Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Devil (1981)

So are you one of those that enjoy watching movies where people are vomiting worms and snakes over and over again? Well, then The Devil is something for you! From a time when Asian horrors was really extreme and happily crossed the borders of taste and morality, here's a classic that I haven't seen before. Directed by Taiwanese master Ren-chieh Chang, this might not deliver anything original, and is far from perfect. Still it delivers good entertainment and a very straight-forward story.

A charming, handsome man is arriving to a small town and checks in at the local hotel. The youngest son works his matchmaking-magic and sets him up with sister and everything goes so well that they actually marries! Everyone is happy... until they realize who the devil is, him. He's just a rude and violent con-man who wants to make a quick buck with selling the hotel and taking the family money. But an older woman who practices black magic puts a terrible curse on him as a revenge. But he's not the last, because one after another of the local thugs are being killed off in this brutal fashion: being eaten alive from the inside by snakes and worms!

The Devil is, like many of these movies, a bit confusing and the final twists just made me even more confused. What's clear is that someone is killing off men in the village, who is it? Because our con-man is just interested in the hotel? Is someone taking revenge on the woman that gets beaten to death with a stone in the beginning? I'm not sure, but it's still nasty little Taiwanese horror movie with some very gruesome scenes of people having these creatures crawling out from the mouth, belly and other parts of the body that might be unprotected at the moment. It's more black and green slime than gore and blood, even if it's quite graphic and not for the sensitive viewer. For example, in the beginning we see the witch save one man with opening his belly and removing the snakes in Andreas Schnaas-esque close up's!

What I really like with the story is how the con-man very skillfully transforms from a nice hunk to a greedy and sleazy bastards, and how the family reacts to this. I'm not sure, but it seems like our heroine's cousin think she's hot and wants to marry her before the con-man takes his place. This is a fun detail, and I guess - like in Sweden - that marrying a cousin is very legal in Hong Kong also. Why the f**k am I writing about the cousin-thing? I have no idea, but I need to fill this review with, as we say in Sweden: Ordbajs.

The Devil is not out on any official DVD, but I got myself a widescreen bootleg dubbed to English. Worked fine for me and a movie the deserves a good, quality release. Maybe one day we'll see snake-vomiting in HD? I hope so!

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