No announcement yet.

Human Lanterns (88 Films) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • Human Lanterns (88 Films) Blu-ray Review

    Click image for larger version  Name:	cover.jpg Views:	1 Size:	60.2 KB ID:	392086

    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: June 7th, 2022.
    Director: Sun Chung
    Cast: Liu Yung, Chen Kuan-Tai, Lo Lieh, Tanny Tien Ti
    Year: 1982
    Purchase From Amazon

    Human Lanterns – Movie Review:

    From director Sun Chung, the same man who gave us Big Bad Sis, The Sexy Killer and City War comes this grim martial arts/horror film, Human Lanterns, also known as Human Skin Lanterns.

    The film follows the rivalry between two men, Tan Fu (Chen Kuan-tai) and Lung (Lau Wing), who are competitive on pretty much any level they can be. They bicker over money, prestige, and fighting skills and lust after the same women. When it comes time for the local lantern festival, an important local event that carries with it some sizeable ego boosting prestige and notoriety, Lung decides that he's going to beat Tan Fu for good by enlisting the aid of his former rival now turned lantern maker, Chun Fang (Lo Lieh), widely regarded as the best lantern maker around.

    This may seem like a great idea initially, but when the local stock of pretty girls starts to dwindle, it soon becomes obvious where Chun Fang is getting the delicate tissue that he makes his lanterns with - right off of the bodies of the nubile young ladies who live in the area! You see, Chun Fang is still pretty pissed off that Lung whupped him all those years ago and he carries a pretty serious grudge. He's also more or less completely insane and prone to zipping around town wearing a cloak and a skull mask. Of course, while Chun Fang is abducting women, Tan Fu and Lung are suspecting one another as the actual culprit, which leads to plenty of fisticuffs and macho chest pounding on their parts.

    The kung fu on display in this film is decent enough, but Human Lanterns doesn't really do anything we haven't seen countless times over in that regard. The fights are fairly well-choreographed and are highlighted by a nifty ‘guy with sword fights guy with fans’ sequence that is interesting to watch. The horror elements are pretty keen, however, and while more frequent macabre set pieces could have helped things along, there's enough skin peeling, fake severed heads and bloodshed in the movie to rightfully assert its place in horror film territory.

    Chen Kuan-tai and Lau Wing are decent enough as the 'protagonists,' but, not surprisingly at all, it's Lo Lieh who steals the show this time around. He's pretty sinister in this part and he makes the most out of his character's more devious traits. He's also quite a bit more likeable than the two supposed heroes of the film, both of whom are absolute pompous douche bags. Anytime Lo Lieh is on screen, whether he’s leaping around like a giant monkey with his face hidden behind the grim visage of a white skull mask or just sort of hanging out making lanterns out of pretty ladies’ skin, the movie is gold. The rest of the cast, made up of a few pretty lady types like Linda Chu and Susan Shaw, are serviceable enough, particularly when you consider that they're basically little more than background characters or foxy victims. The three leads do all of the heavy lifting here and they do a pretty fine job of it.

    Human Lanterns – Blu-ray Review:

    88 Films brings Human Lanterns to Blu-ray framed in 2.35.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition taking up 25.7GBs of space on a 50GB disc using what is probably an older, existing master. Colors look quite good here and black levels are fine but detail is on the soft side and the image is seemingly free or natural looking grain, indicating that some digital noise reduction has probably been used here. There's virtually no print damage, however, and the transfer is free of obvious edge enhancement but there are some visible compression artifacts at times as well as some noticeable trailing. Around the twenty-five minute mark, during the skin peeling scene, there’s a quick dip in quality that you can see in the screen caps below.

    A 24-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono option is provided in Mandarin with English Subtitles. There’s a tiny bit of sibilance in a few spots but otherwise the audio is fine. The score sounds pretty decent and there are no issues with any hiss or distortion.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary by Kenneth Brorsson and Phil Gillon of the Podcast On Fire Network. They talk about the genre crossover elements of the picture, the way that the title sequence sets things up, the arrogance of some of the characters in the movie, biographical details of the different actors that appear in the pictures, shooting in Cantonese versus Mandarin, the European style of lighting used in some of the scenes, details on Sun Chung's life and career, the film's home video release history and some of the censorship issues it dealt with, the quality of the film's soundtrack, how the film compares to other Shaw Brothers horror films, the action choreography featured in the movie and lots more. No dead air here, these guys have a lot to say and seem to be having a good time saying it.

    From there, we get a few interviews starting with A Shaw Story, which is a fourteen Interview with Susan Shaw where she tells us that she feels she got her start in the film industry mainly due to her willingness to show some skin, how she was accused by Taiwanese officials of being a Chinese spy and getting blacklisted because of it, what Sun Chung was like to work with, her thoughts on the violence in the film and what she’s been up to, career wise and in her personal life, since making this movie.

    The Beauty And The Beasts is an interview with Linda Chu that runs for fifteen minutes and covers how she got her start in the Hong Kong film industry, how the Shaw Brothers studio was treating its actors during this period, receiving some basic martial arts training when she signed up, not being able to choose her own projects, refusing to do nudity, her thoughts on the content of Human Lanterns, her thoughts on Sun Chung as a director, what was involved in shooting her torture scene, getting along with Lo Lieh and why she eventually left the film industry.

    Lau Wing: The Ambiguous Hero is a lengthy fifty-one minute interview that goes over how he got his start in the film industry in 1968 after being recruited by Golden Harvest, moving over to work with the Shaw Brothers and the amount of work he did for them, what goes into becoming a successful action movie star, making multiple films at once when, his thoughts on being typecast as a bad guy, how the film industry changed over the ten years he worked for Shaw Brothers, his thoughts on Human Lanterns and what it was like working on a horror wuxia pictures, getting along with his co-stars, Sun Chung's directing style, how Run Run Shaw saved him after he got arrested for playing with a knife, how the director always got to overrule the script writer, his thoughts on the script from Human Lanterns, memories from the shoot and quite a bit more.
    Rounding out the extras on the disc is an original trailer for the film, menus and chapter selection options.

    This release also comes packaged with a slipcover, some reversible cover sleeve art (featuring newly created art by "Kung-Fu Bob" O'Brien on one side and the original one-sheet art on the reverse) and, folded up inside the clear Blu-ray keepcase, a nice double-sided replica of the film's poster art on one side and the newly created art on the reverse. Also included in the case is nice full color booklet containing an essay on the film by Barry Forshaw titled Splicing Genres With Human Lanterns

    Human Lanterns - The Final Word:

    While not on the same level as some of the more insane Shaw Brothers horror films, Human Lanterns has got enough action, chaos and carnage to make it worth a look. 88 Film’s Blu-ray release won’t win transfer of the year but it does improve over the older DVD release and it throws in a really solid array of supplements to complement the really entertaining feature attraction.

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Human Lanterns Blu-ray screen caps!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	01.jpg Views:	1 Size:	95.0 KB ID:	392087

    Click image for larger version  Name:	02.jpg Views:	1 Size:	194.9 KB ID:	392096

    Click image for larger version  Name:	03.jpg Views:	1 Size:	167.7 KB ID:	392094

    Click image for larger version  Name:	04.jpg Views:	1 Size:	166.8 KB ID:	392097

    Click image for larger version  Name:	05.jpg Views:	1 Size:	276.4 KB ID:	392100

    Click image for larger version  Name:	06.jpg Views:	1 Size:	135.0 KB ID:	392091

    Click image for larger version  Name:	07.jpg Views:	1 Size:	249.0 KB ID:	392098

    Click image for larger version  Name:	08.jpg Views:	1 Size:	272.4 KB ID:	392099

    Click image for larger version  Name:	09.jpg Views:	1 Size:	199.3 KB ID:	392088

    Click image for larger version  Name:	10.jpg Views:	1 Size:	209.0 KB ID:	392093

    Click image for larger version  Name:	11.jpg Views:	1 Size:	187.7 KB ID:	392090

    Click image for larger version  Name:	12.jpg Views:	1 Size:	182.3 KB ID:	392089

    Click image for larger version  Name:	13.jpg Views:	1 Size:	218.3 KB ID:	392101

    Click image for larger version  Name:	14.jpg Views:	1 Size:	187.4 KB ID:	392095

    Click image for larger version  Name:	15.jpg Views:	1 Size:	195.2 KB ID:	392092
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Latest Articles


    • The Films Of Doris Wishman: The Twilight Years (AGFA) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      by Ian Jane

      Released by: AGFA/Something Weird Video
      Released on: May 24thh, 2022.
      Director: Doris Wishman
      Cast: Chesty Morgan, Harry Reems, João Fernandes, Linda Southern, Leslie, Cindy Boudreau, Sandra Kay, Michele Marie
      Year: 1974/1974/1970/1977/1975/1971
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Films Of Doris Wishman: The Twilight Years – Movie Review:

      Anyone even remotely familiar with the history of exploitation films knows the name Doris Wishman. Looked
      05-20-2022, 02:57 PM
    • Umma (Sony Pictures) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      by Ian Jane

      Released by: Sony Pictures
      Released on: May 24th, 2022.
      Director: Iris K. Shim
      Cast: Sandra Oh, Fivel Stewart, Dermot Mulroney, Odeya Rush, MeeWha Lee
      Year: 2022
      Purchase From Amazon

      Umma – Movie Review:

      Directed by Iris K. Shim and produced by Sam Raimi for his own Raimi Productions, 2022’a Umma (which is the Korean word for ‘mother’) stars Sandra Oh as a woman named Amanda who lives with her daughter Chris (Fivel Stewart)
      05-19-2022, 12:00 PM
    • Born To Win (Fun City Editions) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      by Ian Jane

      Released by: Fun City Editions
      Released on: April 26th, 2022.
      Director: Ivan Passer
      Cast: George Segal, Karen Black, Paula Prentiss, Hector Elizondo, Jay Fletcher, Robert De Niro
      Year: 1971
      Purchase From Amazon

      Born To Win – Movie Review:

      Directed by Ivan Passer shortly after he immigrated to The United States from his native country of Czechoslovakia, 1971’s Born To Win revolves around a man named J. (George Segal) who lives
      05-12-2022, 01:15 PM
    • House On The Edge Of The Park (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      by Ian Jane

      Released by: Severin Films
      Released on: March 29th, 2022.
      Director: Ruggero Deodato
      Cast: David Hess, Giovanni Lambardo Radice, Annie Belle, Christian Borromeo, Marie Claude Joseph, Lorraine De Selle, Brigitte Petronio
      Year: 1980
      Purchase From Amazon

      House On The Edge Of The Park – Movie Review:

      Directed by Ruggero Deodato hot on the heels of his infamous Cannibal Holocaust, 1980’s House On The Edge Of The Park opens with a
      05-12-2022, 12:35 PM
    • Video Murders (Culture Shock) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      by Ian Jane

      Released by: Culture Shock
      Released on: April 26th, 2022.
      Director: Jim McCullough Sr.
      Cast: Eric Brown, Virginia Loridans, John P. Fertitta
      Year: 1988
      Purchase From Amazon

      Video Murders – Movie Review:

      Directed by Jim McCullough Sr. from a script by his son, Jim McCullough Jr., 1988’s Video Murders, which was shot in and around Shreveport, Louisiana, is centered around a young man named David Lee Shepard (Eric Brown of Waxwo
      05-12-2022, 12:25 PM
    • Around The World With John “The Wadd” Holmes (Impulse Pictures) DVD Review
      Ian Jane
      by Ian Jane

      Released by: Impulse Pictures
      Released on: April 13th, 2021.
      Director: Donald U. Canard
      Cast: John Holmes, Gloria Adams, Colleen Brennan, Janice Bronson
      Year: 1975
      Purchase From Amazon

      Around The World With John “The Wadd” Holmes - Movie Review:

      “You're looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the two wonders of San Francisco. The other wonder? Me, because I've got the biggest cock in the business.”

      This narrated
      05-12-2022, 12:22 PM