Warner Archive Horror Release: Confessions of an Opium Eater, The Sorcerers & The Face of Fu Manchu

Confessions of an Opium Eater

"Vincent Price faces the death of 1,000 cuts in this delirious pulp adventure directed by Touch of Evil producer Albert Zugsmith. Returning to San Francisco after a long stay in the Orient, two-fisted mercenary Gilbert De Quincey (Price) finds himself caught in the midst of a Tong war. Descending deep below the surface of Chinatown, he plays one side against the other in a daring attempt to break up a human trafficking ring, where slave girls are auctioned for opium. A surreal, rip-roaring yarn packed with evil drug lords, secret passageways, illicit opium dens and more, Confessions of an Opium Eater is a “claustrophobic fever dream … one of the most bizarre, beautiful and poetic Z-films ever made” (Chicago Reader)!"

I have to admit, that with all three of these films, I had a slight difficulty getting into them. They're all nearly 50 years old, and not a generation of films that I grew up watching. I somehow missed the 60's, 70's and 80's (even though I'm relatively well versed in 40's and 50's films). However, after my initial acclamation, I really enjoyed Confessions of an Opium Eater, probably the best out of all of the Warner Archive Horror Releases. I even recognized Vincent Price, although I'm not quite sure from where. The movie, while humorous in its old school sound and effects, had witty dialogue paired with a serious plot. The cinematography was interesting as well, with the play of shadows, and angles. My absolute favorite character was the hilarious "little person" female character that befriended Vincent Price kept in the basement where the slave girls were kept and auctioned. My husband said this was also his favorite out of the three.

The Sorcerers

"Boris Karloff is at his mesmerizing best in this hypnotic chiller costarring Catherine Lacey (The Lady Vanishes) and directed by Michael Reeves (Witchfinder General). A disgraced hypnotist, Professor Marcus Monserret (Karloff) is about to have the last laugh. Inventing a machine that can control the minds of others, he lures Mike Roscoe (Ian Ogilvy) to his dingy flat to take part in a grand experiment. Discovering he can experience Mike’s sensations as well as his actions, Monserret envisions his device as a boon to science. His maniacal wife (Lacey), however, embittered by years of poverty, soon overpowers her husband and proceeds to use Mike for her own selfish gain. The rarest of the three films directed by the gifted Reeves before his untimely passing, The Sorcerers is a unique work of genius that “rivals the brilliance and intelligence of Peeping Tom” (The Overlook Film Encyclopedia)."

If you're looking to delve into a strange world of mind control, violence, jealousy, and really loud noises (I had to plug my ears at one point), then The Sorcerers is the movie for you. The entire pretense of the movie was fascinating. Melding minds to feel what another person feels and through such being able to control what they do. In theory, that's pretty cool. However, when Professor Marcus Monserret's wife goes off the deep end due to her jealousy over everything she never received in life, the movie takes a twist that I didn't expect, nor fully understand. Overpowering her husband and his control over his test subject, she destroys the hypnosis equipment and forces the test subject to go on a vengeful killing spree on her behalf. The ending provided less closure than I personally would have liked. (I like movies that have a happy ending.) But, since this wasn't your typical happy-go-lucky film, the open ended finish fit in with the bizarre nature of the film.

The Face of Fu Manchu

 "The world can breathe easier. Fu Manchu, the crimelord who knows the hidden powers of the mind, is dead. No less than Scotland Yard’s Nayland Smith witnessed the execution. But beware. Don’t expect Fu Manchu to die so conveniently when there’s still so much evil to perpetrate. Christopher Lee plays the malevolent anti hero of the popular Sax Rohmer novels for the first time in The Face of Fu Manchu. World domination is the ingenious fiend’s goal, one increasingly within his long-nailed grasp now that he’s discovered a secret potion so toxic that one drop can kill thousands. Pay heed, you Nayland Smiths of the world: The forces of evil are very much alive! Are you so foolish as to believe you can oppose the will of Fu Manchu?"

Murders, a mastermind, secret potions, and plot twists; all the things needed to create a truly thriller-ific film in The Face of Fu Manchu. Then throw in the action scenes and fist fights and you've got yourself a rip-roaring adventure. There are several logic gaps (which tend to drive me a bit nutty when watching a movie), however the story was constantly moving, and always capturing my attention. What really captured my attention was the beginning of the film. Watching what I thought was the execution of Fu Manchu - I went into this movie completely blind to the story line - which come to find out was a hypnotized double set up to take the fall for the still-alive Fu Manchu! Oooh, a movie with a beginning twist. As the movie progresses, the setting changes from China to London, and are then introduced to a Scotland Yard Inspector named Nigel Smith. A string of strangulation murders alerts viewers to the possibility that Fu Manchu is still alive. Dun dun dunnnn!

With the Warner Archive Horror Release I had fun watching movies that made me feel like I was in a time warp. For more videos, games, and downloads you can visit Warner Video. Stay up to date with new releases, and find other great DVDs that you can enjoy with your entire family!

*I received these products free of charge from Warner Brothers in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

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