Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Oily Maniac (油鬼子) (1976)

First, I have to admit that I was mostly attracted to this one due to the title and the amazing poster. Thank god I wasn’t wrong to pick it up, The Oily Maniac is one of those great B-movies that you come across very rarely, it just have everything to make it to any midnight-madness screenings. I was particularly happy when I saw the cool studio outdoor set mixed with the Technicolor lighting effects and all this in glorious 2.35:1 widescreen. Now, throw in a young Danny Lee, an over the top story and some boobs and you get a wild ride from the Shaw Brothers studio (which are mostly known for their kung-fu flicks).
So here's the story: A father, his daughter and a friend of the family, Li Hsiu-hsien, own a coconut-oil company. They get in trouble when criminals want to take over their business. The father is thrown in prison. The daughter and the cripple, Li Hsiu-hsien, are left behind. When the daughter fails to return the love of Li he turns to a magic spell to become strong.
The spell transforms him into an oily monster/superhero that kills criminals. Li, while working in a law firm, stumbles upon a plot from his boss to steal the coconut-oil company. After the criminals killed his love he goes on a killing spree to have his revenge. As the powerful oily maniac he is impossible to kill, and is able to transform himself into a pool of oil to hunt down the killers.
Of course the costume for the monster is as good as any alien creature out of a Star-Trek episode from the 60’s but hey! It’s a monster made out of oil, so what do you expect? Added to that, our hero/vigilante has many superhuman abilities but the fun part is you can clearly see that the actor can barely move in that costume, reminding me of Michael Keaton in 1989 Batman. Another surprising aspect of that movie is how accurate and fast every event happen for example, when Li Hsiu-hsien (Danny Lee) asks to the girl he likes if she loves him and she answers that she already have someone, then 2 seconds later that “someone” just arrive at home and kisses the girl right in front of the poor Li. If that wasn’t enough, Li decides to leave the house to go back home (it then starts raining), but he suddenly decides to have a peek back at the house only to witness them making love on the bed (that is 10 seconds after he left). The Oily maniac is full of surprises and it also has a misogynistic aura to it, which we don’t see very often in movies nowadays.

You Gui Zi

Meng Hua Ho
Danny Lee
Ping Chen
Tien Lung Chen