Follow TV Tropes


Film / Ebola Syndrome

Go To

Ebola Syndrome is a 1996 Hong Kong exploitation film directed by Herman Yau, starring Anthony Wong during that period in his career where Wong becomes popular in films portraying serial killers, rapists, and sleazy scumbags. Revisiting similar plot elements to the earlier CAT-III film, The Untold Story (also starring Wong), the movie's excessive gore and disturbing elements made it a cult film for enthusiasts of over-the-top, nauseating, CAT-III cinema.

Kai-san (Anthony Wong) is a serial killer who fled Hong Kong and made it to South Africa, where he ends up working in a Chinese restaurant in Johannesburg. When going on an errand in the rural Jo'berg countryside where an outbreak of Ebola virus had occurred, Kai ends up contracting the virus, where he decides to keep the virus spreading across Johannesburg for his own sadistic pleasure.

This film contains examples of:

  • Amicable Exes: Kai had an old flame, Har, which he hadn't met since his university days, until the third act of the movie where he returns to Hong Kong from Johannesburg, finds her, and managed to convince her to let him bunk at her place for a while.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster above seems to imply the movie to be a zombie film in the vein of Braindead, what with a bloodied, zombified arm suddenly coming to life. It's NOT, while there is an outbreak of disease in the film, it's not a zombie virus.
  • Death by Cameo: The mobster who died a ridiculously over-the-top, excessively violent demise right in the first four minutes? That is veteran Hong Kong actor Shing Fui-on, best known for his villainous roles in The Killer (1989) and the first two A Better Tomorrow movies.
  • Death of a Child: During the Ebola outbreak in Johannesburg, some victims of the disease are children. Also when the police arrived to arrest Kai, who is bunking in Har's home, Kai grabs Har's daughter as a hostage and tries making a run for it, only to accidentally strangle the child. He then simply dumps the dead girl on the street like a bag of trash.
  • Dismembering the Body: The Villain Protagonist, Kai, who fled from Hong Kong to Johannesburg after committing murder. After finding work in a Chinese restaurant, overhearing his employer's plan to have Kai executed when Kai contracts Ebola, Kai murders the employer and his wife, before dismembering the bodies, having the bones and spare parts shoved into dumpsters and turning the flesh into meat-patties.
  • Downer Ending: Kai gets killed in the final scene, but AFTER he successfully unleashed the same plague he released in Johannesburg into Hong Kong. Untold hundreds of people in Hong Kong would die in the ensuing months after the credits have rolled before the virus can be contained eventually.
  • Eye Scream: The restaurant owner gets a handful of toothpicks shoved into his right eye by Kai, during the massacre scene.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Kai wears glasses when he returns to Hong Kong from Johannesburg, and he's one of the most despicable scum of a character in the entire movie.
  • Gorn: Loads and loads throughout the movie. For starters, the first scene in the restaurant where Kai is slicing up frogs while alive? Those are real frogs being cut up onscreen, although it's not Anthony Wong doing the cutting.
  • Groin Attack: In his first scene, Kai was caught by his ex-boss, a mobster, when bedding his boss' wife. Begging for mercy, Kai volunteers to snip off his own penis as punishment... only to instead use the scissors to stab the mobster's bodyguard in the crotch before using it to ambush his former superior.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Kai was NOT meant to be likable in any way, being a pervert, sex maniac, and ruthless killer who takes delight in abusing his victims (including raping a woman dying of a disease, only to smash her head with a rock when she weakly tries calling for help) and have no qualms when it comes to using children as a hostage.
    • The restaurant owner and his wife aren't portrayed in a positive light either. They are rude, condescending, only cares about money instead of their employees, is willing to purchase cheap meat from the Ebola-infected countryside just to overcharge their customers, and simply unlikeable throughout their screentime. So when both of them died brutally halfway through the film, NOBODY will mourn their loss.
  • I Love the Dead: A variation; but when Kai and the restaurant owner venture to the disease-stricken South African countryside to pick up some cheap meat, Kai comes across a tribal woman alone in the wilderness, about to die from an earlier Ebola outbreak. He then decides to have sex with the dying, defenseless woman just For the Evulz, resulting in him becoming a carrier and spreader of the virus.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Kai in the opening scene. After being caught red-handed by his ex-boss and ordered to be castrated, Kai offers to do it himself... only to instead attack his ex-boss with a pair of scissors.
  • Man on Fire: Kai suffers this fate after a propane tank blew up next to him, and is shot dead by the police while burning up.
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: Kai, which the movie made clear is a sexually-repressed virgin in his 40s, digs a hole in a piece of raw beef and uses that as impromptu jerkoff material while listening to his current boss and his wife having sex from one room over.
  • Neck Snap: The mobster in the opening scene, the restaurant owner and his wife, also Har's young daughter dies like this. With Kai is the killer in all these cases, although the last one is unintentional.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Har, for doing Kai a favour and letting him bunk at her place for old time's sake is to have her place raided by the police and her daughter kidnapped before being accidentally murdered by Kai during a standoff gone wrong.
  • The Plague: The Ebola virus, which Kai contracted after entering the South African countryside where an outbreak has occurred. He then spreads it throughout Johannesburg and Hong Kong.
  • Recycled Premise: Much of Kai's backstory has similarities to Wong Chi-hang, another despicable character portrayed by Anthony Wong; a murderer and sex maniac who fled Hong Kong, ends up working in a restaurant where he brutally kills its owners to take over the establishment, and serves tainted food to his customers while evading the authorities.
  • Sarcastic Confession: After committing the opening massacre on his ex-boss' family, sans a little girl, Kai was interrupted by a neighbor who unexpectedly barges in, failing to notice the bodies, where Kai quickly makes a run for it. The neighbor asks what's going on, leading to Kai's answer: "I'm committing murder! Is that a problem?"
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The mobster killed by Kai in the opening scene may have mere minutes of screen time, but he's the reason why Kai had to flee Hong Kong to Africa in the first place, where Kai eventually ends up in Johannesburg where he would contract the Ebola virus and start a massive viral outbreak that kills dozens.
  • Staying with Friends: Kai when he bunked into Har's place in the third act of the film. She took him in, unfortunately, completely unaware that he was a mass murderer who killed at least five people by himself and is responsible for the viral outbreak that killed dozens in Johannesburg.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Where to start?
    • The mobster, Kai's ex-boss he kills in the first scene, gets stabbed, has his head shoved into the joints of a folding table, and then has the table collapsed twisting his neck in the process. And Kai made sure he's dead by jumping up and down on the table.
    • The restaurant owner, after having a handful of toothpicks shoved into his eye, gets his head stuck between a pair of swinging doors. Kai then grabs the owner's legs and repeatedly pulls and pushes it, until his neck is completely dislodged.
    • After killing the owner, Kai then continues raping the owner's wife which he tied up previously, forcing her to perform oral for him, before crushing her skull with a heavy table.
    • Kai himself in the final scene; set on fire, shot repeatedly, and left to burn alive.
  • Tongue Trauma: The mobster's wife in the opening scene dies like this after Kai snips off her tongue (graphically, accompanied by a geyser of blood) using a pair of scissors.