A Chinese Torture Chamber Story (1995) from Tuna

 "Mun ching sap daai huk ying" is a classic Hong Kong Category 3 film featuring a former Miss Asia, Yvonne Yung Hung. She studied dance as a child, only to injure her back. She moved on to a successful modeling career, then won the Miss Asia pageant, then in 1993 decided to try Category 3 films, an unpopular decision with her upscale parents. She has gone on to many roles in both Category 3 and mainstream films, as well as a recording career. A Chinese Torture Chamber Story is the film that catapulted her to stardom because her ability to portray a victim made her perfectly suited for this role.

The films opens with voice-over, describing the torture and punishment that were standard procedure in the Quing dynasty court, where they tortured confessions out of the accused, and then dispatched them in inventive ways. The narration is played seriously but, I am told, is hilarious to those who speak Cantonese. The entire film is a send-up of Quing dynasty court procedure, Taoist sexual practices and Confucian moralizing. Cut to a courtroom, where Little Cabbage (Yung Hung) is accused of murdering her husband and committing incest with Young Scholar, a wealthy prince. The facts of the case are that someone prescribed an aphrodisiac for her husband, who already had an enormous cock, and it exploded, killing him. More about that later.

The judge decides to loosen her tongue before questioning, and commands his men to "beat her ass 20 times," which they do gleefully right in the courtroom. She still claims she is being framed, and is innocent of both murder and adultery. The young scholar also proclaims his innocence. Little by little, in flashback sequences, interspersed with courtroom torture, we learn the story. The young scholar is married to over-sexed Ching Mai, and requires inventive marital aids to satisfy her. He is attracted to Little Cabbage's small feet, and brings her into his household. When her parents are killed by robbers, he takes responsibility for her, and wisher to marry her as a concubine. She asks that he wait for her one year of filial piety (mourning) to pass before taking her. Meanwhile, the wife is not thrilled at her presence, even less so when Little Cabbage spies on her having sex with the judge's son.

Ching Mai waits until Young Scholar is away on business, and marries Little Cabbage off to a poor man with a gargantuan penis, thinking that he will kill her with it. Afraid of him, Little Cabbage cowers on their wedding night, until he realizes that intercourse is probably not possible given his size, and we have a tender homage to the pottery wheel scene in Ghost, complete with Unchained Melody playing on traditional Chinese Instruments, while she masturbates him. Meanwhile, the young scholar is having adventures on his own, in the persons of two "Sex Fu" masters, Elvis Tsui and Julie Lee Wah-yuet, who fly through the air having sex, much like the fight scenes in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Elvis finally satisfies Julie her with a combination of "Invincible Mouth," "Oral Attack," "Invincible Wheel" and the highly-prized "Wonder Screw."

The two sex masters befriend the young scholar, a friendship that later helps his sister save him and Little Cabbage. The judge's son is not yet through with his dirty work. He decides to become invisible to screw Little Cabbage. When he tries, her husband defends her honor against the invisible attacker by slipping between the two and getting a mouthful of man-juice for his trouble. Thus Little Cabbage, who is accused of adultery, is still a virgin. The judge, in trying to protect his son, employs everything he can think of to extract confessions, including finger torture, pulling out of fingernails, bamboo under the fingernails, and more.

It is my understanding that the dialogue is superb in the original Cantonese. The subtitles can't come close to giving us that experience, but they do add their own unique humor, such as a women shouting at the height of passion, "It is so comfortable, it is so comfortable." Remember that this is a comedy, lest you take the torture, which will make you wince, too seriously.




This film has a little less in the way of nudity than many of the Category 3 films
  • breasts and buns from Yvonne Yung Hung
  •  full frontal from Julie Lee Wah-yuet
  • breasts and buns from Ching Mai
  • breasts and buns from an unknown who plays the sister of the young scholar.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C+, if you are going to see one Hong Kong Category 3 film, this is a very good choice.

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