With a title drawn from the tagline to Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), a plot inspired by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and a soundtrack stolen from Suspiria (1976), this crazy cannibal comedy has director Tsui Hark forgo the art-house ambitions of his feature debut, The Butterfly Murders (1979), for down and dirty exploitation.
Hark often claims the film was his homage to Roger Corman, but the tone is somewhat nearer to an Italian cannibal movie fused with the Three Stooges.
Secret agent 999 (Norman Tsui Siu-Keung, in a rare good guy role) arrives on a remote island in pursuit of missing master criminal Rolex (Melvin Wong). What he doesn’t know is the island holds a town full of cackling cannibals, led by the psychotic Chief of Police (Eddie Ko).
Barely escaping the local slaughterhouse, the kung fu skilled, but rather dim 999 is approached by Rolex, who proposes an alliance to overthrow the chief. But when that plan goes awry, 999 and a small-time thief (Hon Kwok-Choi) are forced to flee hordes of hungry flesh-eaters (“Fresh meat! Fresh meat!”).
Instead of Leatherface, our heroes flee dozens of metal masked, cleaver-wielding cannibal killers in action scenes equal parts Cannibal Holocaust (1979) and Tom & Jerry.
The non-stop barrage of chases, hair-raising close calls and near-death escapes grows tiresome and repetitive. Gorehounds will be kept happy, but amidst the lunacy, the various plot threads never really go anywhere.
Hark weaves in subplots concerning the chief’s disaffected girlfriend who develops an amorous interest in 999, plus a gigantic transvestite out to sexually molest the heroes.
The cannibals are played by an array of veteran comic character actors, cast for their goofy looks – a point Hark underlines in the opening credits that play over a collection of cartoon grotesques.
For the climax, the film serves up a crazed smorgasbord involving roller-skating kung fu, firecrackers and spoof references to Peking Opera, Wong Fei Hung and Abraham Lincoln.
Norman Tsui Sui-Keung
Chief of Police
Eddy Ko (as Hung Gao)
Melvin Wong (as Kam-seng Wong)
Daughter of Village Head
Tin Sang Lung