Tag Archives: Asian cinema

Really Awful Movies: Ep 273 – Mystery of Chessboxing



On this week’s episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, some 70s kung fu styles with this effort, Mystery of Chessboxing.

The film’s notoriety is twofold: 1) it inspired Wu Tang’s Da Mystery of Chessboxin, a great song by the Wu with RZA and ODB production and a Method Man chorus and 2) it introduced the world to The Ghost Face Killer, a massive eye-browed grey-maned old-timer ass-kicker with a martial arts style based on the Five Elements.

The film focuses on young Ah Pao, who wants to learn kung fu so that he can avenge his father’s death at the hands of the Ghost Faced Killer (Mark Long). He enrolls in a kung fu school, and becomes an apprentice, procuring rice for the faculty and students. And he’s tested, of course, and improves his skills (of course) but not in the way you might think. Genre fans will definitely get a kick out of (no pun intended) the appearance of Simon Yuen, chop-socky stalwart, in the role of a cook at the school (Yuen is known for Drunken Master and Story of Drunken Master).

Ah Pao is eventually booted from the school and eventually comes under the tutelage of a chess master, master Chi Sue Tin (played by Jack Long). Together, they figure out a way they can take out Ghost Face Killer and the film culminates in an outrageous battle to the death.

There’s board games, strategy, montages, and of course, an incredible amount of ass-kicking for which the Golden Era of kung fu films was known.

 


Really Awful Movies: Ep 242 – Baskin



On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, a sensational, Italian-style hard-horror coming to us from of all places, Turkey. Baskin debuted at TIFF’s Midnight Madness and caused a bit of a stir. And rightly so.

Now, Turkey is known for a spate of rip-off movies. There’s a Turkish Star Wars, Star Trek, E.T., Superman, Exorcist, Death Wish, and they’re all unbelievably bad. But of course, the country has produced some great cinema too.

Baskin is a dreamscape that follows six reprobate policemen, officers of the law who are by all accounts louts and shouldn’t really be in charge of keeping order. While on call to a remote town, the driver thinks he sees a figure dart out onto the road, swerves to avoid it, and puts the police van in the ditch.

From there, the men emerged with bruised egos and wet clothes, but face a much more perilous predicament. The group, comprising some jaded veterans but also young bucks, venture into the forest. It’s there they might a group of demented hillbilly folk. But expect the unexpected. From there, they explore a precinct abandoned since the glory days of the Ottoman Empire.

Baskin is a marvel. Bask in its glory (apologies). The film debut of Can Evrenol, based on his 2013 short film by the same name, is influenced by all the good stuff. While not exactly re-inventing the wheel, it pays home to (but doesn’t rip-off) the godfathers of Italian horror: Bava, Fulci, Argento.

On this episode, we talk Turkey (apologies again, dammit). What makes this film so unnerving and odd? What is it about Turkish culture that produced something so transgressive? We dive in headlong.

It’s available through Raven Banner. Buy it, track it down somehow…and listen to our chat!