There once was a glorious era for Hong Kong's Category III exploitation cinema when it seemed the boob-chopping serial killers, drooling rapists, wire-fu sex scenes, and sultry starlets steaming up the screen was in no short supply. But, it became one of the genres that faded in the mid-90's. Luckily, for the trenchcoat crowd, directors like Cash Chin (The Eternal Evil of Asia, The Fruit is Swelling, Sex & Zen 2) knew that there was still an audience out there for some good old gratuitous nudity and bad taste violence.
Taking its cues from many creepy loser films but perhaps most notably Killer Snakes due to a striking physical resemblance between the two stars, Naked Poison (2000) is about oily pervert Min (Sammuel Leung), a gangly geek who lives with his herbalist grandparents. Min is the kind of guy who is keen on taking upskirt pics of girls on the commuter ferry and at work, as well as peeping in on his neighbors while they are having sex. An early scene demonstrates his patheticness quite well: caught jacking it to his neighbors sex games, Min is ridiculed in front of his grandparents, beat up, including having his boner smacked around by the angry next door husband. Likewise, at work, he is bullied by his boss and only finds a friendly face in a cutie co-worker Ling (Gwennie Tam).
After his grandpa dies and grandma moves away, Min is left on his own with a shop full of potions. He concocts super-Mickey and spikes the next door neighbors wonton, turning her into a hump hound who is left with a headache and no memory of sleeping with Min. He next uses his roided roofie on his boss and the boss man's secretary/mistress (Sophie Ngan). The potions side effects leave them not only horny but hurting and in need of another herbal cocktail to temporarily relieve the severe, poisonous pain that flows through their veins. Min uses this to his advantage, blackmailing his boss for money and promotions, and Min quickly becomes more and more sadistic with his power. Eventually some detectives get on his case and it may be up to Ling to discover just how far Min has gone off the deep end.
I guess I'd call Naked Poison serviceable sleaze. It is a decent creepy softcore exploitation sex-horrorfest but no where near the nasties of Hong Kong's early 90's era like Erotic Ghost Story 2 or Run and Kill. It is just sleazy, cheesy, and nasty enough to entertain fans of the exploitive, but it doesn't quite have enough cheap thrills or lowbrow wit to put it among the classics.
Initially, Min is cast in a typical sad-sack pervert light, the guy who cant get a girl, has no social life, so he's developed all sorts of extreme mastabatory habits, like being a Peeping Tom. The film quickly takes a darker turn with the character when he gleefully celebrates his grandfathers death and it just gets darker as he takes to manipulating those he lusts after and envies. A little sympathy for your creepy peeper goes a long way, and Naked Poison opts for the Bad Ronald route instead of the Blue Velvet one, so you are left following an unsavory character, making the films final third a bit of a slog because you are just waiting for Min to finally get what is coming to him. When the film introduces the detective hunting Min, we surprisingly get cop who is a gloriously over-the-top, mincing gay caricature. It reinforces just how much of a shameless b-movie this film is and adds a little silly spice to the films conclusion.
On a final, negligible note, one of the selling points for Naked Poison was the fact that HK b-starlet Sophie Ngan would appear in her first nude scenes. She does, but co-star Gwennie Tam keeps her clothes on, which is actually terribly distracting considering every female in this salacious film, except Gwennie, shows their skin. While some HK softcore actresses like Amy Yip have made careers out of being in sex flicks but not revealing everything, honestly, in this kind of film it is a real letdown when you've cast one prude in a main role. Casting a girl who refuses to do nude scenes in a sex-filled Cat III flick is like hiring James Earl Jones to play a mute.
The DVD: Universe.
Picture: Non-Anamorphic Widescreen. Technically, a low end transfer, non-anamorphic with some compression issues and quirks like aliasing. Otherwise, the print actually looks pretty good. Some slight specks and spots, but nothing too severe. Good, solid colors that show off the lurid hues. Relatively sharp- I'd chalk the softer scenes up to the actual photography. Contrast and grain details appear decent.
Sound: Cantonese or Mandarin 2.0 Stereo. Optional Chinese or English subtitles. Well, it isn't really the kind of film that needs THX treatment, so it has good sound for a low budget b-feature. The subtitles are rife with grammatical errors and misspellings. ‟Ass-hole... You Bullshit... GoTake your time.‟ In a cheesy flick like this, I actually find that the flubs and the mangled English add some welcome amusement.
Extras: Trailer, that's it.
Conclusion: Its got the naked. Its got the poison. Decent sleaze horror, softcore sex, exploitation film. I wouldn't say it is a ‟must have‟ kind of film, but it is certainly worth checking out if you are a fan of HK Cat III films. The disc doesn't offer much incentive to buy it, a very basic, technically substandard transfer.