There’s a genre of movies I like to refer to as the “Holy Shit I Can’t Believe That” Movies. Most of these movies are things we see young. Lets face it the bloom comes off of this particular rose rather quickly. As I get older I find that all too often, “Holy Shit I Can Believe It.” And when I hear about something like Human Centipede I’m far more likely to react with a sigh and a “Really?” than gleeful anticipation.
Getting old can kind of suck sometimes.
Which is my round about way of saying that it is important to keep the films that can still illicit that gleeful disbelief near and dear. Master Of The Flying Guillotine is such a film. A rewarding exercise in bad taste, that keeps the jaw dropped and the pulse racing.
For one thing it has one of the greatest villains in martial arts cinema, introduced in one of my favorite openings of all time. From the moment The Flying Guillotiner greets the news of his student’s death by screaming, jumping through his ceiling, and setting his house on fire, before snatching up his flying guillotine and flying guiltinioning everything in sight our heart belongs to that bearded blinded bastard.
The Flying Guillotiner is out for revenge on a one armed man and he’s not particular about which one armed man he kills. In the next scene he starts his rampage by straight up murdering a drunken, one armed, hobo who was trying to get out of paying his bill. It cuts from the drunkard bragging about how good he is at Kung Fu, to The Flying Guillotiner shooting bolt upright and grabbing his Flying Guillotine. You see The Flying Guillotiner react and are like, “Wow that guy chose the wrong time to brag about being one armed.”
The great thing about The Master Of The Flying Guillotine, aside from the afore mentioned Master Of The Flying Guillotine himself, is that against the odds it works mighty well as a straight martial arts films. Unlike other Kung Fu movies which trade on notoriety (IE The Story Of Ricky, which has action choreography to rival the works of messrs Seagal and Van Damme ) The Master Of The Flying Guillotine delivers the goods with well choreographed action, a likable cast and the best of high seventies martial arts style.
The film does eventually set on the right one armed Kung Fu master. Who joins a martial arts tournament (which it must be noticed includes an Indian Fakir, placed in brown face which has to be one of the most staggeringly unPC characters I’ve ever seen.) Half of the film gets taken up with this tourney. And for a while the film becomes Jaws with The Flying Guillotiner as The Shark. You can’t see him but you know he’s out there. You know when he pops up its going to be bad news, but you can’t wait. And when he does come bursting back onto the scene he does not disappoint.
Whether you’re a hardened genre fan looking to get back in touch with his “Holy Shit I Can’t Believe That.” Impulse or a new fan looking for a gateway drug, Master Of The Flying Guillotine is ideal.