Reviewed by: Frank Lakatos
Summary: Philip Chan Yan Kin's experienced writes out one of the last and best........
Night Caller(1985) Philip Chan Yan Kin's experienced writes out one of
the last and best slasher movies Hong Kong has ever produced. Very well
written, Chan utilizes darkness and emotional contrast(the holidays
happiness and murder) and complicated characterizations, excellent
dialogue, style, and class to make an incredible horror movie. Philip
Chan Yan Kin's tough characterization and the use of the loud kickboxing sound effects(used in the mid 80's around that time in the Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung movies) intensifies the story. Melvin Wong and to the
beautiful Pauline Wong adds quality and class to the movie. Many critics have been critical to it's humor(there was a traumatized child in the movie,
so understandably she must be cheered up, and Melvin Wong doe shis best,
yet he is misundertood by some limited minded critics) as these critics
forget that Philip Chan Yan Kin, a former cop, knows what he is writing
about, and knows more about crimes than 20 other Hong Kong an!
d Hollywood script writers, and it shows with this movie and work the
Long Arm of the Law series. This movie is a psychological horror movie,
so this is where the similarities end with Argento. The opening was
probably a tribute to Argento, just to get the oace and intensity
going, but the rest is all Phillip Chan Yan Kin. The lesbian overtones are extremely exffective, the music theme is classy, as well as the rest of the actors, actresses, and the production. Pauline Wong, I think she plays Melvin Wong's wife, is very beautiful and soft spoken, compared to the loud and spunky contrasts of Hong Kong women around that time. Even
today, there are still many slasher movies being made, but none can
complete with the class and completeness of this movie. The last
quality Hong Kong slasher giallo ever made. Becaus ethe Hong Kong industry was geared to bad comedies and horrifyingly bad cutsey romance comedies, box office sales were moderate, so Philip Chan was underated and relegated to appearing cameo roles, and later directed an indepedant production Tongs: A Triad Story(1988), which was completely underfunded and an abortion. Philip Chan's last quality movie. This movie is only available on VHS through Rainbow Video, now owned Tai Seng. The Ocean Shores VCD is now out of print, which isn't a big deal, most of the movie takes place at night, where it is difficult or impossible at times to clearly see what is going on(I had to listen to the sound effects to get an
idea of what was happening), as ocean Shores VCD's are horrible with night
contrast scenes, where the reception of the scenes are zero. But the
excellent acting, script, and production values of the movie compensates for the quality of transfer. Because it is an underated movie, it will never be remastered. Paulo Tocha has a small cameo as a party drunk in a bar who fights with Chan. Superior. *****/*****
Reviewed by: STSH
Summary: Competent crime thriller
First of all, something puzzling. All the credits, front and back, are in English only. At least, that's how it was on the Ocean Shores LD copy I watched. Yet the dialogue was in the original Cantonese, and there were no subs ! What on earth were the distributors thinking ?
Reviewer Score: 6
However, if you don't understand Chinese, this is no problem. The film has high production values and is very well made, and the story is very clear and easy to follow. As a bonus (?), there are far more English phrases and expressions sprinkled around than the average HK film.
The territory is fairly much standard Western crime thriller stuff with a few interesting twists. The support cast seems to feature HK veterans by the dozen, and this helps towards the overall impression of a professionally-made film.
Not that it's all that great. I can't say that I really felt much for any of the characters, even the extremely cute (and, curiously for a HK film, completely non-annoying) little girl, and even when the detective is captured and tortured, I wasn't that concerned if he was rescued or not.
If you're tired of gritty and gory cop shows, or slashers spoiled by too much silliness, NIGHT CALLER may provide a pleasant change. Lukewarm recommendation.