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Dr. Wong's Virtual Hell
El Infierno Virtual del Doctor Wong

USA/Spain 1999
produced by
Kevin Collins, Peter Evanko for one shot Productions, Manacoa Films
directed by Jess Franco
starring Jess Franco, Lina Romay (also as Candy Coster), Analia Ivars, Peter Temboury, Rachel Sheppard, Robert King, Howard Vernon (archive footage), Joaquin Phre
screenplay and music by Jess Franco

Cagliostro

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!

Dr Wong (Jess Franco) is a Fu Manchu-style Oriental villain, but he is so successless that he has decided to commit harakiri. Only his daughter Tsai Ming (Lina Romay) can prevent that, as she has a new plan to improve their dire financial situation: They invite Wilfred Summers (Robert King) and his daughter Rita (Rachel Sheppard) to their virtual reality club - which is actually little more than a porn-show, but not live, only seen with special virtual reality glasses - and while Wilfred is distracted by the sex going on, they will have no problems kidnapping Rita - and that they do, and successfully too.

But Wilfred, having no desire to pay the ransom (one million Dollars) hires Nelly Smith (Lina Romay again) and her assistant Petry (Peter Temboury) - shades of famous Fu Manchu-hunters Nayland Smith and Doctor Petrie here - to get back his daughter.

Before entering Wong's lair though, Nelly turns to Cagliostro (the late Howard Vernon in snippets from 1972's The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein), where he gives her special virtual reality glasses to outwit Wong.

Wong meanwhile sits in his headquarters, practising his final line ("The world will hear from me again, soon !"), but never seems to get it quite right. Then Nelly and Petry enter the place, and while Petry is soon put out of commission being thrown into Wong's virtual reality, Nelly switches the virtual reality glasses Wong hands her for her own - and puts Wong and company out of order. End.

 

Intended as a (sleazy) parody of Edgar Wallace- and Sax Rohmer-stories and their movie adaptations (for several of which Jess Franco himself was responsible), Dr.Wong's Virtual Hell has its moments of great comedy, like Chinese baddie Wong wanting to commit Japanese harakiri, and in a hammy manner, too, or him practizing his final lines well before the end of the movie but never getting them quite right "("The World will hear from me again ... maybe ... aw no !), or he asking his assistant (Analia Ivars) why she constatnly runs around bare-assed, and when she answers "because you ordered me to", he replies "what a dirty mind I have." Also, Jess Franco's wholly unconvincing performance as a Chinese and Lina Romay's mock Mandarin dialogue add to the comical effect, as well as many sequences that seem to come right out of comicbooks, including thought-balloons.

Yet the film is not all that good, mainly because Jess Franco tries to achieve too much on a miniscule budget and time and again totally loses sight of the plot. The first half of the film it seems contains little more than Analia Ivars and Lina Romay rolling around in the semi-nude and nude, under a layer of computer effects that make little sense, which somehow takes the drive out of the film before it has really started ... which really is a pity, because this one really had possibilities to become a great nonsense comedy in style of Franco's underrated Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula from 1997.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD