HK CINEMA: Bound To Thrill

Asian cinema remains the last frontier of fetish cinema. Few enthusiasts would disagree that in these politically correct times of corralled morals, petitioning housewives, and crusading politicians, there is becoming less and less erotic license given to the cinema. Ambiguity now reins where it never even had a foot hold before and film makers are in a frenzied scramble to insure their product is trimmed prim and proper as not to clash with homogenized moral standards.

Fortunately that law is not so enforced in the land to the East where erotic freedom of expression, although regulated, is largely unleashed. The new wave of Hong Kong cinema extends from a period beginning roughly in 1986 to the commie takeover.

This enclave of cinema has been, and would have remained, a world leader in erotic free speech, both exploring and exploiting the pantheon of eroticism and all of the many facets of fetishism.

This sexual form has turned up in the strangest places, from goofy comedies to Kareoke discs to Category 3 thrillers (for the novice Hong Kong film buff, the Category 3 film, hereafter referred to as simply Cat 3, are those films which garner an NC-17 equivalent and can show softcore sex and/or extreme violence).

For those with limited viewing knowledge of Cat 3 films it can be a jarring experience upon viewing even one of several notorious films. But Cat 3 films aren't the only accessible forum for sexual deviance. Even in the silliest of comedies there may be a scene of sick violence you would usually only associate with under-the-counter porn tapes.

Anyone who has ever sat through the comedy NOCTURNAL DEMON, where in one scene a slasher urinates all over victims face, can attest to that. Recently in Toronto, Canada the mullti-cultural station, Channel 47 received a blanket of phone calls from irate viewers after failing to preview the aforementioned film before airing it to the late night TV.

While it can be assumed that a Cat 3 film with the title A CHINESE TORTURE CHAMBER STORY will contain a sufficient amount of sexual violence, you may not anticipate such horrors coming your way in a thriller titled FATAL LOVE (see the review in SHE #6 for all the gory details).

You may he equally surprised at the contents of their rediculously titled GOLDEN NINJA WARRIOR. This Joseph Lai film frequently treads the sexual violence trail.

In one scene a disobedient prostitute is bound (in handcuffs) between the posts of bunk beds. Her pimp then strips her butt naked and hands down punishment in the form of a severe flogging. Little is left to the imagination.

Bondage cinema was by no means manufactured in the late 80s exploitation circa. With equal sexual panache, Hong Kong movies from the 70s paraded this fetish around with unabashed pride. Although they may pale in comparison to the Japanese "Pink" films of the time. In the film BANDITS, PROSTITUTES, AND SILVER (aka THE DAMNED, 1974) Angela Mao Ying has a death match with the film's villain, Lo Lieh. Each fighter has a unique weapon with which to fight.

Mao Ying has tiny saw blades on her slippers while Lo Lieh uses wrists and neck cuffs swung about on a chain.Though Angela slices Lo Lieh on one or two occasions she is ultimately no match for the neck and limb restraining devices that he uses not only to bound but to kill Angela by strangulation. In REVENGE OF KUNG FU MAO (1975) Angela appears in a similar scene.

Of all Pauline Chan's films EROTIC GHOST STORY 3 is by far the most graphic sex and violence. These scenes range in style from light bondage to Caligua style orgies, from human gore to exploding demons.

In the film Pauline plays a seductive siren from an alternate dimension who aids a young man and his lover defeat a wicked underworld queen. At one point Pauline is bound to a tree and whipped by her evil Highness. In the climax Pauline avenges the beating by using her magic scarf to strangle the Queen's guards.

In America we have PULP FICTION, in Hong Kong there are films like ROYAL CASINO MARINE where poice cadets Ui Ying Hung, Amy Yip, and Sandra Ng display their threshold for pain by being bound to an electrical fence. Their hair stands up on end, they roll their eyes and make silly noises are for the sake of a few laughs.

In THE OUTLAW BROTHERS the film's villainess Nishiwaki Michiko is subdued in the climax being hog-tied. A similar means of restraint was used by the heroic kiddies in LUCKY SEVEN 2 to subdue the lethal Yukari Oshima and in BLACK PANTHER WARRIORS Lin Ching Hsia must save the too gesque duo of Carrie Ng and Elsie Chan atter they've been bound up by a blubbery sex pervert.

In ESCAPE FROM BROTHEL bondage is again mixed with sadistic violence to create snippets of sick pornography. The victim this time is Japanese porn starlet Rena Murakami, who along with Category III starlet Pauline Chan, play a pair of low rent hookers who by the hazards of their trade meet with cruel and untimely fates.

In the case of Rena Murakmai it's more than one fate she meets, both of which are cruel in the extreme. While both girls suffer, the harshest degradation is in flicted upon the Japanese actress.

Not surprisingly it is Murakami's whore who is made out to psychological adapted the quickest and benefit most from her involvement in the low life sex trade; as opposed to Chan'who utterly depises it.

In the case of Rena Murakmai it's more than one fate see meets, both of which are cruel in the extreme. While both girls suffer, the harshest degradation is in flicted upon the Japanese actress.

For Rena's optimistic outlook on the trade it's only Freudian that she incur most of the misfortune branded upon the duo.In one grisly scene a Triad boss (whom the girls clipped for $50,000 in the opening scene) forces Pauline to in sert a baseball bat up inside Murakami'.

Murakami is later abducted by Billy Chow who has his men string up, rape, and electrocute (with wires adhered to her nipples) the nubile Nipponese maiden; the camera then zooming close for an uninhibited look at the hanging body, assuring us that, yes, the Japanese whore has snuffed it.

It reminds me of that scene in the film 1941 HONG KONG ON FIRE , a B-movie about Japan's WWII invasion of Hong Kong. In the film a Chinese man is watching the sexual abuse that is being forced upon his country women by slobbering Japanese soldiers. The man then turns to his friend and says.. "One day we will import their women and abuse them in Hong Kong sex films" (or something to the referenece).

Those words certainly apply to the role handed down upon Ms Murakami, who in all fairness, made similar features in Japan. But it's not only Japaneese women who meet with horrilble fetish related deaths. And in GIRLS WITHOUT TOMORROW she Chan is again a whore whose specialty is fetishism. She has food dumped on her body and crawls about on all fours while chained about the neck. In the end she lashes out against one client and winds up choking him to death.

One of the more gory films in C3 recent years is DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS where knife wielding femme fatale Irene Wan bounds a woman around the throat, slings her into bathtub and does her in.

In another "kill" scene she goes so wild with her butcher knife that both she and her victim are soaked from head to toe in blood by the time she has finished.

Chingmy Yau proved her skill in THE NAKED KILLER (1992) after she's locked in a cellar with a crazed rapist; Chingmy taking barely 10 seconds to bound his throat in a chain and snap his neck. There is little doubt that bondage and any subsequent violence is most often saddled upon women.

Rarely do women commit such acts upon men, much less to the over indulgent point that it becomes sexual. An exception to this rule can be found in ANGEL (1987).

In two separate scenes, the film's villainess, Yukki Oshillla, has a male captive strung up bare chested and flogged (until blood is drawn) for her amusement and suhsequent arousal.

Such a ritualistic act, stems from a sick sexual fascination of violence on behalf of the female character, is rarely used by female antagonists.

The reason for this stems from the fact that when you integrate sex and violence, as was done in SKIN STRIPERESS when a woman rapes a man repeatedly until death, you tend only to stimulate, not repulse, the male audience who have long come to grips with the fact that any mixture of sex and violence is in herently sexual; even if it is inflicted upon a man by a woman (in some cases this combination even heightens the males sexual awareness).

For this reason women are often shown humiliating a male emotionally rather than sexually; though castration remains popular and it is the one torture most men don't relate to sexually.

Remember, for most female characters be they protagonist or antagonist, it is revenge, and only revenge, which is the primary motive of their violent action. It's little secret that women would much rather stab or shoot their male quarry to death rather than soil their bodies trying to fuck him to death.

If however there is indulgence by the woman during the act it is more likely than not a simple extension of her hate for the victim.In HER VENGEANCE (1988) a rapist is bound into his car seat by his former victim who quickly exacts justice by snipping off the man's ear.

THE LOVE THAT IS WRONG Ellen Chan (FATAL LOVE) perform a similar act of retribution when she bounds an unruly playboy spread eagle to his bed and then castrates him (without fucking him prior).

The same fate befalls a misogynist punk in the opening scene of PINK PANTHER (1994) when he's forced to drop his pants in the middle of a nightclub dance floor before being castrated by a crusading female avenger.

Later in the film a similar method is used upon another such woman beater dragged into the woods by an all-female gang of Panthers, a man is bound to the ground and must confess his wrong doing less he wants his groin mangled beneath the spinning back tire of a motorcycle.

In each case the women's use of bondage is more than sexual. The same can be said for Yung Hung's spousal revenge in FATAL OBSESSION when she bounds and beats a former boyfriend with a garden hoe; eventually killing him and extracting his eyes.

In similar fashion to HER VENGEANCE, BEHIND THE PINK DOOR tells of a woman's crusade to seek revenge for rape. In this case it's Pauline Chan out to avenge her sister who committed suicide after being raped by a gang of low rent mobsters.

In the course of the film several girls are shown in a state of bondage with Chan herself stripped topless, bound and nearly raped. Pauline eventually attains revenge asexually by gunning down her targeted sex offender.

Bondage is also ushered in as a form of punishment, usually inficted upon those people of low social standing such as criminals, rebellious serfs, or women who have tarnished their image by entering the sex trade.

In such cases bondage and any following act of violence is seen as retribution for the individuals commitment to anarchy or the ill abuse of their own body.

The most remembered scene as of late occurs in Wong Jing's CHINESE TORTURE CHAMBER STORY when servant girl Yung Hung, suspected of murder, is bound in finger clamps and severely fogged across the buttock.

The all time champ is the fetish department is unquestionably SEX AND ZEN. This odyssey of sexual escapism, led by C3 starlet Amy Yip, explores the near gamut of fetishism as bondage, flogging, servitude, all of which drips off the screen with a loving magnetism. But unlike others in it's genre, SEX AND ZEN tends to soften the impact of its violence by stepping outside the dark misogynist mystique surrounding sex.

Thankfully Hong Kong cinema has been able to grow its own roots in regards to sexploitation cinema and these roots now extend internationally despite communist oppression. With films like SEX AND ZEN, ROBOTRIX, and THE NAKED KILLER (and literally countless others) Hong Kong has successfully written and opened its own chapter on the cinema of sex. Cover Page Index


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