The Merits of Sin (NSFW): Daughter of Darkness (1993) (Hong Kong)

A classic Cat III (category III is basically an 18+ rating) nasty from Hong Kong has no problem picking at the sores festering just beneath the surface of polite society.

We’re very proud

Mak Wei-Fong runs into the police station reporting that her family has been slaughtered while she was out with her boyfriend. Captain Lui and his rookie female partner journey to her house and are greeted by a blood splattered massacre. Gunshots, stab wounds and a strangulation have all gone down and four people are no longer walking this earth. Now it’s up to Captain Lui to figure out just what the hell happened.

Training day

Lui has his suspicions as Mak has trouble keeping her story straight and when he discovers that Mak is dating one of his men, he begins to home in on his prime suspect. Abusing the law gets him the evidence he needs but even his ridiculous ass isn’t ready for the motive behind the crime.

I don’t feel so hot

What has, up to this point, been a silly (albeit dark) comedy about a cop and his goofy antics in sniffing (sometime literally) out the culprit gets taken out behind the shed and shot in the damn head. Mak recounts her story of the days leading up to the slaughter of her family and they sure as shit aren’t pretty. Her miserable existence is lightened up by her relationship with Officer Kin and they have plans of moving to Hong Kong and living the rest of their lives in marital bliss. Outside of these brief moments with her love she has to deal with a family that hates her. Her mother and sister constantly pick on her and her brother would rather if she wasn’t even there. Worst of all, her shitheel of a father seems to be growing a bit more bold in his perversions.

Father knows best

Her father is pure scum. He whores around, physically abuses her, and one night after he disgusts his prostitute into leaving, he shows up in Mak’s room…drunk and horny. After taking photos of her as she attempts to fight him off, he rapes her and even admits as much to Mak’s mother. Mom is upset but not enough to care and they go about their lives like nothing happened. He then uses the photos to blackmail Mak into doing what he wants. Yeah. He’s a piece of shit.

Peepin’ Papa

On Mak’s birthday she returns to the family home (she’s been staying with Kin since the rape) and demands the photos and negatives. Dad agrees after she attacks him with scissors but when he disarms her things go from shit to shittier. He ties her up and hangs her nude from the wrists in the living room. He covers her in her own birthday cake and proceeds to go to town. Kin bursts in but fails at making the save and papa Fong knocks his ass out. Fortunately Mak has been freed and she has gotten her hands on Kin’s gun.

Birthdays in Hong Kong

Daughter of Darkness is an unsettling mix of comedy and depravity. Cat III films are well known for their high levels of ick. The first act follows the sleazy and silly shenanigans of Captain Lui and his new officer and really gives no hint at what awaits. There are brief comedic interludes as Mak tells her tale of woe but that just works to disturb a bit more. It’s intense and downbeat and it isn’t even anywhere near as excruciating as Hong Kong’s Cat III films can be. This may be the perfect starting point for anyone curious about the extremes of Hong Kong cinema. 8/10


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