The Incredibly Strange Film Show: Season 2, Episode 5

Tsui Hark & Stuart Gordon (20 Oct. 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary
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John Cheung ...
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Tony Rayns ...
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Brian Yuzna ...
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20 October 1989 (UK)  »

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Two Incredibly Strange Film Show's in one!

The Incredibly Strange Film Show: Tsui Hark & Stuart Gordon, or 'Son of the Incredibly Strange...' to give it it's full title, is a 40 odd minute documentary that for the first 20 minutes focuses on the weird world of Chinese Hong Kong cinema & in particular writer, actor & director Tsui Hark. Once the commercial break is over (when it was originally broadcast here in the UK anyway) the show switches to Los Angeles & Hollywood to focus on director Stuart Gordon & in particular his classic splatter film the rather fabulous Re-Animator (1985).

Originally aired during 1989 here in the UK on Channel 4 this was episode 4 from season 2 of the criminally short lived The Incredibly Strange Film Show presented by a young looking Jonathan Ross who has gone on to become one of the UK's biggest celebrities. The first half of this episode is about the Chinese film industry, although Ross interviews Hark the show covers a broad range of Hong Kong fantasy cinema. Personally I'm not a big fan of Asian cinema & therefore I found this part pretty dull, sure there are the usual nice interviews with various people, plenty of clips (none of which made me want to watch any of the films presented & in fact put me off Asian fantasy films even more) & nice location reporting form Hong Kong itself but I'm just not that interested in the subject matter. It's also odd to hear Hark say he has no intention of defecting to Hollywood to make films almost 10 years before he actually did & made the two Jean-Claude Van Damme flicks Double Team (1997) & Knock Off (1998). The show improves from my point of view dramatically as the second half concentrates on Stuart Gordon & his splatter flick Re-Animator, this part was far more interesting & since I'm a huge Re-Animator fan this is just great stuff. The questions Ross puts to him are relevant & Gordon's answers are clear, concise & he doesn't stray off topic. Another great episode from a great series.

Again this is actually shot on location in Hong Kong for the Tsui Hark part & Hollywood for the Stuart Gordon interview. While in Hollywood Ross also visits the set of Bride of Re-Animator (1990) which was being filmed at the time he was there, interviews with director Brian Yuzna & star Jeffrey Combs are forthcoming. There are some nice behind-the-scenes stuff on the set & Ross also interviews special make-up effects man John Carl Beuchler & there is a quick glimpse of some of his effects in his workshop including the Jason Voorhees mask from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) & he makes a mechanical Troll from Troll (1984) sing during the end credits. Another visually interesting & well put together documentary.

This is a great documentary, if your a fan of both Chinese fantasy films & Stuart Gordon then you'll be happy as a pig in s*it. While not a big fan of the Hong Kong stuff the Stuart Gordon Re-Animator interview more than makes up for it.

This is a very rare series that has never been released on VHS or DVD, apart from illegal bootleg copies taken from off-air recording of the original broadcasts. If you can find a copy & you like cult films then this, as is the whole 12 episodes over it's 2 seasons, is a must.


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