Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Barrel of Monkey King

My friend’s movie-of-the-month was the 1967 Hong Kong flick Cave of the Silken Web, a tale of the Monkey King. I’m arachnophobic, so when I first read his invitation, the “silken web” part sent me into a panic. But I googled it and saw that the “spiders” were just scantily clad women, and then I started looking forward to it.

And I was not disappointed. If you like cheesy, goofy B-movies, add this to your must-watch list. The costuming was great in the sense that it was bright, colorful, and eye-catching, and terrible in the sense that it was . . . well, terrible. For example, no attempt was made to use makeup to hide the transition between Pig’s plastic snout and the actor’s face, and you could see his real ears nestled inside his big floppy ones. Honestly, I’ve seen grade-school trick-or-treaters with better costumes.

But the movie was hilarious, loaded with more cases of mistaken identity than all the Shakespearian comedies put together, lots of slapstick, kung fu, bad singing, and a wide array of special effects that might have been good in 1967 but which look painfully lame now. Most of the characters were incurably stupid, although Monkey sometimes did some very clever things. All in all, I have to give it a thumbs up for sheer cheese.

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