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Shaw Brothers Kung Fu Theatre Presents FIVE DEADLY VENOMS

Shaw Brothers Kung Fu Theatre Presents FIVE DEADLY VENOMS

If you’ve seen Quentin Tarantino‘s Kill Bill movies (and, come on, you have) you probably remember the logo at the beginning of an old-timey-looking film company, with an “SB” in a similar shield to the Warner Bros. famous “WB.” This wasn’t just some random thing; Tarantino was paying specific homage to Shaw Bros. Studio, the Hong Kong production house responsible for some of the world’s greatest kung fu and wuxia films. Remember when Uma Thurman’s Bride gets trained by the old guy with the long, white hair and beard? That’s straight out of Shaw Bros. And we’re celebrating all things Shaw in a brand new Project Alpha watchalong series, Shaw Bros. Kung Fu Theatre!

Every Friday for the next eight weeks, at 7:30pm PST, we’ll be live streaming a different classic film from the Shaw Bros. library, and to kick things off, we’re looking at arguably their greatest film ever: 1978’s Five Deadly Venoms.

Directed by Hong Kong film legend Chang Cheh, Five Deadly Venoms became the gold standard for Kung fu movies, and its cast of Peking Opera School-trained acrobatic fighters and choreographers would come to be known as the Venom Mob. (How cool is that?!) The movie tells the story of a dying master of the powerful Poison Clan who tells his student (Chiang Sheng) that he needs to find out which of his previous five pupils had turned to evil. One problem is that the identities of the five students are unknown because they always wore masks. The other problem is that each of them has learned a specific fighting style based on different animals (Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard, Toad) and the final student has only learned tiny bits of each style. He’s going to have to team up with one of the Five Venoms to take down the evil ones.

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It’s a terrific set-up, and there’s enough intrigue surrounding who of the various people the student meets might be one of the Venoms. It’s sort of a whodunit mixed with a whichisem (a term I’ve just made up) featuring some of the best superheroic, wire work fighting scenes of all time.

During the live stream, you’ll hear myself and Dan Casey giving you insight into the movie and its impact on Kung fu cinema. And we’ll be there each and every week for a different movie, often joined by luminaries in fight choreography and Kung fu cinema. Believe me when I say, all of the films on the docket are well worth your kick-punch time. For further reading (hint hint) here’s my Schlock & Awe about The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.

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Join the fun, Friday night at 7:30pm PST only on Project Alpha!

Images: Shaw Bros


Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. He writes the weekly look at weird or obscure films in Schlock & Awe. Follow him on Twitter!

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