July 26, 2014

SUMMER OF BLOOD, Day 56: Dr. Lamb (1992)

Directed by Danny Lee, Hin Sing "Billy" Tang. Starring Danny Lee ("Inspector Lee"), Simon Yam ("Lam Gor-Yu"), Kent Cheng ("Fat Bing"), and Pik Yu Chung. Not Rated.

Source: Region 0 DVD (Winson Entertainment/Tai Seng)
Running time: 01:28:47
Country: Hong Kong

Yeah, so I'm kind of a rookie when it comes to Hong Kong cinema, but I've been getting better in the last year or so. DR. LAMB is a movie that I've been wanting to check out since I saw actor Simon Yam in Johnnie To's ELECTION movies a few years back. It's also a title that was recommended to me by someone, somewhere, in the event that I go the CAT III route. "CAT III", for those who have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about, is basically part of the ratings system in Hong Kong, meaning "this movie is fucked up." That said, while watching this, I knew right from the start that it was offering something very important and special. Something that would play a factor in my overall enjoyment of it, whether the movie itself sucked or not.


DR. LAMB opens with sort of an origin story of a deranged taxi driver named Lam Gor-Yu, played by Simon Yam. He's called "Lam Gor-Yu" on IMDB but I'm pretty sure he was referred to by another name in the movie. Also, just to make things even more confusing, the "Lamb" in "Dr. Lamb" is a reference to Lam Gor-Yu, except it's spelled with a "B" at the end, like the animal. Yeah, I dunno. It's almost three in the morning as I write this and I'm tired as fuck. Nonetheless, Lam was apparently beaten one time by his mom when he was a kid and he saw a flash of lightning outside his window, naturally turning him into a serial killer in his adult years, who only strikes when its raining. That's what I took away from the establishing flashback sequence anyway.

The film also opens with a bunch of cops looking at recently-discovered photos of a naked woman who was killed and violated with a broom - not necessarily in that particular order. Leading the group of bumbling cops is a bumbling cop named Fat Bing, played by the hilarious Kent Cheng, who also starred in another CAT III movie called RUN AND KILL with Simon Yam. Anyway, their searches lead them to Simon Yam's character rather quickly. No build-up to a huge showdown or anything; they just find him and catch him in the first act of the movie. So clearly they're the best cops IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA.

The cops proceed to interrogate/beat the shit out of the apprehended suspect and even his roommates and family members. These cops don't fuck around. In particular, they torture Simon Yam's character for hours, failing to get a confession out of him. The only calm and sympathetic character is Detective Lee. It was during this interrogation process that I came to a painful realization as a viewer: this is a boring police procedural. I was expecting a movie about this crazy serial killer, and instead I'm just getting a bunch of sweaty cops yelling at some sweaty dude. However, after a certain point in the interrogation, the film essentially resets, showing us Lam's crimes through flashback scenes. Now we're talkin'!

The second half of DR. LAMB is a disturbing, hilarious, and sweaty look at the birth of a serial killer. Not the actual "birth" per se (obviously), but a look at what causes someone like Lam to snap and act out on his sick thoughts. It's a journey into the mind of a maniac. Speaking of which, I have to believe that William Lustig's MANIAC was a big influence on this. They're both very similar in terms of how much of their individual stories are shown through the eyes of deranged sociopaths and how twisted these characters are behind closed doors. In Lam's case, he has certain rituals and obsessions that he acts out. His crimes are almost like bizarre ceremonies, and, as the film progresses, it pushes the envelope even further with each crime. Let's just say that it's definitely well-deserving of its CAT III rating. There's certainly some disturbing and taboo stuff in the film (particularly an incident involving a child), but, for the most part, the film's edgier moments are so absurd that one can't help but laugh. Overall, DR. LAMB is a solid flick for what it is, with the only major drawback for me being the pacing, which is an issue I have with a lot of Hong Kong genre films. The ridiculous subtitles also made the movie a lot more enjoyable than it would've been otherwise.

Score: 7


  1. If you liked this at all, you gotta make room for EBOLA SYNDROME, Aaron.

  2. Dude, that's been on my must-see list just as long as this one. That and UNTOLD STORY. Love me some sleazy Anthony Wong.