Issue #254a           HOME          E-mail: Contact Us        BACK ISSUES             March 7th, 2005

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We're Going to Eat You
(1980; Seasonal Film Corporation)

Cantonese: Dei yuk mo moon
Mandarin: Di yu wu men
English: No Door In Hell

 

RATING: 7/10

REVIEW:

Tsui Hark's second film, WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU is a gory, but wacky, fast-paced horror comedy that was no more successful at the box office than his classy wuxia pian, THE BUTTERFLY MURDERS (1979). Thanks to its notoriety with critics and unforgettable title, the film has managed to develop a small cult following in the West, despite the exceedingly poor quality video transfers available prior to this DVD release. A most unconventional civil servant known as CSA Agent #999 (Norman Tsui Siu-keung) is ordered to arrest notorious thief Rolex (Melvin Wong Kam-sun), who makes his home on a remote island. What 999 doesn't know is that the place is populated almost entirely by cannibals and he barely escapes with his life after foolishly entering the local slaughterhouse. Rolex wants to leave the island but cannot because of orders from the colony's chief, so he reveals himself to martially skilled but not-very-bright 999 in the hopes that they can join forces to escape. When that plan fails, Rolex tries to murder The Chief (Eddy Ko Hung) but ends up dead himself, leaving 999 and another unfortunate traveller (Hon Kwok-choi) to battle the hordes of hungry killers themselves.

David Wu Norman Tsui Hon Kwok-choi

Some critics have identified the island of flesh eaters (personified by a collection of HK’s strangest looking character actors, including Fung Fung, San Kuai, and Tam Tin-nam) as a metaphor for Communist China but such a parallel seems fairly labored (The Chief's motto, "If you don't eat people, they'll eat you!" sounds more akin to capitalist dogma, if anything). It is more likely that the project takes its inspiration from THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and Italian horror pictures like MAN FROM DEEP RIVER, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, and Zombi 2 (for its US release as ZOMBIE, the Lucio Fulci picture was advertised with the tagline "We Are Going to Eat You!"), mixing their central ideas and images with uniquely Chinese situations and humor (including jokes about everyone from Wong Fei-hong to Abraham Lincoln!). The droll kung fu battles (choreographed by Corey Yuen Kwai and Chin Yuet-sang) and a subplot involving a love-stricken transvestite (played by giant-sized Hsiao Chin) provide a preview of the slapstick that would figure in Tsui's next picture, the marvelous gangster movie spoof ALL THE WRONG CLUES (...FOR THE RIGHT SOLUTION) (1981), which finally brought him some commercial success. However, this time out, the non-stop barrage of manic chases, close calls, and daring escapes eventually grow a bit wearisome through repetition. Regardless, there is some incredible physical and charnel house comedy here, along with impeccably staged action, making WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU a one-of-a-kind venture that should definitely be seen by both horror fans and students of Tsui's work. Portions of the soundtrack have been lifted from Goblin’s inimitable score for SUSPIRIA and work quite well here. Actor/director/editor David Wu Tai-wai appears briefly in the opening reel as a chicken-hunting bumpkin who ends up getting sawed in half by the masked madmen.

Eddy Ko (left), Fung Fung Melvin Wong Hon Kwok-choi (left), Hsiao Chin


PRESENTATION:

Locating a good quality, uncut video copy of WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU with legible subtitles has been exceedingly difficult and Mei Ah’s new anamorphic DVD is almost everything one could hope for. The negatives for producer Ng See-yuen’s Seasonal Film Corporation library were stored with no thought given towards preservation but, thankfully, the image looks quite good, with only some intermittent wear and minor staining present (the latter appear almost exclusively during the oft-excised gore sequences, suggesting the marriage of two different elements). Colors are a bit subdued and mildly yellowed in spots, and brief instances of artificial slow motion conceal missing frames, but the extremely clean and detailed picture more than makes up for it. The Cantonese and Mandarin mono tracks are a tad distorted but bearable, and the optional subtitles are 100% legible. There are no worthwhile extras (a single page synopsis and an extremely small cast listing) but the DVD (which comes with an outer cardboard sleeve like the other entries in this label’s "HD" series) remains a very satisfying release regardless.

This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Mei Ah. To read captions, hover mouse over image.


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DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC Region 0
  • Mei Ah Entertainment #DVD-664
  • Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Post-synced Cantonese and Mandarin Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional & Simplified Chinese
  • 8 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (2.39:1)
  • 90 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Great Britain:
  • Ontario: R
  • Quebec: 13+
  • Singapore:
  • Contains brutal violence

FILM REVIEW RATINGS KEY:

  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful