Pure Horror

Amos Lassen

Herman Yau’s “The Untold Story” is a move you will never forget. After severed limbs are discovered along a Macao beach, local detectives are sent on a search for the suspected killer. Their findings take them to the Eight Immortals Restaurant and its new owner, Wong Chi Hang (Anthony Chau-Sang Wong). Trough pressure and some unorthodox methods, they finally break Wong and get him to confess to the grisly murders of an entire family.

The film is brutal and has many layers to it but this is not a film for everyone. At times I thought I was watching a buddy cop comedy, at other times it seemd to be a documentary but it is, above all, a horror film that is well made, well written, and a very comprehensive story. The comedic elements are very funny and help to create some levity in what is a very dark tale overall.

The film has been heavily cut for many years because of explicit scenes of sexual assault and rape and violence against children, including at least one decapitation.

All manner of violence and gore is created with 100% practical effects and no extraneous CGI. There is no holding back as the antagonist goes around chopping up bodies, stabbing people in the face and head with paper receipt spike sticks, etc. The high level of gruesome carnage is maintained the entire time.

With its new 1.78:1 restoration, the film looks and sounds excellent. It’s as if the film was shot just this year, instead of in the early nineties.

There is a lot of special bonus content— various interviews and Q&A sessions, as well as the feature-length documentary. 

The acting is wonderful throughout especially from Anthony Wong as the owner of the Eight Immortals Restaurant in Macau. Business has been booming under Wong’s ownership. However, one wonders what has happened to the original owner of the place, Cheng Lam. When a mother and her two children find dismembered arms on the beach, the Macau police, led by Officer Lee investigates.

The arms belonged to the mother-in-law of Cheng Lam and Wong is asked about Cheng Lam. Wong claims Cheng sold him the restaurant and left. However, letters from Cheng’s family in the Mainland begin to arrive. Meanwhile, when a new hire sees Wong cheat at mahjong, he confronts Wong. Wong becomes unstable and kills the new hire. Realizing that he cannot move the corpse, he comes up with an idea. He chops up the body and uses the flesh for his pork buns.

As the police continue their investigation, Wong’s other hire Pearl gets suspicious of Wong, especially after constantly receiving the letters from Cheng’s family. When Wong suspects she has told the police something, he rapes and ultimately kills her as well. The police connect Wong to the dismembered arms and have him arrested. When Wong is sent to prison, he attempts suicide after receiving a vicious beating from Cheng’s brother Poon. At the hospital, a failed attempt at escape force the police to take drastic measures in order for Wong to confess.

Rated Category-III (Hong Kong’s version of the NC-17 rating), this is truly one of the most disturbing films to come out of the Jade Screens. Director Herman Yau has crafted his tour-de-force with this visionary tale of a psychotic madman’s downhill spiral and his efforts to not be judged in any way, even though the audience knows what a psychopath this man was.

To make the film more entertaining in a way is a break from the madness. The Macau cops are seen as a group of chauvinists who ogle the hookers that lead Detective Lee is always carousing. In practically every scene, Danny Lee’s veteran cop is seen with a hooker on his arm. His group has one female, Bo (Emily Kwan) who is  coerced into doing more on the job by her fellow cops. However, she takes the reigns dutifully when it comes to solving the crime.

The film is shocking  so if you have a weak stomach or heart, it is highly recommended that you do NOT see this movie. If on the other hand, you are in the mood for something different, you do not want to miss this.