"Skip this shit."
Bangkok Haunted (2000)
Director: Pisuth Praesanegaim (first and second segments), Oxide Pang-Shun (third segment)
Writer: Pisuth Praesanegaim
Producer: Pisuth Praesanegaim
Cast: Pete Thong-Jeur, Pramote Sangsorn, Pimsiree Pimsee, Dawan Singha-Wee, Kalyanut Sriboonrueng
Running Time: 130 min.
Plot: Three horror tales linked by the theme of revenge from beyond the grave. Gee, it's a wonder nobody has used that before.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
NUMSKULL'S REVIEW: Three nattering women in a bar each fire off a horror story aimed at the viewer. The first two miss, and the third inflicts only a minor flesh wound. Better luck next time, ladies.
To start things off, we have either "Legend of the Drum" or "Arm of the Dancer" depending on who you want to believe and whether or not you want a spoiler concerning what body part of which character gets sealed inside a drum. (You didn't? Oh well.) This alternates between the present day and the past, beginning in 1917 but soon fast forwarding a decade or so. Paga is a girl whose father is dead and who has been taken in by a music instructor. Gnod is a dumb ugly drummer who is belittled and ignored by everyone except Paga. Fond is the dashing young gentleman who is smitten with Paga. And in the present day, Jieb, an antique dealer played by the same actress who portrays Paga, gets an old drum she didn't order with her latest shipment.
So, you're not stupid, right? You can see where this is going, right? There's no need for me to continue, right? Good.
The next story also has two titles: "Corpse Oil" and "Black Magic Woman". Now this is just silly. We've got this rather loose woman named Pan who starts using a mystical aphrodisiac called Ply Essence to enchant men who strike her fancy and then fuck their brains out. So there's supposed to be this seductive quality to her. The problem is, when we are first introduced to her, she is shown sitting on the john (THE john, mind you, not A John) with her panties around her ankles. Oooh, yeah, I want summathat, baby. The only thing sexier than watching a sexy woman take a sexy leak is watching her ride the brown banana express, and since we can't tell which one she's doing, we can use our shameful imaginations to get the best of both worlds. Major turn-off, though, when Pan's first victim is taken to a temple for an exorcism and starts spewing slimy yellow puke all over the place. The dude's mouth is like a fire hose. I mean, that's gross, y'know?
There is one good moment in here; when a flower delivery guy has to share an elevator with a zombie, and he can't figure out what that nasty smell is. It's just a stupid little comic relief scene that takes a handful of seconds, and it's probably the best part of the whole film. Now how sad is that?
The third and (thank God) final story is "Revenge", from Oxide Pang, better known for "The Eye" and "Bangkok Dangerous." This doesn't suck as much as the first two, but it's still nothing to write home about. A detective named Nop is trying to determine whether a recent death is a suicide or a murder. Gunya, the dead girl, makes some generally unhelpful appearances. There are a few chilling moments here, the most memorable of which is a semi-obscured shot of a coat hanger abortion in progress; the pregnant mother is not what you would call a willing participant. As if we all didn't know already, the evil that men do is far more hideous than any ghost or goblin, yadda yadda yadda. Let's not overstate the matter.
The film makers were apparently very concerned that we realize what these characters' favorite movies are. Jieb and Nop wear T-shirts for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Fiddler on the Roof", respectively, and that slut Pan has posters in her apartment for "Warriors of Virtue" (that Ronny Yu "I wanna be the next Jim Henson" shit) and "Godzilla" (the Hollywood version with Ferris B...uh, Matthew Broderick). This gives us, the audience, something to think about besides how much "Bangkok Haunted" sucks ass. Awfully considerate of them, don't you think?
Skip this shit. Or at least the first two thirds of it. And don't knock yourself out just trying to watch the last one. There; I have spoken.
NUMSKULL'S RATING: "Arm of the Dancer"/"Legend of the Drum": 3/10; "Corpse Oil"/"Black Magic Woman": 2/10; "Revenge": 5/10; Overall: 3/10