Not rated, 89 min. Directed by Danny Lee Sau-Yin. Starring Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Danny Lee Sau-Yin.
A film that pushes the limits of bad taste in several key scenes, Dr. Lamb is a slick, and sick, exploitation item that both repels the viewer with its images of disturbing, misogynistic violence, in addition to tickling them with repulsive black humor à la early John Waters. Based on a horrifying, true story, the film caused something of a sensation in Hong Kong, setting off a rash of similarly brutal “true crime” pictures. But while a few of these films have bettered their predecessor, Dr. Lamb undoubtedly remains the definitive movie of this particular genre. Directed by actor Danny Lee Sau-yin, who is best known for his role in John Woo's seminal The Killer, the film follows the gory exploits of disturbed cab driver Lam Gor-Yu, a twisted psychopath who spends his spare time killing, mutilating, and raping women. His habit of taking photos of the dead bodies eventually gives him away, landing him in the hot seat with a squad of abusive Hong Kong cops, led by the charismatic Lee. The direction is assured, the photography quite stylish, and the performances, for the most part, are pretty solid (Simon Yam Tat-wah's edgy portrayal of Lam is delirious -- equally terrifying and hilarious), so why am I so hesitant to recommend Dr. Lamb? For starters, its taboo combination of graphic sex and violence is sure to upset all but the most jaded of viewers, and its inclusion of campy humor into the grisly proceedings will most likely alienate the arthouse crowd who embraced the not entirely dissimilar Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Ultimately, it's the exploitation crowd who will flock to Dr. Lamb, and they won't be disappointed, for it does deliver a number of jolting, effective, and totally outrageous set pieces that are indescribable in this forum. All in all, Dr. Lamb is a very well-made exploitation film that makes you long for the return of the drive-ins. But be warned -- this trashy shocker's “Category III” rating (similar to our own NC-17) is very well deserved, and its sordid landscape of confrontational violence and sexual dysfunction is a real downer and likely to haunt your mind for longer than you want it to. Appropriately billed with the equally outrageous, but far lighter and entertaining, Naked Killer.
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