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Film / The Castle of Fu Manchu

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The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969), directed by Jess Franco, is the fifth and final installment of the Fu Manchu series starring Christopher Lee in the role, known as Die Folterkammer des Dr. Fu Man Chu in German.

The plot comes off as a James Bond movie, with a diabolical villain planning to freeze the oceans of the world with a special formula. Fu Manchu needs a scientist alive, but as the man is dying from a failing heart, he needs a heart transplant (something very new when this movie was made). Thus, Fu Manchu kidnaps a doctor and his nurse to ensure his scientist hostage stays alive. As the evil mastermind works on his plans, Interpol and his nemesis Nayland Smith aim to find where he is located and aim to stop him.


For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.

This film provides examples of:

  • Bifauxnen: Lisa.
    Tom Servo: Either I’m weird, or that guy’s really hot!
  • Boring Failure Hero: Nayland Smith really doesn't defeat Fu Manchu, so much as stumble over his plot and just be a passive observer.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Lisa, Rosabla Neri's character, who is killed trying to rescue a colleague who has already been killed by Fu Manchu.
  • Dull Surprise: Fu Manchu, in every single shot.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Fu Manchu first appears fully towering over his assistant. Roger Ebert actually liked the shot.
  • Explosive Overclocking: An argument between Fu Manchu and one assistant over the former's machine and increasing power too much. Too bad the sound is so garbled you really can't hear them say anything intelligible, though the assistant gives a good Oh, Crap! face.
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  • For the Evulz: To prove how serious he is to the doctor and the nurse, he destroys a dam and kills all the workers. Why he has to prove this to them, how he did it, and what importance it has to anything except to prove he's evil is a total mystery.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: It's never explained why Fu Manchu wants to freeze the world's oceans.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Nayland Smith immediately knows the doctor has been kidnapped, simply because the doctor left a cigar burning on a nice table; he deducts this literally less than a minute after the doctor was kidnapped.
  • Stock Footage: The ship sinking which opens the story is footage from A Night to Remember. Something that's particularly jarring when you consider that this film was made in colour, and A Night to Remember was in black-and-white.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Fu was very quick to kill off allies the moment they became extraneous. (Hell, he even has living heart donors.)

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