The Seventh Curse (1986)
Hong Kong director Lam Ngai Kai is best known for the transcendent viscera of Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991), but as a runner-up for splatter, The Seventh Curse doesn’t disappoint.
Between the martial arts set pieces and the shootouts, it’s all toothy demons, practical maggot effects, and a hero, Dr. Yuen (Chin Siu-ho), whose leg basically explodes once a day due to worsening blood magic. To cure it, he must venture into the Thai jungle and face a sorcerer, with help from some recognizable friends.
Chow Yun-fat (back when he had just entered John Woo’s orbit) plays Dr. Yuen’s best bud Mr. Wisely, a pipe-smoking witchcraft expert who’s also handy with heavy artillery. And Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love, Irma Vep) doggedly trails this supernatural quest as a plucky reporter.
Despite being a standalone film, The Seventh Curse has the fitful urgency of a franchise’s fifth entry—a feeling that probably owes to author Ni Kuang’s hundreds of serialized adventures centering Dr. Yuen and Wisely. It’s no problem. If Chow Yun-fat somewhat clunkily explains how to stop a leaping demon worm-baby, that’s justifiable once the demon worm-baby starts leaping.
Is all that madness enough to break the blood curse? Luckily, there’s no known cure for midnight movie energy. Cinemagic, March 10 (tickets from snowed-out Feb. 22 show will be honored).
Academy: The Matrix (1999), Lady Bird (2017), Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), The Hitch-Hiker (1953), March 10-16. Cinema 21: Sunset Boulevard (1950), March 11. Clinton: Daisies (1966), March 9. Daguerréotypes (1975), March 13. Hollywood: Children of Men (2006), March 10. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), March 11-12. Heat (1995), March 11. Friday (1995), March 11. But I’m a Cheerleader (1999), March 13.