Features and Columns · Movies

For the Love of B-Movies: In Praise of Hong Kong’s Cinematic Sleaze

Jumping vampires, man-flesh dumplings, and Bruce Lee clones, oh my!
Infra Man Hong Kong cinema
Shaw Brothers
By  · Published on May 26th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores the gloriously sleazy cinematic output of Hong Kong.

How do you measure the output of a movie industry? By the amount of money its blockbusters make? By the number of international awards it garners? What about by (hear me out) the sleaziness of its … scuzzier offerings?

If we’re going by the latter, then the cinematic output of Hong Kong through the 1980s and 1990s is absolutely unparalleled. During this time, the Hong Kong film industry was fuelled by a three-pronged mantra: make it fast, make it cheap, and make it disposable. The results were, and I think this is a formal term: absolutely bananapants.

The Clones of Bruce Lee (1980) is exactly what it sounds like. Vampire vs Vampire (1989) is a hilarious showdown between the “hopping” Chinese jiangshi and an unearthed European vampire. Category III films (Hong Kong cinema’s version of NC-17), courted taboo with the likes of Sex and Zen (1991), Naked Killer (1992), and A Chinese Torture Chamber Story (1994).

The video essay below features a drive-by of all the giddily garish, ghoulish, and ghastly cinematic delights that late-20th century Hong Kong had to offer, from Brucesploitation to trend-chasing, to endless serialization, to eroticism, to horror comedies. A competitive market produced a seemingly neverending string of titillating premises with an experimental bent. They weren’t just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what stuck, they were having an all-out food fight.

Watch “Sleazy Movies Made in Hong Kong“:

Who made this?

This video on sleazy Hong Kong movies was created by Accented Cinema, a Canadian-based YouTube video essay series with a focus on foreign cinema. You can subscribe to Accented Cinema for bi-weekly uploads here. You can follow them on Twitter here.

More Videos Like This

Related Topics: , ,

Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.