Sensational, provocative, exciting, exhilarating, perversely kinky and over-the-top violent! Welcome to the world of Taiwan Black Movies, 1979 to 1983. Between the sappy romances with Brigitte Lin (Chungking Express) and the Taiwanese New Wave, the nation made its mark in the exploitation arena with its indigenous genre, Taiwan Black Movies. The films were inspired by true-crime events, beginning with The First Error Step (1979), which was widely successful, and remarkable for its stark violence. Similar films quickly followed, getting ever crazier and reaching outrageous extremes of sensational violence. A sub-genre of female revenge films, featuring women engaging in nasty killings, included the classic Lady Avenger (which some consider to be the original Kill Bill). The films were laced with political and social undertones reflecting the sentiments of the nation. The KMT government eventually killed off the genre to pave way for the more auteur-driven Taiwan New Wave. Itís incredible that over 100 Black Movies were produced, and many of them are now lost or heavily damaged, even though they were released during the toddler years of home video.
Director Hou has created a compelling documentary using some of the most exhilarating footage that has survived, and complemented that with intelligent and insightful interviews from key Black Movie participants such as Chu Ying Ping (writer of First Error Step), Yang Chia Yun (director of Lady Avenger) and the Queen of Taiwan Black Cinema, actress Liu Hsiao-Fen. Anecdotes from these participants about how films were rushed to meet theatrical deadlines, how gangsters got involved, and how the sight of a few frames of a womanís nipple passed censors, excited viewers and paved the way to box-office nirvana. Exciting clips range from the striking shot of a prisonerís walking feet in The First Error Step, actress Liu Hsiao-Fen slashing her own chest with a knife in The Shanghai Society Files, an army of bikini-clad female ninjas killing men, female prisoners in a concentration camp, and much more. They donít make them as crazy as they used to. Add in some political, historical and social commentary, youíve got yourself a fascinating journey to the nationís cinematic past, one you wonít find on IMDB or Amazon.
Director: Hou Chi-Jan
Screenplay: Hou Chi-Jan
Cast: Liu Hsiao-Fen
Producers: Yang Yuan-Ling, Chen Ching-Yu
Distributor: Hou Chi-Jan
1981 | 89 min
Mandarin language, English subtitles