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October 8th, 2001 Issue #77a

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

Sex Medusa
(2001; My Way Film Company)

Cover art courtesy Kam.

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Sau sing nan shun
Mandarin: Shou xing nan xun
English: Animal Nature Hard To Tame


Although a band of flame thrower-wielding troops manage to locate and torch a large nest of snake eggs hidden in the sewers, one of the creatures eludes them. Upon reaching the street, it transforms into a young, naked girl (played by Japanese porn star Miho Nomoto, known to her Cantonese fans as Ching Kar-mei) who is discovered the next morning by lonely widower Choi (Elvis Tsui Kam-kong). Thinking that this strange new guest is an illegal immigrant, he lets her stay in his home and dubs her "Fong" (the English subtitles actually identify her as Shit Fong, but I'll go with the short form for the sake of propriety). Quickly smitten, Choi (who has been unable to make love ever since accidentally killing his wife) quite willingly overlooks Fong's bizarre behavior and rather unusual dining habits (like a propensity for eating chickens fresh out of the backyard and swallowing eggs, shell and all).

Choi's cousin, Marco (Vincent Wan Yeung-ming), is constantly hanging around, trying to weasel some capital for a business deal but really needs the money to pay off some murderous loan sharks. His assistant, Grace (Carrie Ng Kar-lai, looking more alluring than her sometimes naked co-star), has been conducting DNA experiments on snakes and spiders, in order to come up with a way to make pests attack and destroy each other. She immediately detects something strange about Choi's new houseguest and suspects that Fong is ready to try and reproduce. When the triads break two of his fingers (which magically seem to have healed themselves by the next scene), a desperate Marco takes radical action to get the money he feels his rich cousin owes him.

Miho Nomoto. Image courtesy Kam.

While not as much fun as last year's exquisitely strange PHANTOM OF SNAKE, this goofy horror thriller is more ambitious and enjoyable than one might expect. Nomoto isn't much of an actress but Fong (much like the snakewomen from the various adaptations of "White Snake") is successfully depicted as a sympathetic figure, with her "animal naviety" making her a better "human" than the real thing. However, lest SEX MEDUSA be mistaken for anything other than the low-rent exploitation film it is, director Lo Wai-tak employs lots of cheesy but colorful CGI FX, showing Nomoto transforming between human and reptile, having snakes sprout from her head, becoming instantly pregnant after sex with Wan, etc. It all adds up to gruesome and schlocky fun for undemanding horror fans but animal lovers are warned that the movie also contains mondo-style footage of real snakes fighting, being burned alive, or stuck with syringes, as well as a pair of tarantulas squaring off to the death. The packaging carries the IIB rating, while the Category III logo appears before the actual presentation. There is plenty of ghastly imagery and Nomoto appears in the buff on several occasions, so this version probably is indeed adults-only.

VCD Specs:

Kam / Jumbo Plain #VCD 088
Mandarin Left Channel / Cantonese Right Channel (both post-synched)
Chinese and English Subtitles
99 Minutes
PAL Format
Contains mid-range violence, gore, horror imagery, cruelty to animals, nudity, and sexual content


Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Hong Kong: CAT-III
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]


Unlike the vast majority of spherical HK films, SEX MEDUSA was shot unmatted, so the fullscreen presentation simply opens up the top and bottom of the frame, with no obvious cropping of the sides. The image is rather pasty and compression flaws are commonplace. The subtitles are also noisy and this distortion occasionally intrudes on portions of the image as well. The Cantonese track is okay but the Mandarin dub is rather harsh and distorted. There are quite a few voiceovers in the film and the subs have been synched to the Mandarin version. So, if you are listening to the Cantonese track, there are numerous instances where the translation does not arrive until sometime after people are heard. The break between discs is less-than-ingeniously placed right in the middle of a sentence.The VCD is formatted for that PAL systems, so the picture may look vertically stretched on some NTSC DVD players. Kam also offers this on PAL DVD.

SEX MEDUSA is available at Poker Industries.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000, 2001. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

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