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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.

The plot attempts to emulate a James Bond movie, with its titular diabolical villain planning to freeze the oceans of the world by using a special opium-based formula. Fu Manchu has imprisoned a scientist to assist him, but the man requires a heart transplant (something which was still very new when this movie was made), so Fu Manchu kidnaps a doctor and his nurse to ensure his hostage stays alive. As the evil mastermind works on his plans, Interpol and his arch-nemesis Nayland Smith aim to find out where he is located and 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 doctors, 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, though stopping international trade might be a way to blackmail the world.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Nayland Smith immediately knows the doctor has been kidnapped, simply because the doctor left a cigarette burning on a nice table; he deducts this literally less than a minute after the doctor was kidnapped.
  • Market-Based Title: Released in Germany as Die Folterkammer des Dr. Fu Man Chu ("The Torture Chamber of Dr. Fu Manchu").
  • 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.
  • Visual Pun: An unintentional example; the movie starting with a sinking ship is a perfect metaphor for how disastrous the film itself is.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Fu Manchu is very quick to kill off allies the moment they became extraneous. (Hell, he even has living heart donors.)