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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #522  (Vol. 11, No. 13)  This edition is for the week of March 22--28, 2010.

"How To Train Your Dragon"  by Mike Smith
FANEX Files: Samuel Z. Arkoff  by ED Tucker
Album of the Month: Jimi Hendrix-Valleys of Neptune  by Terence Nuzum
FANGRRL Goes To The 2010 Gasparilla International Film Festival  by Lisa Scherer
DVD Review: Cave of the Silken Web  by Jason Fetters
Lampin' Goes To Wild Splash 2010  by John Miller
Movie Notes .... Passing On .... Toy Story .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith

DVD Review:
Cave of the Silken Web

Every so often I check the used DVDs at Moviestop, the one near Citrus Park Mall, to see what strange offerings are available. Last week was no exception as I spotted an old Shaw Brothers movie for $3 called The Cave of the Silken Web. I have seen countless quality Shaw Brothers movies so I thought that this was a safe bet. Saturday afternoon I got together with a friend to finally watch it. The result, we both fell asleep around 4pm! The basic minimum plot is a group of Chinese women, who just happen to be wearing colorful skimpy outfits to tell one from the other, live together in a cave. These women use magic powers to create spider webs to trap travelers into. Then the unlucky victim would be boiled alive and eaten. As zany as that sounds this movie fell flat on all accounts. The women would randomly break into singing and dancing and the songs would try to poetically discuss plot points, which did get lost in translation thanks to awful subtitles. I gave up reading a few of the longer ones due to incoherencies. The soundtrack was one of the worst soundtracks in any Chinese movie. Loud drums sounds with more snares then Metallica’s St. Anger would assault the viewer. The drummer had no rhythm at all. What the soundtrack reminded me of, is a family trying to watch a movie while their son or daughter bangs away on a drum set in the same room. You could never predict when the horrid drumming would start and thankfully it would end, only to reoccur later.

The main characters were not developed at all. One stupid fat guy was walking around with his beer belly hanging out wearing a pig nose and huge floppy pig ears. Naturally he was called Piggy and the butt of all types of fat jokes and loneliness. A typical scene involving Piggy would go like this. A woman would appear in a bright-colored outfit and flirt with Piggy to catch his interest. Such flirting would continue until he was close to the spider web. The spider web was a terrible special effect, even for 1967. (Yes, I had to do a Google search to find out when Silken Web was made.)

The stop-motion animation used to show the web appearing was very jerky and chopping. One minute you were looking at a landscape then you would see a red colored web appear until it covered a cave opening. Anyway, after Piggy was lured further to a cave opening, another character would slap him around and reprimand him for giving into the temptations of women. This would be followed by a command to look out for the Master, then the damned awful drumming!!

The other character was the Monkey King who quite naturally wore monkey makeup and was supposed to be the brains behind the other stupid characters. If I were the Master in charge of this crew, I would fire everyone and hire better representation. One scene that I recall was the Monkey King walking into a cave to free his imprisoned master only to hit a red colored web, that he couldn’t see, and burst into flames. Then a gray skeleton fell over with bones cracking as they hit the ground. Those are very weak bones to break apart like that.

I fell asleep a couple of times, as I woke up for the second or maybe the third time, my friend informed me that I missed a brief nude scene. We discussed this in depth and came to the conclusion it wouldn’t be worth it to go back and find it. The nude scene was only about 3 seconds. I don’t think I can make it through this pile of garbage a second time.

I do apologize for not giving The Cave of the Silken Web a more thorough critique but the footage I was awake for just didn’t leave any favorable impression. Even the comic relief provided by Piggy couldn’t persuade me to recommend this to anyone, personal enemies included. My friend said it best when after watching it he told me that it needed to “be taken outside and burned.”

I tried to watch it by myself a couple of weeks back and got about five-minutes into it. It took a friend watching it with me to make it to the end.

I give The Cave of the Silken Web zero stars and a warning to avoid this like the Swine Flu. Shame on Shaw Brothers and anyone who foolishly paid full price for a new copy. If you have to watch it, then invite friends over and give it the Mystery Science Theater 3K treatment. I give it a Golden Poop Award for a truly bad movie with no redeeming qualities.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.