lördag 31 december 2011

Phee Ta Boh (ผีตาโบ๋, 1981)

Phee Ta Boh has one of the best and coolest posters ever made in Thailand, with artwork you will remember directly and never forget. It's not that special, but the sight of a man stretching forward his hand holding his own eyes is a good idea, and for once it's also something that actually happens in the movie itself. I have this movie on VCD, and decided to finally - the last hours of 2011, finally give it a spin. I heard both good and bad things about, and the good news is that it's actually quite decent - but could have been much better without some parts of the story. Let me tell you...

Saard Piampongsarn plays a mad scientist working in his lab in the jungle. He has a staff of heroine addicts who kidnaps people, mostly women, who he kills and take the eyes from. Why? Because he once upon a time he married a beautiful woman and became the happiest couple in the world (which we knows because the scenes with them are in front of sunsets, on the beach and on a wedding). Something happens - illness, accident - and she goes blind. Now his whole life evolves around making the first eye-transplantation. One day he sees a handsome man (Porjed Kaenpetch) who have PERFECT eyes. Saard kidnaps him, kills him and finally succeeds in making his wife see again. But his stupid staff wants to have some fun and asks their friend the black magician to do some magic - and by mistake the wake up Porjed again and now he's back for vengeance - and his beautiful eyes!

This is Eyes Without a Face/The Awful Dr Orloff in Thailand, obviously. But it's about eyes instead of skin and other body parts, but with a supernatural twist. Now, everything is actually quite good until the second hour starts. Before that, a quite serious horror-drama with some blood and tension and now the zombie/ghost is outside the lab, trying to get in and their defending themselves with magic etc, etc. Then something goes terrible wrong. Someone, maybe the producer, decides that it's enough with this silly horror and introduces us to forty-five minutes of very broad humour and slapstick. Every scene is about how some funny guest actor (for example, Lor Tok and the weird-looking Songthong) meets the ghost, not realizing he's a ghost and comedy occurs. This happens four-five times, and first of all: without subtitles it's not funny at all, and second: it's kinda destroys the nice atmosphere that the movie started with.

Thank heavens the last fifteen minutes goes back to the real revenge of the ghost and we're treated to a lot of fun and sometimes bloody scenes of ghost-action. Like in the miserable Jing Jork Phee Sing (1985, starring Sorapong Chatree) the zombie has the gift of stretching his arms several meters and this guy also can throw his eyes, when I finally gets them again, and make them hunt down people! Cool.

Without that comedy in the last hour this would have been a blast. Now it's just a good movie. The VCD is badly cropped, but the picture quality itself is better than usual.