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...it would be by making movies like this. There are bad movies and then there are BAD movies. And then -- only THEN -- there's The Castle of Fu Manchu. Any attempt to find a plot will leave you exhausted after only the first few camera shots. But strangely, you find yourself thinking, "well, I must have missed something" or "well, I'm sure I'll catch on here in a minute" or "well, I'm sure this all comes clear in the end somehow." By the time you have sat through the whole thing, you could clean carpets by dragging your head across the floor. Some films are hilariously bad. Some are disturbingly bad. This one is just vacuously bad. This mass of completely wasted celluloid has got to be the worst movie from the third category of bad that you could ever find. My hope, for those of you who haven't yet seen it, is that you never never find yourself face to screen with it. You don't know how lucky you are and how very much I envy you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rightly criticized as the worst of the '60s Fu Manchu films. It's cobbled together from other films (inlcuding past Fu Manchu films) with a new story line thrown in. Fu Manchu (Christopher Lee) plans on putting crystals into the world's water supply, freezing humanity and...it's never really clear why, but it doesn't matter. This is an awful film. Jesus Franco must have had his eyes closed directing this one. Lee appears bored senseless and Richard Greene is back as Nayland Smith. Tsai Chin is also on hand as Lee's equally nasty daughter. The script, if you can call it that, features far too many characters, some with seemingly interchangeable names...it's not really possible to keep track of them. Maria Perschy, who worked previously with the likes of John Huston & Howard Hawks plays "Marie" but is frequently referred to as Ingrid. Her hair color also appears to change inexplicably. Franco himself plays Inspector Ahmet.
I saw this film on an episode of MST3K, I saw it had Christopher Lee in it and was part of a franchise so I was thinking this was going to be one of the better films featured on the series. For one, I enjoy Christopher Lee as an actor, his presence in a film usually raises the film up a peg or two in terms of quality. Then if they had made previous movies, then this one could not be to bad. However, it is one of the last films in the series and like Lee's Dracula movies, the last one is the weakest. Though the Dracula movies did not have the problem this one did and that problem can be summed up in one word...boring! It started out okay, as a ship runs into an iceberg, but I wonder if that even came from this movie as it looked like something out of a titanic film. I am thinking at this point that is pretty cool, perhaps this will be one of those films that can rank a five or six, but you still get some good riffs in. I was wrong, there is just not a lot happening in this movie. Fu Manchu plans to freeze the ocean, considering how much effort it took to make one lousy iceberg appear I am kind of doubtful he would of been able to do much at all. Never fear though, an agent named Smith is out to stop him, a more bland hero I have never seen. I am thinking James Bond could of walked right into the castle and everybody would have immediately surrendered. Lee's Manchu character is not nearly as menacing as his Dracula and his daughter did look like That Girl. Once again, I can not believe how boring this thing was, there was no real conclusion, it almost appears as if things would have ended up badly for Fu Manchu even if he did not have a nemesis and a lot of pointless plot points make this film super weak. I would watch the other two or three films just to see if perhaps they were more enjoyable and if this film is just a case of the makers getting lazy.
Forget *Plan 9 From Outer Space*. *Fu Manchu* is far and away the worst movie ever made. Even the Mystery Science Theater crowd said it was worse than anything else they had ever seen. Why they bothered to dub it is a mystery to me, since even in a language the audience can speak the film is so hopelessly incoherent that no sane person--and few insane persons--could possibly discern what is happening throughout the bulk of the movie. I cannot help but wonder why I am even wasting my time and energy in writing a review, except to say that if you want to see a classic example of how *not* to write a screenplay, see this film, but if you have any other motive in mind, avoid it like the plague.
I normally love to watch bad movies, but this sure is the worst of them all! No plot, no interesting characters, just a few shots put together. I cannot imagine that there were actually people working seriously on this project. I heard there were six Fu Manchu movies contracted, lets be thankful that this 5th was the last!
I cannot believe how bad this movie is!! I should have expected it coming
from Jess Franco, the schlockmaster of Eurotrash but I wasn't even prepared
for the intense pain that this film caused. What in the hell was
Christopher Lee thinking? Granted, he has been in some bombs but this has
got to be the very bottom of the barrel. Richard Greene had pretty much
become a has-been when this film was made but,unless he was desperate for
money, he should have known better. I often wonder how actors can hold
their heads up after appearing in films of this caliber....it must be
The faults of "Castle" are just too numerous to mention but a few of them go something like this: they were obviously having power failures during filming since the shots are either totally dark or green; the actors can't act (even Lee is bad here) and the badly written dialogue often doesn't match the "action"; the fight scenes involving overweight, over age Greene are embarrasing to watch: the premise of the story (freezing the oceans or whatever they were attempting to do)is feeble; and then there is the "doorway to eternity" which leads to the front porch! Huh?
So......if you are looking for a movie so bad that it is good, this is not the one. Watch "Plan 9 From Outer Space" for those kinds of laughs. "Castle" is harmful to small children and animanls and should be avoided at all costs.....even if you are a Chrisopher Lee fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is a total hack job--cheap throughout, dull and slapped
together with no regard for the pain inflicted on the poor audience.
Despite being a truly terribly movie, it's also apparent that there is
a group of people out there (probably Christopher Lee fans) who have
slammed all the understandably negative reviews with gobs of "not
helpfuls". Take a look--see what I mean. Many films that scored it 2 or
3 (which it clearly deserved) are slapped with many such appellations.
Yet, considering how almost all the reviews are this negative (or
worse) and the overall score just above 2 (that's pathetic), idiots
think they are showing loyalty to their odd little cult by slamming the
reviews! Get a grip, folks.
The film is a terrible mess and it's obvious in the first five minutes. When you see footage taken from A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (a black and white film) and it's spliced into new color footage, it just looks sloppy. Plus, the lab scene with Bert Kwouk seems to be lacking all context as well as common sense. Just after Fu Manchu explains the system's failsafe mechanism to prevent explosion, he then goes on to completely ignore it--with very predictable results. He also later threatens the world with extortion even though he hasn't worked out all the details of his plan--including obtaining the important formula that only one very, very sickly man knows--and he'd rather die than help Manchu!! In fact, Fu is a total idiot throughout the film--killing off allies, needlessly wasting minions and soldiers, ignoring all advice and being the complete embodiment of all the dumb clichés about super-villains. Every stupid mistake made by the Blofelds, Scaramangas, Dr. Evils, etc. of the world are all made by this moron in one film!! Yet, despite having the IQ of a tomato, the audience is expected to believe he's a threat to mankind!? Maybe Fu should have consulted the Evil Ovelord web site (at www.eviloverlord.com) to avoid making all these mistakes.
As for the rest of the film, apart from lifting footage from A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, footage at the end of the film is very sloppily added from other films as well. The action is also dull and the film slogs along to a very pathetic and anticlimactic conclusion. Considering that the film had Christopher Lee (at about 6'6"--an interesting choice to play a Chinese criminal) and that the previous films in the series had been reasonably engaging, it's no wonder this final pathetic film marked the end to this series. Avoid like the plague--a truly sloppy and unengaging film.
Am I wrong? I swear that "Gustavo Re" actually is Burt Young of Rocky fame. It was said on MST3K that this was the case and other people making comments have said this. It looks exactly like him. Could the world be unfortunate enough to have two Young brothers separated at birth?
This little nothing was really bad. As a struggling law student, I
often watch horrible films because I don't need to pay attention or
even care for the damn thing. This film, however, was a total waste of
time. Christopher Lee, shame on you for playing Fu Manchu in this. Even
though I have a lot of respect for Christopher Lee, this was definitely
not one of his finer performances. The whole thing was really awful.
The plot is that Fu Manchu is trying to take over the world using a machine fueled with opium that freezes water and creates ice bergs. That's really about it. I don't think that I can elaborate on it much (at least in any way that would make sense).
The cast is mediocre (again, Chris Lee was their shining star), the script was a crime (the dialogue was pretty bad), and despite there being some talent the whole thing was totally sub-par. What really got me was how they casted Spainish or Latin American guys as Chinese soldiers. AAAARRRUUUUGGGGHHH. Did they think that we wouldn't notice? This was bad, but not quite so bad as something like "Manos the Hands of Fate." Don't bother with it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Director Jess Franco and producer Harry Alan Towers delivered a pretty
decent thriller with THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU. Unfortunately, the same
team failed miserably with this awful, incoherent disaster.
The movie opens with the evil genius (again played by Christopher Lee, looking uncomfortably bored throughout) announcing to the world his plans to freeze the Earth's oceans. We then cut to a ludicrously out of place sequence stolen from an old German movie about the Titanic sinking. The shipwreck footage is in black and white, while the rest of the movie is in color. No explanation is even attempted! The rest of the movie seems to have been edited together from leftover footage from an aborted Fu Manchu project. The story goes nowhere, and the movie comes to such an abrupt conclusion, it almost seemed like the print I was watching was missing a few scenes! But, I look at Blue Underground's gorgeous new DVD proves that, no, that was the movie just as Franco and Towers made it.
There's none of the bizarre trashiness of BLOOD OF FU MANCHU here, just a yawn inducing series of brainless exposition and scenes of people running down dark corridors. The only thing that really makes the Blue Underground DVD worth the purchase is the terrific documentary featuring interviews with Frano and Lee.
The scariest thing about THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU is that it's a truly terrible movie, yet it's far better that 90% of Franco's other work! Skip it unless you're a die-hard completist.
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