SCORPION THUNDERBOLT – Yes, it’s Scorpion Thunderbolt, the horror movie that has absolutely NOTHING to do with EITHER scorpions OR thunderbolts! They could have titled this thing Terms of Endearment 2 and it wouldn’t have been any less appropriate.
Potential viewers will find various years of release listed for this flick like 1983, 1985 or 1988. That’s because this is another of those bizarre cinematic cut-and-paste jobs that we fans of bad movies just love, like They Saved Hitler’s Brain, Spookies, Pink Angels, Monster A Go-Go and so many others.
The original film was titled Grudge of the Sleepwalking Woman and was a Taiwanese horror movie from 1983. Balladeer’s Blog’s old friend Godfrey Ho, the Schlockmeister General of Hong Kong cinema, bought the original movie. That Dr Frankenstein of the editing room padded the film’s run-time by adding some kung fu fights and one of his usual non sequitur movie quickies starring Richard Harrison, then tried to pass the mess off as all one movie. Same ol’ same ol’ for Godfrey Ho, in other words.
If you understand what is going on in Scorpion Thunderbolt the first time you watch it, then Godrey Ho failed at his job. (Or you’re lying.) Scenes follow one another with no rhyme or reason so the flick can go from:
evil snake-fiends being unleashed by a blind night-watchman (yes, it may sound like a Polish joke but this character really is a blind night-watchman who has overcome gout and plays the flute. If he also solved mysteries he could get a tv series on network television.)
to a madman who eats cats and wears a flower behind his ear sitting in a tree while throwing bloody parts of the dead cat he’s eating at the onlookers below. (The madman was a red herring and turned out to have nothing to do with the snake-monster at the start of the film)
to a sexy woman with Freddy Krueger fingernails dancing and slashing her apparent worshippers in a strange combination of performance art and S&M films
to a sexy hitchhiker who flashes her boobs to get picked up, then later has sex with the driver (Richard Harrison) while watching a porno film she starred in … needless to say she tries to kill the moustachioed good samaritan afterward, but instead dies with orange blood/vomit coming out of her mouth
to ridiculously cornball comic relief cops who mostly get in the way of the head detective during scenes that feature gratuitous kung fu fights
to a scene of a psychotic criminal called Argyll who uses a pool cue to shoot billiard balls at the vagina of the kidnapped woman he has tied up in a sitting position with her legs spread apart.
And on and on to the point where seeing a gaggle of pretty women in their 20s dancing in their nightgowns one second and the next suddenly getting slashed to death by a humanoid snake creature just makes you go “meh” and resign yourself to the madness. Only part of the confusion can be blamed on Godfrey Ho’s editing tricks, though. Even those scenes which really are from the same movie don’t seem like they go together. This thing is THAT absurdly incoherent.
If Scorpion Thunderbolt was a sentence it would read like this – “Berserker Joe wanted a peach but settled for eating a pear, which was his lucky word. Being a Capricorn, Joe knew all the risks involved, so he wisely shied away from a direct confrontation with aplomb and shrewdly resumed his morning ablutions.”
As the movie goes on you soon get used to the fact that characters meeting for the first time are just as likely to hit or bite each other for no apparent reason as they are to exchange greetings. Plus there’s lots of blood-soaked death scenes so ineptly shot that you’ll find yourself repeatedly saying things like “Wait a minute! I thought that character got killed about five scenes ago!”
SPOILERS AHEAD –
The real movie (about the sleepwalking woman/ snake monster) involves a character named Helen Yu, a reporter. The viewer eventually learns that Helen is the granddaughter of a snake-killer. Her grandfather killed and cooked so many snakes for customers at his restaurant that the snake goddess (or something) took human form and seduced the snake-killer as part of a plan for revenge.
The daughter born to the couple was a snake/human hybrid and went on to give birth to Helen. When Helen was an infant suckling at her mother’s breast she turned into a small version of the snake monster in the rest of the movie. She gnawed off her mother’s breast in a gory scene, followed by both parents dying as one of them killed the other and the second one … seems to just get bloody and die.
Helen falls in love with the head detective investigating the murders committed by the snake monster. When he learns that his lady love periodically turns into the homicidal reptile beast he – I swear to God – asks “Does this mean I’m in love … with a vampire?” WTF!?
I’m sure it’s a problem with the inane dubbing (another Godfrey Ho specialty) but, in the insane world of this movie that question doesn’t even seem all that out of place. The viewer simply accepts the idea that the detective is so clueless that he really does think that the word “vampire” means a woman who turns into a snake-monster and kills people. I think we’ve all been there.
The bulk of the added footage stars Godfrey Ho’s go-to man – Richard Harrison, the hunky but aging action star. Even though Harrison and his costars AT NO TIME interact with any of the characters from the REAL movie, the story pretends that he is using his martial arts skill to fight a snake cult whose bongo-playing priestess (or something) causes Helen Yu to turn into the snake monster. This contradicts the footage from the rest of the movie, which tells us that the blind night-watchman’s flute-playing triggers the transformation.
The aforementioned cult is after Richard Harrison’s ring, an old relic of their faith, and they make several attempts to get it, which made me think “Hey, that’s the plot to Help! starring the Beatles. Godfrey Ho might as well have edited the Richard Harrison footage into Help! and passed it off as his own production.
I won’t spoil the end of the movie … or the end of the tacked-on movie in which Richard Harrison goes to confront the priestess who has long fingernails.
By the way, at one point Harrison’s character says to a mystic “Will someone please tell me what is going on!?” Unintentionally he was speaking for anyone who has sat through Scorpion Thunderbolt less than three times.
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