I've never truly immersed myself in Asian horror cinema. Sure, I'd seen The Ring, Ju-On, Kairo, One Missed Call, Dark Water, and The Eye, and I know of the Guinea Pig series. I've also seen Chorake and Killer Snakes (both of which I dug), a couple of the flying vampire head movies, and Calamity of Snakes, but Asian horror cinema was never really an obsession for me, like slashers, Italian horror, or regional US horror. I've nevertheless been feeling a bit curious, so I ordered two from the 88 Asia collection, namely Bewitched and The Oily Maniac. Why these two? One for the graphic imagery I'd seen online, and one for the outrageous title. Now, did they wet my appetite for more? Bewitched opens with the gruesome discovery of the corpse of a young girl with a nail driven through her skull. The girl, it turns out, was murdered by her father Stephen, and while he admits to the deed, he claims that a curse made him do it. Said curse has also rendered him impotent and covered with blisters and unsightly body hair. At its best, Bewitched is a special effects show and really gross, but there's an unevenness of tone that made my toes curl to the point that I went down a shoe size or two. See, the reason for Stephen's curse is a jilted lover. He had been on vacation in Thailand, were he met a woman he took for a high class call girl. So high class that she refuses his money. The two communicate in very broken English (obviously meant to be funny, but it isn't), and he finally gains her "services" by buying her a cheap-ass piece of jewellery. After getting his rocks off, he goes home to Hong Kong. The only issue is that she's in love with him, and has had a mercenary warlock place two curses on him in the event that he doesn't return to her. It's not so much the plot device itself, but the goofy way it is dramatized. I simply couldn't understand why the woman became infatuated with Stephen to the point that she'd wish a slow, horrible death upon him if she couldn't have him. It was just a few days of nice sex. Get over it, honey. A policeman named Bobby, sceptical of the supernatural, becomes involved, and sets out if not to clear Stephen's name, then at least find someone who can lift the curse. He eventually finds a Buddhist monk who engages in a mystical extended duel with the evil warlock. Before the movie is over, more spells will have been cast, with Bobby now finding himself at the receiving end, which proves most impractical, as the movie introduces a mentally challenged character (played for laughs, which is both insulting and unfunny) who requires the attention of the police more than once. Of course, the special effects are wildly entertaining, but I can't really go into them without spoiling the movie: Spoiler The most gross-out moment is when Stephen becomes the victim of a third curse. At this point he's hospitalised and covered in bandages from head to toe, with body fluids oozing through the bandages. He suddenly becomes violently ill and starts throwing up... worms. At this point, poor Stephen decides he's had enough and stabs himself repeatedly in the gut with a broken bottle. Nearly as disgusting is the warlock's jar of spell-enhancing goodies. While the monk and the warlock, one in his temple and the other in his lair, fight for mystical dominance, each resorts to various magical implements and components to beat the other. At one point, the warlock decides that not one, but two gulps of liquid from the jar of guts and dead babies are necessary. Ew! Of course, the warlock finally gets his comeuppance in a final confrontation with the monk. The warlock gets covered in huge, bursting blisters, is transformed into an old woman(?), tries to escape through the mouth of his old woman form in the shape of the most incredibly fake bat you've ever seen(?!), and ends up being caught by the monk and tucked in his pocket(?!!). The Oily Maniac concerns the crippled Shen, whose uncle has been sentenced to death. Before his execution, the uncle shares the secret of a spell which allows the user to transform into a powerful oily creature. The uncle also warns that the spell must only be used in the name justice, which Shen then proceeds to do. Rapists, unscrupulous lawyers, incompetent plastic surgeons, and a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape (how about that in these #MeToo times) all meet their greasy ends at the hands of the oily maniac. While obviously a guy in a suit, the oily maniac himself looks pretty cool. Until he transforms into an oil slick, that is. When the oily maniac needs to move quickly, he turns into the clumsiest optical effect imaginable. The gore is minimal, but there's lots of skin. I read in a review that nearly all of the actresses in it are topless at one point or another, and it's true. One of them has had botched plastic surgery and shamefully reveals a droopy, scarred breast to a sleazy lawyer. Compared to Bewitched, The Oily Maniac is never as all-out gross, but on the plus side, it doesn't hit any real bum thespian notes. The lead actor, Danny Lee, is likable throughout, and you never feel that any of his victims got less than they deserved. Spoiler And even so, poor Shen is punished in the end, when a well-meaning young woman sets his oily ass on fire and ends his crusade against injustice. The Oily Maniac may overreach itself as a special effects show, but it's fast-paced and never boring. So... did Bewitched and The Oily Maniac wet my appetite for more 70's and 80's Asian horror. Kind of. I liked both, but perhaps not unreservedly so. I'd be curious to see something from the same period with the best qualities of both but without the flaws.