Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 20th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1975
Director: Lo Wei
Writer: Lo Wei
Cast: Reiko Ike, Chun Hsiung Ko, James Tien
DVD released: September 6th, 2010
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: OAT II (Hong Kong)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
DVD Release: Joy Sales
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC (Hong Kong)
Retail Price: $9.99
Synopsis: When the son of a very wealthy man turns up dead. After raping another man’s wife. The husband of the violated woman is falsely accused and sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Because the only witness his wife. Has been missing since the incident. She reemerges when she learns that her husband is going to be executed for a crime he did not commit. In order to save her husband’s life. She is forced to sleep with the father of the deceased wealthy man who had raped. After complying to this request. She quickly discovers that she has been deceived. When she learns of her husband’s death. Enraged she kills the man who deceived her and shortly thereafter she commits suicide. Not to be overlooked in all of this is the corrupt magistrate, who accepted a bribe in exchange for a guilty verdict. With bodies pilling up and guilt ridden the magistrate decides to leave town. Along the way he is forced to stay at remote rundown inn. During the night he is visited by the ghosts of those, who his corruption lead to their deaths.
The Bedeviled was directed by Lo Wei, who is most known for directing The Big Boss and The Chinese Connection. He also directed many of Jackie Chan’s films from the latter part of the 1970’s. Most notably New Fist of Fury.
The Bedeviled is quite a departure from the martial arts films that Lo Wei is most known for. In fact there are only a few very brief fight scenes in this film. Fortunate what this film lacks action wise. It more than makes up for with its ample of sleaze and carnage.
Plot wise what starts off as a rape / revenge film. Quickly turns into a good old fashion ghost tale rooted in the supernatural. And these are not your garden variety ghosts. For some reason they are able to remove their head from their shoulders.
The one area in which this film shines the most is its cast. Which is anchored by a solid performance from Japanese actress Reiko Ike (Sex and Fury) in the role of Cheng Niang. Her character is the object of desire of all the male characters in this film. This film takes full advantage of her undeniable sex appeal. With her stand out moment being a scene where her character hacks up a man, who has double crossed her. Also in this scene she is wearing a searing red outfit. The other notable cast members include James Tien (Naked Comes the Huntress) in the role of Cheng Niang’s husband and Chun Hsiung Ko (A Queen’s Ransom) in the role of the corrupted magistrate. Ultimately The Bedeviled a mildly entertaining film that works as well as it does because the performance from its leading lady Reiko Ike.
The Bedeviled is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. Just like the majority of Joy Sales other DVD releases. The source used for this transfer has some mild print damage. Colors range from good to muted. Black levels are average at best and details generally look crisp. Also there is edge enhancement that varies in degree throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Mandarin. There are mild instances of distortion and background noise. Range wise this audio mix is limited and often everything sounds flat. This release comes with three subtitle options, English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. There are grammatical errors in the English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer for the film (3 minutes 27 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Mandarin, no English subtitles) and a photo gallery with eleven images. The DVD comes in a card board slip case that houses the DVD keep case and the cardboard slip cover frames the image on the case in a window box at its center. Also if you flip the DVD keep case around the flip side has another image that also fits into the cardboard slip covers window box opening. Overall this is another sub-par audio / video presentation from Joy Sales that leaves plenty of room for improvement.