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House of Traps (1982)

Chong xiao lou (original title)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Feng Lu ...
Hua Chong - the Butterfly
Li Wang ...
Deng Che
Tien Hsiang Lung ...
Shen Zhong Yuan
Chien Sun ...
Yan Chun Min
...
Bai Yu Tang - the Rat
Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok ...
Zhi Hua - the Black Fox (as Kuo Chui)
Ke Chu ...
Lu Fang - the Sky Rat
Sheng Chiang ...
Jiang Ping - the River Rat
Tien-Chi Cheng ...
Xu Qing - the Mountain Rat
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fei Ai ...
Prince of Xiang Yang
Hsi Chang
Lien-Ping Chang
Hung Chen
Te-kai Chen
Bing-Chuen Cheung
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9 January 1982 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

House of Traps  »

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2.35 : 1
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Chang Cheh's final OFFICIAL Venom movie
10 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In an effort to usurp the throne away from his Uncle, a villainous nephew conspires against him. A list of all those loyal to the nephew is compiled and placed inside a deathtrap filled pagoda for safe keeping. To pledge their loyalty to the cause, several national treasures are robbed by various thieves and placed in the House of Traps. A judge is sent out to investigate the nephew. Along the way, he is attacked by assassins to prevent the truth from being revealed. A handful of heroic secret avengers eventually join the fight to eliminate the villains and reclaim the stolen goods from the House of Traps.

The final official Venom movie is a fun and often times bloody adventure. At this point in Chang's career he was apparently having a ball directing these comic book styled movies filled with elaborate weaponry and creative, gory scenes of violence. It's a shame the HK movie-going public didn't feel the same way. It was also apparent with Chang's succeeding films, the budgets were getting smaller with the ambitiousness of these later films hampered by the dwindling funds Shaw's were allotting him.

The film is still a lot of fun. The centerpiece is the House of Traps itself with its many deadly snares. With each time someone dares to tread inside, more of the house's dangers are revealed. Also of note are the many intricate and wild weaponry on display. One of the best is an Umbrella that masquerades as a large drill and a claw-like weapon that conceals a cord that enables a man to move from one rooftop to the next. Also the costumes do not adhere to any known style of clothing from the time period. Chang once said reality did not interest him and this is most obvious in these later films from 1978 thru 1982.

Sadly, with this being the final Venom film to feature the bulk of the original actors, the combatants don't get to intermingle very often. Only two, Kuo Chui as the Black Fox and Lu Feng as Butterfly Hua get to mix it up a bit. The two of them both play thieves who constantly try to one up the other to show their loyalty to the young usurper. Chui steals the show as the smart ass Black Fox and may or not be a secret agent also sent to look into the actions of the nephew.

Wang Li, one of the 'Baby Venoms' as called by fans, doesn't get to show off his skills until the finale and the kicker of the Venoms, Sun Chien doesn't fight at all instead he plays the judge that is masquerading as a scholar investigating the case. Lung Tien Sheng who impressed as the Spearman in FLAG OF IRON (1980) doesn't get to do much till the end. Chu Ko, Chiang Sheng, Cheng Tien Chi, Chin Su Ho and Yu Tai Peng play the Five Rats who enter the film as undercover heroes. While there is action throughout, the bulk of it doesn't come until the finale.

This film was very rare as the only way to see it until now was a tattered fullscreen tape with English subs that were barely legible. The new remastered DVD of course, looks great. An enjoyable film with an interesting premise, exotic weapons, the usual great fights and a nice smattering of gore.


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