The Merits of Sin: Curse of Evil (1982) (Hong Kong)

Shaw Brothers film shows a bit of restraint (but restraint in an SB horror flick is akin to turning the dial down from 11 to 10) when it comes to the “supernatural” aspects of the plot and tends to shift its focus on the family dramatics. There’s a lot going on in that facet so it is understandable but for trash lovers like us, it remains a bit of a let down. Luckily, there’s enough creature crap and sleaze to make Curse of Evil worth your time.

Bingo

There’s a long history of rotten luck for a once prosperous Chinese family. 35 years ago bandits broke into the family mansion and killed thirteen members, leaving only mother and son alive. The deceased relatives were dumped in a dry well on the property and left there to rot. Apparently this displeased the Dragon King and a curse was birthed. Twenty years after the family massacre, the surviving son drops dead at his mother’s 50th birthday party and his wife joins him in the afterlife soon after, succumbing to a broken heart. Their two daughters are raised by the family matriarch in the cursed house. Their uncle and his wife also move in, along with their cousin and their aunt’s son from a previous marriage. Which makes it a full house when the shit hits the fan.

Don’t Ask

On the paranormal side of things, it appears that the bloody frog curse has begun to play out on the family. Flesh eating, razor toothed frogs are seen on the property and someone is keeping them in a pantry pit, feeding them raw meat. They’ll show up and attack some folks and even eat one poor woman alive. There’s also some goofy ass looking aquatic-human like monster that emerges from the pond and manages to rape and kill the eldest granddaughter and attack various other family members. This eyeball eating beastie shows up randomly and gets slime over everything. Unfortunately, there’s problems coming from the more grounded side of things.

Who you callin…oh never mind

Jinhua, who is the son from the aunt’s previous marriage, is scheming with his mother to get his hands on the family property and the duo of shitheads are not above murder to realize their greedy dreams. Jinhua is also a practicing hypnotist and has been using hypnosis to rape the cook and has his eyes set on having his way with the youngest granddaughters, Yulan. With forces on both spectrums crushing down on the house, very few members of the family will be left alive by the time the end credits hit.

Head start

Family secrets come to light and it leads to a climax filled with exposition and a stab happy granny. There’s so much going on that the film feels a bit jumbled and it gets bogged down more than once because of it. The villains are suitably shitty and the monster is a cheap jack pleasure, sure to entertain. You’ve seen a lot better from SB but it’s nowhere near the weaker output from the world famous production company. 7/10


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