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"The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Old 09-28-21, 10:36 PM
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"The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge



The Untold Story (1993)




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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

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2021 DISCUSSION | 2021 LISTS

Old 10-27-21, 08:14 AM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I didn’t think The Collector could be defeated for my least favorite subset pick, but here comes the Untold Story. I wish I could be impartial and think of positive things, which I’m sure there are, but man this was a chore. Maybe even chore isn’t the right word. I was just annoyed for an hour and a half. The four moron cops and their chief with his parade of broads weren’t funny. Everyone just yells their dialogue.
I didn’t hate it on the level of last years Who’s Watching Oliver, but it’s close.
Old 10-27-21, 01:55 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

A brutal, fast paced story based on "The Eight Immortals Restaurant Murders". Anthony Wong is great as a complete maniac, without any morals or empathy. He was also great in Ebola Syndrome. i do agree that the cops comic relief was a bit much and didn't suit the overall mood of this nasty category III film.
8/10
Old 10-27-21, 02:39 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I suggested The Untold Story for a subset pick because it was one of the few I had left to watch on the They Shoot Zombies... list (current #834). It's billed as a black comedy, and it's Cat III, and certainly succeeds at the second for sure. It seemed to be a 30-minute plot stretched out to just over three times that. That level of brutality is really not my thing, and even at best I thought the movie was never sure whose story it wanted to tell, the villain or the authorities, all, to varying extents, terrible people.

I may go watch Sweeney Todd as recovery.
Old 10-27-21, 03:30 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Never before have I envisioned someone being murdered with a soup ladle. Everyone here is so mean spirited but I was glad to see the pattern of murder followed by police comedic relief interrupted with the imprisonment of the criminal and his torture in jail – the scope and aftermath adds a little to an otherwise lukewarm film. That's a giant prop syringe. There is a level of tension and the gore effects are nice; at the end I like how they played with time telling flashbacks to keep things more novel. Apparently this is loosely based on a true crime where only preserved human limbs were found at a butcher so the flashback seems tacked on perhaps as a market as ‘based on a true story.’ It's curious because Untold Story seems to want us to empathize with the villain and that's ambitious but failed here (because he is so mean and they just showed us chopping up kids, which is maybe part of the dark comedy). I feel like Asian films do a better job of incorporating comedy or having films that are comedies so dark they blur the line.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-27-21 at 03:56 PM.
Old 10-27-21, 04:25 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Undeadcow
It's curious because Untold Story seems to want us to empathize with the villain and that's ambitious but failed here (because he is so mean and they just showed us chopping up kids, which is maybe part of the dark comedy). I feel like Asian films do a better job of incorporating comedy or having films that are comedies so dark they blur the line.
Good point. I feel like the American version would have a 'but look, he's nice to puppies!" scene. No such thing needed here.
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Old 10-27-21, 06:05 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I'm trying to label the films I watch today that fit the seasonal theme by the season but unclear on The Untold Story; would it be Summer because of the early beach scene?
Old 10-27-21, 06:28 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Man, this dude is brave. He doused the guy in gasoline and then lit the dude on fire, while continuing to douse the very small room with gasoline. Iíve seen enough YouTube videos to know the is crazy dangerous. Letís see hoe this goes. Never heard of Category 3 HK movies...
Old 10-27-21, 08:17 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Toddarino
I didnít think The Collector could be defeated for my least favorite subset pick, but here comes the Untold Story. I wish I could be impartial and think of positive things, which Iím sure there are, but man this was a chore. Maybe even chore isnít the right word. I was just annoyed for an hour and a half. The four moron cops and their chief with his parade of broads werenít funny. Everyone just yells their dialogue.
I didnít hate it on the level of last years Whoís Watching Oliver, but itís close.
After the rape scene it definitely was a chore for me. Then to get to the end with the family tortured and murdered...
Old 10-27-21, 09:55 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

This movie was so schizophrenic. The cop gang was a comedy of the bumbling ineptitude. And then there were rape and murder scenes that were horrific and so explicit. They didn't belong in the same movie, IMHO. The rape of the waitress was especially hard to take. Even beyond that, there is SO MUCH misogyny in this with all the guys comically leering after hookers and treating the female detective with such disdain. I noticed that in Ichi The Killer, which I watched for this challenge as well. On a positive note, it was interesting that it was based on a real case and the lead actor was genuinely creepy. 2.5/5 stars.

Last edited by jholmes; 10-27-21 at 11:08 PM.
Old 10-28-21, 11:23 AM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

This gave me Last House on the Left vibes with the comical bumbling cops juxtaposed with the horrible crimes, but Last House is a far better movie.

Interesting that at least one of you felt we were supposed to sympathize with the killer. I felt like this movie was just in it for the shocks wherever they could be found. The only character that I felt maybe we were supposed to sympathize with was the female cop.

Also interesting to see the waitress killing scene singled out. While the actress gave her all with the performance, the bumbling nature of the killer and the way it was filmed just made it seem awkward and obviously not real. But that was an issue I had overall with the lead performance. It was dialed up to 11 the whole time. I guess it was supposed to be comical, but it was just loud instead and made it harder for me to feel anything whatsoever for this movie.

About the only scene that I found really effective was the flashback. Otherwise, I don't feel like it ever got its tone right. Things were played so over the top comical most of the time that it undercut the scenes where I don't think that was the intention.

Old 10-28-21, 11:39 AM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Yeah, this movie is so tonally wacko. One minute it is a typical horror film. The next it is a comedy. The next it is a drama. The next it is a police (poorly done) procedural crime film. Then it is torture porn. Cannibalism...check. Rape...check. Suicide....check. Burning a person....check. Extreme executions...check. And on and on. It was like they couldn't decide what they wanted so they just through the kitchen sink at it.

I didn't like it but I didn't hate it either. It held my interest but the rape scene was horrific. Rape is awful enough but the way they finished it out...yuck! And then the kids in danger and being killed scene was awful. Those kids looked truly terrified (not acting) and it made me feel guilty for even watching it.

The comedy wasn't very funny and the Keystone Cops gave me only a small chuckle or two though you could tell the filmmakers were trying really hard. Maybe people were busting a gut in Hong Kong but the humor never hit for me. Their fawning over the police chief was bizarre and treatment of women is poor at every turn during this movie.

The gore was well done and a couple of parts were gag worthy. Just watching a meat grinder makes me want to gag most anytime no matter what is being ground through it.

All in all...not a terrible watch but I can't see me ever wanting to revisit it.

My rating: **1/2 out of *****
Old 10-28-21, 12:49 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I can handle a certain amount of torture in films, but the gleeful sadism in this flick was far too much! The eye gouging with the spindle was bad but then the rape and then then killing the family? I HATED this movie.
Old 10-28-21, 02:46 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I didn't think the film was trying to make the audience empathize with the killer at all, I think it was a form of catharsis for the audience. This film was based on a real incident known as the "Eight Immortals Restaurant Murders." The film is clearly painting Wong Chi Hang as a monster, even lamenting during the end credits that he escaped justice through suicide. My guess is that the scenes of Wong being beaten served to give the audience a feeling of righteous justice.

I'm reminded of the fact that I watched Jackie Chan's Police Story 2 or 3 times before I realized the theme was that cops should be allowed to get away with police brutality. My mind just didn't seem to want to recognize that fact at first. We have to be careful not to always apply our own cultural perceptions on foreign films; sympathy for the devil is a popular trope in Western culture, but I think the film's depiction of Wong Chi Hang is quite consistent and never attempting to get inside his head. He's portrayed as a loud, dumb, reactionary sadist from beginning to end.

I can totally understand people who don't like the comic relief in films like this, but I found it to be a relief. The film has such harrowing and disturbing scenes that I'm glad the entire runtime didn't feel punishing. Instead it felt like a roller coaster of emotions, and the comic relief is suitably over-the-top just like the violence, and similar to what I've seen in other films from Hong Kong. I can check out a French horror film if I want something entirely unrelenting.

I thought Anthony Wong did a great job, and really carried the film with his performance. I've known about Cat III films for sometime but am only just diving into them; it seems like they're finally getting some love in the hi-def home video world. Overall I enjoyed it and I'm glad it was chosen as a subset pick.
Old 10-28-21, 03:17 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Man, all the hate!

I was actually looking forward to this one. I pulled up the Category 3 films, and had seen a very small handful. Hell, we had seen Seeding of a Ghost (1983) a few years ago, and I thought that was a blast. Seeding depicts rape and revenge, and I didn't feel that was trying to push the envelope graphically, so I had less trepidation going into it. The opening credits had the guy sneering at the screen during his booking/ mugshot, and that seemed very tongue in cheek.

I agree with a lot of what DaveyJoe is saying here regarding adding levity to lighten what can already be a very heavy movie.

Man, that's some real righteous justice. The guy was constantly being beat upon by police and inmates. Even Wong Chi Hang complained about it when the press was around. Maybe he's complaining because he knows how it can be perceived. Even the cops say they should stop beating him, before going in full throttle.

Overall, I enjoyed it too.
Old 11-01-21, 12:54 AM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I agree with those above who found the rape and child murders to be too much; I was surprised that they were in the film. Even more surprising, though, was that Anthony Wong won Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for playing the killer in this. There's obviously a big disconnect between what Americans see as a good performance (at the 1994 Oscars, Tom Hanks won for Philadelphia) and what passes for a good performance in Hong Kong.

I side with those above who found the comedy relief to be annoying; I also think that in pretty much every Hong Kong film that I've ever seen, there's an overly-petulant female character, like Bo in this one.

My subset film rankings for the Challenge thus far:

1. Battle Royale
2. Carrie (1976)
3. Curse of the Demon
4. Freaky
5. Slither
6. Possessor Uncut
7. The Ninth Gate
8. Tower of Evil
9. Witchfinder General
10. A Bay of Blood / The Spiral Staircase (averaged together)
11. Planet Terror
12. Silent Madness
13. Slumber Party Massacre II (based purely on its out-of-left-field aesthetic)
14. In Search of Darkness
15. The Gate
16. Road Games
17. Daughters of Darkness
18. Triangle
19. The Untold Story
20. The Collector
21. Cure
22. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
23. Grave Robbers (Ladrones de Tumbas)
24. The Severed Arm
25. Fade to Black
26. The Empty Man
27. The Mortuary Collection
28. Cutting Class
Old 11-13-21, 12:51 PM
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Re: "The Untold Story" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by WillieMLF
Man, that's some real righteous justice. The guy was constantly being beat upon by police and inmates. Even Wong Chi Hang complained about it when the press was around. Maybe he's complaining because he knows how it can be perceived. Even the cops say they should stop beating him, before going in full throttle.
It's like when I know I shouldn't eat the leftover dip that's been in the fridge for a few days but I do it anyway.

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