Sunday, October 09, 2011

Honourable Mention: The Bloody Parrot

This was a Shaw Brothers film from 1981 and was directed by Hua Shan. It is a rather spectacular merger of kung fu and fantasy but plot-wise it is less than coherent.

It starts with the legend of the celebration of the demon king’s birthday. At this time the denizens of the spirit world use their own blood, gather it and change it into a bloody parrot. If a mortal sees the parrot it is able to grant three wishes that last the lifetime of the wisher. A tribute for the emperor has been gathered by a Prince. When it mysteriously vanishes Chief Kuo Fan (Kuan Feng) is sent to look for it. Instead he finds the parrot and wishes for the treasure’s return.

The wish is granted but then disaster strikes and his son is killed in an accident. He calls on the parrot, asking that his son be saved, and it seems as though his wish is granted as the coffin begins to rock. He tries to prize the lid off (whilst the elderly Prince has a heart attack) but is attacked by a Princess who wants to stop him releasing the ghost. He dies and, with his death, the treasure vanishes. The Princess kills herself.

the bloody parrot
With the loss of the treasure, the province becomes lawless. A swordsman, Yeh Ting-feng (Jason Pai Piao), is attacked when it is wrongly assumed that he knows the treasure’s whereabouts. This leads to him seeing the parrot (at a distance) and investigating. He meets an imperial agent called constable Tieh Han (Tony Liu), but the agent is killed.

fang wounds
Yeh Ting-feng keeps the constable’s coffin with him as he continues the investigation and eventually goes to the parrot brothel where he meets the prostitute Pei-yu (Jenny Liang). Everyone but her is trying to kill him (indeed she tries as well when she is demonically possessed) and the case gets weirder and weirder. Amongst the weirdness is Tieh Han leaving his coffin, an event which is followed by mysterious deaths - the corpses subsequently found with punctures in their necks. Though he is called a vampire by the locals, we don’t actually see him and perhaps it is only a ruse… It certainly isn’t a main part of the film. However, there are bodies with punctures and a belief in vampires, good enough for a mention on TMtV.

The imdb page is here.

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