I once got wired on ten straight cups of coffee and spent the night watching horror movies in a haunted building. Also, when I was a little pup, I pretended to go fishing with my family in the backwoods of West Virginia, but in reality I undertook a one-man quest for the dreaded Abbagoochie. None of these adventures were as strange as watching Furious, however.
If you don’t know, Furious was made way back in 1984 for no money whatsoever. Filmed amongst the same Southern California backyard scenery as Dennis Muren and Jack Wood’s Equinox, Tim Everitt’s hybrid kung-fu-meets-mindfuck quickie became a cult classic for about a hot minute. In shorthand, it’s a film one loves ironically, for Furious is loaded with goofs and gaffs that are hard to explain away with the simple word “experimental.” Now, as of this writing, Furious can be yours to enjoy for the first time on DVD thanks to Leomark Studios. Thanks Leomark, thanks for the visual syphilis.
At this point, the reviewer, this guy [unseen writer throws his thumbs to his chicken chest], goes into detail about the film’s plot. Well, like the great kemosabe in the sky says: we’re out of luck. Furious, like Poe’s German book that does not permit itself to be read, does not allow itself to be described. Or at least described in any way that’s meaningful or enlightening. This porta potty of a film centers around Simon (played by…uh…Simon Rhee), an almost silent martial arts expert who lives in a wooden shack surrounded by prepubescent students. Simon must’ve gone to the Penn State School of Kung-Fu and Wizardry, or maybe he was tripping from too many trips to Subway. It can happen, I guess.
After being summoned by the Grizzly Adams lookalike who killed his sister in the first sequence, Simon journeys to the heavily windowed lair of Master Chan (played by Phillip Rhee). A white-haired weirdo who floats and hangs out with karate magicians, Chan begins the film as a sort of Hera to Simon’s Hercules. He gives him a necklace with a hanzi on it that represents Simon’s first quest, which turns out to be a Chinese restaurant protected by Chan’s men. This should’ve been tip-off number one: Maybe the guy sending you into harm’s way isn’t there to help you, especially since his goons are the one doing all the endangerment.
After a long fight scene where all of Simon’s friends die, Simon takes a breather in a stream with a whispering Buddha spirit. The detached voice tells Simon to “beware” over and over again. Stay tuned—this theme will appear again. Simon then returns home only to find Grizzly Adams hiding out in his casa. Another fight ensues, with Simon grabbing old beardo’s hanzi amulet. This amulet takes Simon back to the restaurant and yet another fight scene. Of note is the fact that Chan’s karate magician sets the stage for the brawl by showing Simon the severed heads of his friends from the first fight scene. Simon yells in the exact same manner in a continuous loop until he punches some shirtless dude in the kisser.
Okay, so at this point, Simon still believes that Chan is his friend. After all, Chan helped Simon to end the fight at the restaurant. Afterwards, Chan tells Simon that his sister’s death has been avenged. He also tells Simon to go home six times as he somehow moves farther and farther down the beach. Simon just nods his head and looks in Chan’s direction. Simon heads back home (probably because he’s annoyed), but is stopped by the whispering Buddha again. This time, the Buddha tells Simon that Chan is evil. Cue new journey.
For the remainder of the film, Simon and his small army of bratty karate students conduct several not-so-special operations against Chan’s very pregnable fortress. As is the case in most low-budget kung-fu films, Chan’s men are worse than useless. When not being beaten silly by Simon, they’re being turned into chickens (no, really) by Chan’s karate magician in order to prove something. Apparently, during their off time, they’re also part a new wave collective that plays out-of-tune music while looking like Z-grade Devo.
After a couple more fight scenes, Simon and Chan prepare for the final battle. We know now that Chan is not only evil because he has learned the ways of Western capitalism and the fast food industry, but also because he seeks the ultimate power that can only be found in an alternative realm. But a couple of kicks and punches do the trick, and Simon turns Chan into a skeleton as the ghost of Simon’s dead sister cackles in the background. Zhōng
This is Furious. There are many like it, but this one is uniquely terrible. From its atrocious sound editing to its breathtakingly bad script, Furious is an anti-movie inside of anti-movie. There’s nothing redeeming about this pile of horse pucky, and that’s why so many deadheads enjoy it. Furious isn’t even Folger’s Coffee; it’s an off-brand. Furious isn’t even Here Comes Honey Boo Boo; it’s your best friend in the bathroom taking a righteous doo-doo. And here’s the best part: Furious is so bad that it’s worse than bad, which is A-ok with the viewers that be. Tim Everitt and Tom Sartori’s stoogepiece has in a weird way stood the test of time and taste. God bless it. It’s the greatest film to watch while drunk on a Saturday night. We need more films like that.