The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968)

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I think if you’ve read my review for The Brides of Fu Manchu, I mention how The Blood of Fu Manchu came next and then came The Castle of Fu Manchu even though the events from The Castle of Fu Manchu reference the events in The Brides of Fu Manchu, entirely skipping over those in The Blood of Fu Manchu.  And indeed, The Blood of Fu Manchu tells an entirely different story from that one.  It’s not like you need to watch these ridiculous films in any particular order to get what’s going on.  But, I just thought I’d clear that up if you were wondering.

For what it’s worth, The Blood of Fu Manchu was directed by Jess Franco, which makes the movie a bit more compelling in spite its stupidity and needlessly complicated plot.  Plus there’s quintessential Franco-isms like women chained by their hands from the ceiling having their clothes ripped from them.  Unfortunately, there isn’t nearly as much naughty stuff as what would be in later Franco films either because he had to conform to the Fu Manchu premise or because of the fascist Spanish censors.

Anyway, Christopher Lee reprises his role as Fu Manchu, the evil one who wants to take over the world for no particular reason.  This time he’s holed up in a temple in the amazon, where he holds women captive, administers snake venom to them and sends them off to kill his enemies via a kiss; hence the hilarious American title Kiss and Kill where Christopher Lee’s character isn’t called Fu Manchu but Mr. Evil.

Now, while it’s not hard to follow, the plot for this film is still needlessly convoluted, switching to a group of Mexican banditos that are led by a big, fat guy and invade some town, kill a bunch of people, steal stuff and rape the women – who, ya know, kind of enjoy it since it is Franco’s world, after all.  Then a bunch of other stuff happens involving a couple of brave, white guys who go to stop Fu Manchu – hey, I never said these movies were PC! – and there is some action and other stuff.  Also, a woman gets run over by a car so that’s cool.  Look, it’s not bad but there’s not much to say for Fu Manchu films.  They are what they are.

Also, if you’re one of those people who just watches the movie and doesn’t care for the special features, watch them this time.  Jess Franco talks about his fascination with Sax Romer’s novels and the interviews with Lee and Tsai Chin, who plays Fu Manchu’s assistant, provide some pretty interesting insight as well.  Chin admitted that these films and the concept of the “yellow peril”, as campy as it is, are indeed very racist and that it was either take these parts or not work.  Lee also didn’t feel too comfortable about the role; both morally and physically since he didn’t enjoy the amount of makeup needed to look Asian.  It’s also revealed that the reason Lee took so many Dracula roles is because Hammer had already sold the rights to the next sequel without asking and basically told Lee that he could walk away from the films if he wanted to put people out of work.  As he said in the interview, “that’s blackmail, isn’t it?”

One thought on “The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968)

  1. Pingback: A Century of American Dreams and Nightmares of China | pundit from another planet

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