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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Horror > Human Lanterns (1982/Image DVD)

Human Lanterns (1982/Image DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Main Program: C+



The Show Brothers try to cross the Horror genre (specifically Italian Giallo films) with the Martial Arts film in Sun Chung’s Human Lanterns (1982) and the hope was for a genre-buster like Super Inframan (reviewed elsewhere on this site) but instead, the Horror aspect is limited and the aspects never gel.  Still, the final fights are interesting and this is one of the more ambitious later Shaw productions.


Set in an earlier century, a lantern-making contest turns deadly when two men are made deadly rivals to each other while a maniac is on the loose capturing, torturing, killing and even peeling the skins off of his victims.  The title refers to beheadings as well, but despite the ambition, action and creepy scenes, the film never adds up and becomes an awkward curio at best as such genre mixes kept failing by the early 1980s.  It is still worth a look.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 ShawScope image looks nice and colorful, but the transfer has made it softer than a film of its age should be.  Too bad, because this is a nice shoot and a candidate for Blu-ray release.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is barely stereo and sounds good, but not great, showing its age.  Extras include a bunch of Shaw trailers, stills, an alternate version of the “skin peel scene” and an interview with Shawn Yin Yin, the female star of choice at the time by the Shaw’s in a piece entitled Shaw’s Baby Doll.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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