Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film
reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong
Chinese Torture Chamber Story
Yuen King-tan (left) and Yvonne Yung Hung (right). Image courtesy Universe.
Cinematographer: Tony Miu Kin-fai
Tommy Wong Kwong-leung and Yvonne Yung Hung. Image courtesy Universe.
One of the most infamous Category III films, CHINESE TORTURE CHAMBER STORY pulls the viewer in multiple directions at once, freely mixing stomach churning sadism and over-the-top gore with exuberant softcore sex and comedy ranging from childish to incredibly bizarre. Maiden Little Cabbage is brought before the local magistrate, after she is found covered in blood beside the dead body of her husband, Got Siu-tai. The man died after consuming a kind of super aphrodisiac which caused his already immense penis to explode! Flashbacks reveal how Little Cabbage was hired to be a maid in the home of scholar Yang Ni-mu. After accidentally catching her mistress cheating on Ni-mu with the evil Lau Hoi-sing, Little Cabbage was married off to the homely Siu-tai (whose member is so huge that ejaculation could prove to be fatal to his partners!). When Hoi-sing tries to take advantage of Little Cabbage, he is severely beaten by Siu-tai, setting in motion the events that led to the present court case.
Elvis Tsui Kam-kong (left) and Julie Lee Wah-yuet (right). Image courtesy Universe.
Produced using sets and costumes left over from the Stephen Chiau comedy HAIL THE JUDGE, this Wong Jing production can be accused of a lot of things -- but few would call it boring. Particularly memorable is a send-up of the pottery wheel scene in Ghost, accompanied (as in the American film) by "Unchained Melody," played here on Chinese instruments (after witnessing what goes on here, you'll never be able to think of that song again without laughing and / or wincing)! Also unforgettable is a sex scene between C-III regulars Elvis Tsui and Julie Lee. Playing martial arts masters, the two engage in wild, gravity-defying sexual stances like "Invincible Mouth," "Oral Attack," "Invincible Wheel," and "Wonder Screw," with their superhuman pelvic slamming accompanied by video game-style sound FX! Obviously not for all tastes, the film can be marginally enjoyable if approached in the right frame of mind (assuming that is at all possible) but some all-too-serious misogyny, torture, and sexual violence make parts very hard to endure and negatively color the entire experience. Director Bosco Lam went on to write the original story for VIVA EROTICA, and clips from TORTURE CHAMBER appear in that film during a sequence where Leslie Cheung and Law Kar-ying go to the movies. The unrelated (and far less financially successful) CHINESE TORTURE CHAMBER STORY II followed in 1998.
Yvonne Hung and Lawrence Ng. Image courtesy Universe.
Lawrence Ng. Image courtesy Universe.