Sunday, July 31, 2022

Dreadful Plot

The martial arts mini series continued with director Yuen Woo-ping's 1981 "madman-on-the-loose" actioner DREADNAUGHT. For this title I used black as the thematic color. Well, not true black. I wanted the parchment paper textured to be visible, as it is with the other colors in this series. So it's actually a very dark gray, so the true black areas such as Biao's hair can stand out and pop against the background. 

The composition is straight forward. Yeun Shun-yi's serial killer looms ominously overhead. Yuen Biao's "laundry kung fu" (which was surprisingly parodied in BATMAN FOREVER) takes center stage, as it is a key element to the plot. Bryan "Beardy" Leung Kar-yan and Kwan Tak-hing flank him, while the Chinese lion/dragon dance/competition anchor the base.

The quasi-duotone booklet cover art focused on the bell necklace which drove White Tiger into a fit of angry rage throughout the film. Along with the blood splatter which ultimately resulted from his madness.

For the next title released in the series, THE SHAOLIN PLOT, I went with a hot magenta tone. A color pulled the costume worn by Chen Hsing's (aka Chan Sing). The narrowing perspective of the temple courtyard pulls the viewer's gaze into the image. With a single character partially turning to make eye contact with the viewer. As if to casually welcome you to witness the bloody conflict playing out in the heavens overhead, like angry Gods doing battle in a tremendous tempest. With villain Chen Hsing positioned as if manipulating deceitful strings of control over the proceedings.

(Although not a sequel, the bulk of the talented cast would carry over into Sammo Hung's directorial debut, THE IRON-FISTED MONK, made later that same year.)

My booklet art highlights Sammo Hung's weapon of choice in the film. A pair of deadly Golden Cymbals. His character even takes his nickname from this odd accoutrement. For the cover art I depicted the second, more deadly, version of the weapon (employed after the first pair get destroyed in battle) sporting teeth-like blades―for added carnage. 

Stay safe. And keeping riding the tide, until the next time we meet.

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