Co-hosting the Taiwan Noir podcast with Podcast on Fire’s Ken Brorsson has reawakened me to my deep and abiding affection for pants soiling-ly insane Taiwanese martial arts flicks. 4DK loves the Taiwanese people with all their lotus-limbed flying, hand aura blasting and Cyclops battling, and there was a time when my writing about their exploits made up a lot of this blog’s content. So, like a bad clips episode, I now take you on a trip down memory lane.
Mind you, there are a lot of weirdos on this particular memory lane, so be sure to keep your cell phones out of sight and your eyes forward.
First, some favorites:
Thrilling Sword (Taiwan, 1981)
“The dwarves cart the flesh ball back to their home, where they engage in a spirited debate over how best to cook it -- until it cracks open and a human baby comes out of it.”
Little Hero (Taiwan, 1978)
“For a moment she seems to be getting the upper hand, but then the octopuses start to aggressively birth baby octopuses at her, launching the little ones out of their octo-ginas at her like so many slimy tentacled projectiles.”
Magic of Spell (Taiwan, 1986)
“But what really won my heart was the thousand year old ginseng root, played by a kid in a suitmation ginseng costume, who was constantly in danger of being eaten by the other characters.”
Chinese Magic (Taiwan, 1983)
“While the first sexual experiences of many people result in only shame and regret, Shao-Ying’s and Lo Fei’s results in them being able to shoot deadly cartoon laser beams out of a big yin-yang shaped mirror.”
The Demons in Flame Mountain (Taiwan, 1978)
“Now left with no place to call home, Red Boy goes once again to his parents and pleads with them to welcome him back into the family. They really do hate him, though, and basically tell him to fuck off.”
Magic Warriors (Taiwan, 1989)
“As Golden Boy is in possession of a map detailing the whereabouts of the only weapon capable of killing the King, he is a subject of great interest for many of the denizens of Magic Warriors' freaky fairytale world. These include, among others, a character called Red Haired Weirdo, a guy with a mushroom for a head, another who turns into a snail, and a guy who I think is supposed to be a bag of garbage given human form.”
The Legend of Mother Goddess (Taiwan, 1975)
“A rumble ensues and the dinosaur is vanquished. But, because what is possible in this movie is restricted only by the markedly lax narrative boundaries traditionally observed by fucked-up Taiwanese fantasy films, the ghost of the dinosaur is soon calling out to his brother, a sea dragon, to come and avenge his death.”
My podcast with Tars Tarkas, The Infernal Brains has also paid a lot of lip service to Taiwanese weird fu, our proudest moment, in my opinion, being our two part overview of the career of Taiwanese wuxia queen Pearl Cheung Ling, which was greatly aided by Soft Film’s Durian Dave:
If you want to read all of 4DK's coverage of Taiwanese cinema, simply click here and dig in.