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Hong Kong Horror Cinema$
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Gary Bettinson and Daniel Martin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424592

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424592.001.0001

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Hands, Fingers and Fists: ‘Grasping’ Hong Kong Horror Films

Hands, Fingers and Fists: ‘Grasping’ Hong Kong Horror Films

(p.110) Chapter 7 Hands, Fingers and Fists: ‘Grasping’ Hong Kong Horror Films
Hong Kong Horror Cinema

David Scott Diffrient

Edinburgh University Press

The cultural imaginary of kung-fu cinema has been codified as a physically balletic and graceful, if also violently bloody and brutal, genre defined in part by the persistent presence of deadly, thrusting hands. Of course, hands are also central to another type of cultural production, one that has often incorporated kung-fu action and iconography. This chapter assesses a broad range of motion pictures that showcase hands in thematically complex and symptomatically relevant ways, be they the severed anatomical remnants of long- departed souls sprung back to life in Witch from Nepal (1986) or the skeletal appendages that comically grab the protagonist’s crotch in Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980). This chapter strives to pin down the powerful forces that lay dormant within the genre, including its tendency to dredge up and display moments of excessive, otherwordly violence for which there is seemingly no “rational” explanation.

Keywords:   Embodied horror, Kung fu cinema, Gothic horror, Martial-arts iconography

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