in the Carribean, a cruise liner hits an iceberg. It soon emerges that
the iceberg was created by another diabolical invention of Fu Manchu
(Christopher Lee) who informs the rulers of the world that they must
submit to his demands before he uses the weapons again. Teaming with an
Opium dealer, Fu Manchu's men capture a castle full of opium which is
turns out is essential to their scheme. Meanwhile, Nayland Smith
(Richard Greene) and Dr. Petrie head to Istanbul to find and stop Fu
The fifth and final film in the series, Castle of Fu Manchu is an execrably bad movie. From the opening scenes - stock footage from Brides of Fu Manchu (1966) and blue tinted black and white footage of the Titanic sinking from A Night to Remember
(1958) it is clear that this film is beyond lost. The storyline makes
little sense - did anyone tell the writer that icebergs cannot just be
made by freezing water? Again, just what is Fu Manchu actually asking
for? Characterisation is non-existant (are we really suppose to
care about Dr. Herakles and his weak heart?), plot holes
abound and the film suffers from some of the worst pacing I have
ever seen in a film (many scenes were boring even at 16x fast forward).
is equally inept - the obviously modern backdrops compared with the
occasional attempts at a 1930s setting - stock footage is crudely
inserted, most notably in the film appalling opening, that goes on for
seven minutes and should prompt any sane viewer to turn off
immediately. There are some nicely lit scenes in some caves, but few
viewers will actually be awake or sober enough to notice by this point.
Lee is back for the last time in a very small role this time around,
while Richard Greene as Nayland Smith tries hard but cannot capture the
character or make his scenes interesting. A curious mix of euro-cult
stars are present, including the attractive Rosalba Neri and the
Spaghetti Western regular José Manuel Martín, while
director Jess Franco plays a typically eccentric role as a police
inspector, with one of the best scenes in the film (even if it does
make no sense). Howard Marion-Crawford tries his hardest as Dr. Petrie
but the script has turned him into a buffoon, while Tsai Chin as Fu
Manchu's daughter seems very bored.
Undoubtedly the worst film in the series, Castle of Fu Manchu
is one of the worst films I have ever watched, and is simply not
enjoyable (except of course in its incarnation as an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000).
Not even gratuitous nudity could have saved this film (although it
might at least have made it interesting). A waste of celluloid and of
time, not recommended to anyone. If Fu Manchu were really diabolical,
he should interrupt all television broadcasts and screen this 24 hours
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour. The
print quality is decent, some print damage and mild grain. Stock footage is noticably poor.
English language original mono sound. Sounds okay, although the dubbing is much poorer than on the previous films.
The disc includes:
German theatrical edit. Contains some different editing, soundtrack and
some alternate footage with the original
German dubbing. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, most of the print
uses the restored footage of the Original version, but the German only
scenes are of a much lower quality. No subtitles.
English and German theatrical trailers.
screen text - notes on the film and contrast between the English and German edits.
Manual scrolling photo gallery - lobby cards and posters.
German release. DVD Title: Die Folterkammer des Dr. Fu Man Chu Only available as part of the Kinowelt Dr. Fu Manchu Collection.
Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
on DVD in the USA from Blue Underground, including a similarly good
looking print, plus interviews with Christopher Lee, Harry Alan Towers,
Tsai Chin and Jess Franco and text notes on the history of Fu Manchu.
Both versions of the film are believed to be uncut. The print of the Original Version as reviewed is English language.
One of the worst films ever made, it is horrifically paced, boringly written and uninterestingly acted. Not recommended.
A decent looking and sounding print. Lacks the bonus features of the US disc.