1983, 93 minutes, 35mm
Directed by: Titus Ho
Starring: Ga Lun, Poon Lai-yin, Ken Tong, Hussein Hassan, Ken Tong
Saturday, April 20th at 10pm
The Red Dwarf will kick your guts out in this ultrarare stomach churner. Career-minded Hong Kongers with no respect for tradition go to Borneo to shoot a TV segment and wind up violating the tomb of the Red Dwarf Sorcerer, who returns the favor by violating their bodies from beyond the grave with scorpions, killer trees, and even more scorpions, scorpions, scorpions. Scorpions attack! Scorpions get smashed! Scorpions crawl out of pustulent blisters! It’s Scorpion-riffic! Never released on DVD, this unhinged rarity makes BOXER’S OMEN look like Walt Disney.
“Leave Hong Kong and die!” shrieks every frame of this movie. All the way back to the Shaw Brothers days, filthy wizards and disgusting witches from Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Cambodia have been slapping blood curses on nice, well-dressed Hong Kong citizens who blowdry their hair and brush their teeth. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region generally regards vacations to the rest of Southeast Asia as being about as safe as teething on a loaded handgun and non-Hong Kong countries are portrayed as backwards, illiterate, pre-technological civilizations full of barely-clothed natives who want nothing more than to steal your money, give you a disease, and cast a blood curse on you, in about that order.
But if your job involves making documentaries about these cute, primitive cultures, then occasionally you do have to leave the warm womb of Hong Kong, and that’s what happens to poor Stella when her dickhead boyfriend takes her to Borneo to make a documentary about the Red Dwarf Ghost in this film. At first, things aren’t too bad because the natives keep giving them awesome presents and the native chicks want to have sex with pretty much everyone in the camera crew. So far, nothing the Borneo Tourism Authority wouldn’t endorse. But they probably wouldn’t put their seal of approval on the part where the Red Dwarf Ghost curses the innocent Hong Kongers who then get slaughetered by angry living bamboo plants, attacked by a typhoon of scorpions, and jacked up by some killer chickens. In fact, by the time the villagers slaughter a seemingly infinite number of real pigs, live on camera, you can pretty much bet that a) Hong Kongers will never go to Borneo again, and b) The Borneo Tourism Authority would have halted the filming of this movie if they’d even had an inkling as to what it was actually about.
Directed by Titus Ho, who would go on to produce eternal cinematic treasures like LSD Beauties and Royal Sperm, this flick hails from the same writer behind Centipede Horror, another movie where innocent actors are forced to vomit sacks of disgusting insects (centipedes in CH, scorpions in RSSR). Bookended by two crunky black magic rituals that are double-barreled blasts of occult weirdness, RSSR spends its running time flinging shovelful after shovelful of objectional content right into your face. From Poon Lai-yin’s see-through shirts, to the slaughter of a LOT of real pigs, to a sexist village where everyone gets a “temporary” wife, to some outrageously nasty deaths, this movie never stops to let you get your head together. IT JUST KEEPS COMING AT YOU! Technically it’s not an action film, but there’s no way we could not treat you to this gore-soaked hayride. Truly dangerous movies make you doubt the sanity of the people who made them. In RED SPELL SPELLS RED there is no doubt: these people are insane.
Print provided courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive