Centipede Horror

First thing's first.  The above image is the poster for 1982's Human Lanterns.  I'm not reviewing Human Lanterns.  That may not seem very professional, and it's not, but hear me out!  The only one-sheets (and even DVD covers) for 1982's Centipede Horror that I could locate were either watermarked or faded to shit.  Both films are weirdo tales of the supernatural from Asia.  In addition, they were both disseminated to the public in the same year, so...yeah, I'm not a professional.  I never claimed to be a citizen above suspicion, though.  If you scroll down a bit, you'll see that I did include a screengrab, the likeness of which will turn your intestines sideways.

C'mon, what did you expect?  It's called Centipede Horror, and yes, that poor actress hawked up live centipedes.  She works hard for the money.  Anyway, said actress is Tien-Lang Li (a.k.a. a million pseudonyms, more than David DeCoteau), and I can't knock her commitment.  Honestly, it's hard to gauge the performances.  The version I watched was subtitled and dubbed. Translation-wise, the dialogue is stilted, so when you consider all of those factors, the human element of Centipede Horror feels distant. Certain scenes are rendered unintentionally hilarious.  "I am the king of the centipedes!"  That line is uttered out of goddamn nowhere, man.

Fans familiar with this title know that it's a Category III exploit, a hard-edged extremity tailor-made for a select few in our niche.  I've dabbled.  I'm a masochist in that I like to pulverize my senses at wolfish intervals (???).  Centipede Horror isn't exactly bloody, but as you can imagine, it's a grody fucker.  An iniquitous sorcerer curses a man's lineage after a consumptive village fire.  He calls it the "centipede spell."  Lawdy, they have a spell for everything nowadays, don't they?  It causes the victim to become deliriously ill, and at the moment of death, they retch.  Centipedes (there is also an instance with scorpions) are hurled from the mouth.  It's fucking gross.

As off-putting as the film can be, I have to wonder if it was censored. I've eyeballed disparate running times stretching from 80 minutes to 102 hours.  I mean, minutes.  The cut we viewed (I was joined by a friend) lapsed at the 93-minute mark.  Who the hell knows?  Director Keith Li (no relation to Dee Snider) has a flair for the melodramatic. The evil wizard's lair is boss, what with its imposing spiderweb and its haunted backdrop drenched in geranium lighting.  Villain Guy - sorry, I can't find any character names - is a creepy badass.  For what it's worth, I wanted the protagonists to win out.  And yet, I'm unsure of how much I relished Centipede Horror.

I have a feeling that my pal dug it more than I did.  It wasn't quite as SHOCKING as I was expecting, although it was nauseating.  Still, I'd recommend it to exponents of Hong Kong madness such as Dr. Lamb, The Untold Story and Black Magic.  Robert Z'Dar says, "When we were scouting locations for Maniac Cop 2, Bill Lustig mentioned that he had always wanted to shoot in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, he had unresolved issues with triad members.  I did, too.  I fucked all of their women."

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