For those of you looking for some Thanksgiving television entertainment, aside from family films, football and cable marathons (especially VH1’s “Awesomely Bad” marathon), you couldn’t do much worse that watching one of the best kung-fu films ever made on extended cable.
Master of the Flying Guillotine (aka One Armed Boxer vs the Flying Guillotine) is a classic in a genre full of cheesy films. The film’s star villain, a blind assassin posing as a monk, wields possibly the coolest weapon ever used in a kung-fu film: a spinning hat-shaped projectile with blades that beheads it’s intended victim. The flying guillotine-wielding monk sets out to assasinate a one-armed boxing instructor who killed two of his disciples in a previous film.
Master of the Flying Guillotine is actually a combination of two film franchises: the Shaw Brothers’ produced Flying Guillotine (in which the weapon is used as a tool in political assasinations), and the Wang Yu starring/produced One Armed Boxer, of which Master of the Flying Guillotine is the sequel.
For a good chunk of the film, the plot is set aside for an tournament sequence featuring some unique and bizarre fighting styles — the coolest probably being the Indian monk with the extending arms. This film also has the coolest soundtrack of any 70’s kung-fu film, featuring the music of German krautrock band Neu! (whose song “Super 16″ was borrowed for Kill Bill 2). Also note the lo-fi rock n’ roll track during the alternate title sequence.
If you have digital cable, Master of the Flying Guillotine will be shown on the Sundance channel today at 3:30pm EST/PST (2:30 CST), and again at 6:30pm EST/PST (5:30pm CST) on the West Coast feed. A two-disc deluxe anniversary edition will be released on December 21, a nice last-minute addition to your Christmas list.