Saturday, June 20, 2015

Che wan (1983)

... aka: Accident, The
... aka: Blood of the Black Dog
... aka: Car Spirit
... aka: Che hun

Directed by:
Pao-Lun Lu

Man-Tik Chow (Eddie Chan), the rich asshole owner of a toy manufacturing company, could care less about anything other than the bottom line. One of his employees stays up all night working on a  new Rolls Royce car toy, but Man-Tik disapproves of the design and chucks it out the window of his high rise office. On the street below, 8-year-old Siu-Ching (Bo-Ming Ma) is walking home from school and is saved from the falling toy by chubby factory worker Fatty Cheng (Kent Cheng). Fatty accompanies the girl home only to find she's living in a shack in poverty. Siu-Ching's father had been killed in a car accident and her mother is deathly ill, suffers from terrible migraines and is always moaning for her “headache pills.” The widow is just barely managing to scrape by, so Fatty befriends them, becomes a fixture in the home, brings them food, gives them money and eventually agrees to become the girl's godfather in case something happens to the sickly mother.

After spending the evening at a nightclub drinking and watching nude strippers while entertaining an American client, Man-Tik, accompanied by his wife Ying (Chiu-hua Wei), his assistant Mr. Mak (Fong Chow) and factory manager Mr. Lam (Siao San-Yan), who was seen earlier chewing out a worker even after he crushes him hand in a machine, head back home on a dark and stormy night. Siu-Ching, in a hurry to get her mom some medicine, steps out in front of them and is mowed over... and on the night before her 9th birthday, no less. Since Man-Tik was driving drunk, he and the others decide to just take off and leave the dead girl behind on the side of the road. This will naturally end up coming back to haunt each of them when they're cursed and face the wrath of a vengeful ghost who won't stop until they're all dead.

Ying starts suffering from crazy hallucinations and nightmares, including having her eyeball gouged out with a straight razor. Rumors quickly spread around town that the Siu-Ching's ghost has been spotted walking around town at night still looking for medicine. Starting to get concerned, the four there on the night of her death then go to a temple to get a blessing and discover they've all been marked with a death omen. Both a dog and Man-Tik's car, which starts driving around town all by itself, become possessed. Handyman Chan (Gam Biu) is the first to die (via a bottle of booze turned into acid) because he helped to hide the crime by washing the blood off the car. And then Man-Tik's two underlings die; one after becoming locked in his office and burning to death after being pummeled by animated toys and the other by impalement after envisioning himself being attacked by a group of deranged surgeons who first cut the stomach out of a naked woman (!) Ying is eventually driven to seek spiritual help in an effort to save both herself and her husband.

The above takes up about an hour... and I wasn't impressed with it at all. While some of the individual scenes were enjoyably strange, the whole thing just wasn't holding together that well. The messy blending of trite “revenge-from-beyond-the-grave” plotting, annoyingly over-the-top melodrama, unlikable characters, misplaced comedy elements and a general lack of focus (Fatty is treated as the lead character and then almost completely forgotten) just wasn't doing it for me. But then something amazing happened in the final 20 minutes: It suddenly became awesome!

Old lady exorcist Sister Ling Sin (Fong Ping) and her young (and naked!) assistant finally show up in a last ditch effort to save Ying and Man-Tik and the film improves significantly from there. Since Man-Tik is slated to meet his end on the "Night of the Dog," Ling Sin immediately gets to work on various black magic spells to counteract the evil. She hangs a black dog upside down, slashes its throat, collects its blood in a bowl and then sends Ying to the mortuary to sprinkle the blood over Siu-Ching's corpse. While Ying is away, Sister Sin and her assistant manage to destroy the car and then have to face off against Man-Tik, who becomes possessed by the devil! There's a body painting sequence (complete with music clearly in reference to ROSEMARY'S BABY), huge fireballs, zombies, a nude woman having spell paper attached to her tits and vag blow up before being beaten up and then thrown through a window, a field of fiery crosses, blood being spit directly in a face and even a gory crucifixion. It's all pretty crazy and entertaining.

This is a very hard-to-come-by film that currently doesn't even have five votes on IMDb. It has never been officially released in America or any other country outside of Asia to my knowledge. What I viewed was an extremely substandard VHS rip. While it has burnt-in English subtitles, these are very difficult to read at times because they're often cut off and are white and often drowned out by glaring light. To make matters much worse, there's also a “Distributed by: Eternity” watermark in huge white letters that's on the screen much of the time and right on top of the subs! The movie was shot pretty colorfully (green lighting is used a LOT) but it's hard to appreciate any style with this crappy print. Still, Weird Asia fans are gonna want to check this out. The director also made the rare vampire movie Gui huo aka The Gate of Hell (1981).

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