Skin Striperess Movie
Here’s another trashy offering from Hong Kong! You know, as a fan of Asian cinema, there are days when my cinema fix can only be satiated by truly thought-provoking high art; the kind of fare that challenges core values and provokes a strong emotional response. You know, the type of films spoken of in hushed, reverent tones by the kind of cinephile that goes out of their way to establish themselves as having been fans of everything before it was critically acclaimed. If it feeds the soul and enriches my viewing experience, it’s just right.
 
SKIN STRIPERESS is not that film.
 
Speaking as plainly as possible here, SKIN STRIPERESS features just about everything that make CAT III films the red-headed stepchild of the Asian horror cinema scene, and for justifiably good reasons. One simply cannot defend the type of socially unacceptable material on display in these films…so I won’t bother doing so. If you’re familiar with CAT III cinema, you get it. If you’re unfamiliar with it, and easily triggered (no shame in that), this really isn’t the street you want to be wandering down. Even the most jaded exploitation fan may occasionally find themselves cringing while watching a CAT III film. All of that said though, don’t expert SKIN STRIPERESS to be on the infamous end of the spectrum, as it’s more of a “horror comedy” than straight-up shocker. Having made films such as NEW MR. VAMPIRE (1986) and CRAZY SAFARI (1991), you should expect nothing less from Billy Chan, but RED TO KILL (1994) this is not.
 
Desperately in need of a loan to repair his decrepit resort for resale, Mr. Lau (Billy Lau, MR. VAMPIRE [1985]) wines and dines loan officer Yung (Stuart Ong, ROBOTRIX [1991]), hoping to get him to sign off on the project. Looking to further solidify Yung’s support, Lau offers up his beloved Chi (Chan Wing-Chi, NO GUILTY [1991]) for a night of carnal delights. Enraged that she’s once again been pimped for one of his business deals, an argument ensues and Chi ends up emotionally distraught, standing in the rain on their balcony. And, unfortunately, in the path of falling electrical wires.
 
Desperate to “fix” the issue, Lau takes Chi to a plastic surgeon, hoping reconstructive surgery will correct her horribly burned, disfigured face. Sadly, the damage is far too extensive. With nowhere left to turn, he requests the assistance of black magic practitioner Master Chan (Peter Chan, THE 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN [1978]). Master Chan assures Lau he can successfully perform the “Changing Face” ritual to give Chi her looks back in time for Officer Yung’s visit, but Lau will first need to find a woman to (involuntarily) donate her skin. Once the skin is procured, a few days will be devoted to a ceremony to keep the donor from returning to the land of the living, with vengeance on her mind.
 
In no time at all, Lau has his victim, the transplant goes off without a hitch, the body is buried and the ceremony begins. Everything goes according to plan. That is, until the donor’s grave is accidentally disturbed by a bunch of horny twenty-somethings camping out on the resort island. Now a very pissed-off ghost jumps into Chi’s body and it’s hungry for payback and, yup you guessed it, skin-ripping. As all hell breaks loose, their only hope for survival rests in the capable hands of an old Taoist named Lam (Lam Ching-Ying, MR. VAMPIRE [1985]), living on the island. Can Taoist Lam save Lau and the young people from the otherworldly vengeance of The Skin Striperess?
 
SKIN STRIPERESS is a cheap, easy watch for folks interested in a bit of comedy and sleaze. It’s not at all memorable, but it still manages to deliver a few chuckles here and there. A single viewing was enough for me as there’s really no replay value, in my opinion. One could probably make a case for the impressive colors used in lighting the film and fight choreography, they were certainly notable, but nothing that elevates this to “must-see” for me. I suppose some might want to check it out just for Lam Ching-ying’s presence alone, which is fair as it’s always fun to see the late great Lam don his Taoist robes and do what he did best, but this is a thin, silly film that barely warranted its CAT III rating. It was mildly entertaining, and totally deserving of its status as obscure trash. That’s right up my alley though, perhaps yours too.
 
 
[This article was contributed by ‘Brian Harris’ who manages Weng’s Chop Magazine]

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