One of the most wild & unpredictable filmmakers of all time hands down has got to be Hong Kong’s Lam Ngai Kai aka Lam Nai-choi, Most well known for his mega cult classic ‘RIKI-OH/The Story of Riki’ it’s clear this guy is, in my opinion one of the most underrated directors in the horror genre. Imagine if Sam Raimi made movies as consistently awesome as the Evil Dead trilogy, well that’s a good way to sum up this guy’s catalogue of crazy ass films. I’ve been fully surprised at how many people love ‘Riki-Oh’ yet aren’t familiar with anything else this guy’s done.
It probably doesn’t help that he completely disappeared off the movie map in 1992 for unknown reasons. Perhaps he realized he’d unlikely ever be able to top the craziness of his back catalogue of bizarre flicks. I’d love to know what he’s up to today and what I’d love even more would be his return to filmmaking. There’s however, literally zero info on why he stopped his film career and what the dude’s been up to these days. That being said let’s take a quick look at some of his coolest flicks you may not have even known existed! First if you’ve never seen Riki-Oh from 1991 it’s easily one of the wildest action/horror hybrid movies out there and totally on par with the awesomeness of Evil Dead 2. It features some of the most over the top action/gore of all time:
Next is another equally crazy ass flick from 1986 called ‘The Seventh Curse‘ which is like Indiana Jones on acid fighting monsters and exploring some truly epic locations. It features Chow Young Fat in a small role and continues with totally frantic action sequences that never slows it’s pace right to the very end. A true hidden gem of a movie that many 80’s horror fans have completely missed out on over the years. Seek this out asap as it’s more proof this guy’s got chops on par with the likes of early Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi & Don Coscarelli.
Kai’s got more under his belt too if you want another horror adventure that’s a true spectacle to behold check out ‘The Peacock King‘ from 1988. A totally unique movie that’s also a full on FX extravaganza. This one literally utilizes nearly every 80’s special fx in the book, from stop motion monsters, to animatronic creatures etc. etc. etc. you name it, this movie will take you on tour of the bizarre set to a super fun, dark yet equally light hearted adventure. Check it out: Continue reading
I do tons of hunting around town here in Portland Oregon and beyond for awesome VHS tapes for my own viewing pleasure and also for my shop Hollywood Babylon. The fun is always running across cool movies, often times I never even knew existed. This is most definitely the case when I ran across a VHS copy of ‘VIBES’ from 1988 starring Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum!? Yeah, at least for me this was a surprise as I’d never even heard of this one before and the unlikely pairing of Goldblum as “Nick” & 80’s pop icon Lauper as “Sylvia” kinda blew my mind. At first I thought it was simply an 80’s rom com, but upon reading the synopsis on the back I was even more excited to find that Vibes is actually a supernatural adventure flick with light elements of Indiana Jones sprinkled about it’s odd colorful plot.
Talk about a movie that sounds right up my alley? Vibes was indeed a ton of fun and it’s two unlikely leads make it a full on trip down 80’s nostalgia lane. Both Lauper and Goldblum play quirky down on their luck psychics who are hired to head off to Ecuador to find the missing son of a mysterious wealthy fortune hunter. Both seem reluctant to work together even though Sylvia who’s major bad luck with men, seems immediately enamored with Nick who’s character is as over the top Godlbum-esque here as they come. Both use their unique powers to piece together the mystery they become entrenched in, Sylvia speaks with a dead woman named Louise and Nick can see the psychic history of objects from merely by touching them.
Once the two leave the city they quickly realize there’s a supernatural element at play and their employer hasn’t been entirely honest about why they’ve been hired for the job. It’s a total pleasure to see the two leads playing off each other and it’s quite obvious from the get go it’s gonna be physically impossible for Golblum to resist the cute as a button Lauper. Cyndi shines here with her extra thick New York accent and most of all it’s the unlikely pairing of these two icons that really make this one such a treat.
The back of the VHS boasts something of a special fx extravaganza from one of the dudes from Ghostbusters which was sadly a bit misleading. There are a few neat scenes of 80’s fx at play here but ultimately the supernatural spectacle here wasn’t nearly as impressive as I’d hoped for. A few more scenes of paranormal mayhem would have made this one a full on lost 80’s classic. It does have some great sets though and the Ecuador back drop gives this a bit of a Romancing the Stone vibes at times although with less physical adventure actually going on. There’s a great dance sequence between the two as well that’s pretty darn cute as well. The main reason to seek this out is the two leads, it’s an interesting pairing and filled with a ton of fun moments despite it being a full on bonafide box office flop. One of the best parts of the movie is the closing credits song by Cyndi Lauper called “Hole In My Heart” which is one of her best and adds to the pure nostalgia of this little forgotten gem of an 80’s movie.
I finally checked out a movie I’d been wanting to see now for the longest time-The Seventh Curse from 1986! This is surely one of the coolest movies that you’ve never seen! This Chinese action/ adventure/ horror movie has got it all and I’d really expect no less from a flick by Ngai Kai Lam. If you aren’t familiar with Lam you’ve missed out big time for a long time. Most famous for “Riki-Oh:The Story of Ricky” from 1991, which is seriously one of the coolest movies ever made, The Seventh Curse is equally as good in different yet similar ways. I guess I’d best have to describe The Seventh Curse as Hong Kong’s fucked up version of Indiana Jones, and I mean that in the best way possible.
This one has it all really, a young adventuresome cop deep in the jungles of Thailand tries to rescue a beautiful girl from being sacrificed by the evil “Worm Tribe”. In doing so he’s captured by an evil witch Doctor who casts seven “Blood Curses” on him, which burst through his legs periodically. When the seventh bursts, it will affect his heart killing him swiftly. Betsy (a strange mane for a member of The Worm Tribe), the hot jungle vixen he saved, stops the curse with an antidote, that she draws from the most peculiar place(trust me).
This however will only protect him for one year, so on the advice of his friend Wisely (Chow Yun-fat) he heads back to Thailand to find a permanent cure. Serious adventure ensues as the cop and his mercenaries battle the evil sorcerer of the Worm Tribe, a ridiculously hideous blood hungry baby-like creature, and finally “Old Ancestor,” a skeleton with glowing blue eyes that’s got some impressive kung fu chops himself and can transforms into something far more sinister!
Sound like fun? You bet it is! Throw in some great 80’s style monster effects, some great sets, jungle adventure sequences, top notch kung fu, some nice gore and a bunch of really bizarro plot twists and you’ve got a true genre classic that is not to be missed by any fan of awesome odd ball cinema. The Seventh Curse is just as cool in my opinion as Riki-Oh and it really makes me want to hunt down down more of Lam’s movies. This one pretty hard to find on dvd, but I’m sure it could be downloaded somewhere on line, or you could buy it on Amazon.com. If you’re craving some wild offbeat 80’s adventure then this one movie NOT to be missed!!!