of this title exist, some of which are missing violence, bits of the rape scene and the full nudity of the bar girl. The HK theatrical release ran 83 minutes and was cut and these cuts are maintained on both the Pearl City VCD and DVD release. The pre cert English-dubbed video released in the UK on the Mercury International label (under the title The Beasts), plus the Dutch VHS (also with the English dub) are said to be the uncut versions. In the U.S., mail order bootleggers Video Search of Miami offered a shortened 72-minute version with hardcore sex insert shots added, which was released under the titles Flesh and the Bloody Terror or The Flesh and Bloody Show. Someone (unofficially) also put together an 86 minute composite, splicing in some of the cut footage into the best quality available print. It's mostly in Chinese with English subtitles but with bits of the dubbed version wedged in here and there.


The soundtrack features songs from The Police and Genesis and a disco version of Ace's 'How Long' (I think by Lipps Inc.), most likely used without permission. This may also be why this film was not officially released here in America. Director Yu (credited as Dennis W.K. Yu on the print I viewed) also made THE IMP (1981) and Evil Cat (1987).

1/2

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