8 May 2020 | Movie-Misfit
Should Have Been Better, But Entertains Oddly!!
When a few of the Venoms broke off to create their own production company, Attack Of The Joyful Goddess was one of their first. Obviously having worked for many years with Chang Cheh and on so many hit films, they were able to bring him on-board as a producer and director - although truth be told, I don't believe he did much on the directing side of things, leaving that to Shaw's stars Chiang Sheng and Lu Feng.
Having left a Goddess Doll upside down, releasing its spirit that possesses a young girl of the theatre troupe, things start to turn sour as curses and murders plague the actors. It doesn't help that their manager is trying to impress some local big-wig and offers to kill off their leading man, Handsome White (no, really), so the creepy official can have his girl...
Attack Of The Joyful Goddess is one strange production!
It doesn't help that the seemingly, only available release in the West is a cropped version with an English dub that is so stilted and poor, its almost offensive. It would be interesting to see an original language version in widescreen to see if it helps! Short of kung-fu action, the film is very heavily drama-based, set in the world of the impressive Peking Opera, full of murder and ghostly goings-on. While it does try to be different in what it offers, the film just seems to come a little too late, looking out-dated in a period where Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung were offering such titles as Project A, Winners & Sinners, and Zu Warriors.
I did really want to like this given who's involved, but it certainly falls flat compared to the films the same team made with Shaw Brothers many years before. It is worth at least one watch I'd say, as there is some interesting stuff going on. It really starts to pick up just after he 30 minute mark, with some Shakespearian style murder, leading to a better hour of haunting's and mystery, but its the last 10 minutes that really grabs your attention!
Offering a crazy finale that is so mental, its like the film was trying to redeem itself for its flaws, one can only wonder what just happened to ones eyeballs as the Venom team mix great kung-fu with wild horror elements - but its insanely fun at the same time...
Overall: I wouldn't mind seeing a modern remake of it, but this original should have been much better!