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Kung Fu Zombie

original title: Wu long tian shi zhao ji gui

Comparison:

  • Export Version
  • Japanese VHS
Release: May 18, 2016 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB
Compared are the Export Version (German DVD by Paragon Movies) (identical to the German VHS and the US DVD by Ground Zero) and the Japanese VHS by Daiei Video


53 differences, among them
* 49 additional scenes on the Japanese VHS with a length of 1167.6 sec (= 19:28 min)
* 8 additional scenes in the Export Version with a length of 155 sec (= 2:35 min)
* 4 scenes with alternate order
* 2 recuts

A few additional jump-cuts (especially on the US DVD) with a length of less than 1 second will not be mentioned in the comparison.



Background


With its very trashy/confusing production and uncontrollable slapstick comedy, Kung Fu Zombie from 1982 is particularly interesting for hard-boiled fans of Hong Kong flicks. However, those will get to see some excellently choreographed fight scenes with Billy Chong. Versionwise, it is very chaotic and we have tried to break it down with the recently released German DVD.

1. Japanese VHS, 100 Minutes NTSC
Definately the longest and probably the uncut original version of the movie. Annoyingly, a zoomed fullscreen master (apparently due to hardcoded subtitles) has been zoomed in even more. As a result, more details on the bottom, left and right are missing. Also, the VHS only contains original audio with Japanese subtitles.

2. US DVD by Videoasia (identical to the Taiwanese VHS), 94 Minutes PAL
The most common version in English-speaking areas with a few (probably due to a bad master) missing scenes. The DVD contains original audio with hardcoded English subtitles. Unfortunately, those are often missing due to a zoomed fullscreen. At least, the US DVD contains more details than the Japanese VHS.

3. Export Version, 78 Minutes PAL
The most common version worldwide but also the shortest version of them all. Available on the US DVD by Ground Zero with English audio. Also available on the UK releases, the German VHS releases and the recently released German DVD. Apparently, still not in its original aspect ratio but at least in widescreen. With a length of 80 minutes, the French VHS appears to be longer at first glance. But the fact of the matter is that it simply runs with less frames per second (something between PAL/NTSC). The French VHS contains the Export Version as well.

The VHS releases from the US and Hong Kong by Ocean Shores have not been available for this comparison. Reliable information regarding the running time could not be found either. Since these release are supposed to contain English audio as well, it is possible that those also contain the Export Version.



The US DVD by Videoasia


As mentioned before, the cuts on the longer US release by Videoasia are probably results of a bad master. In other words, it does not look like these scenes are missing for censorship reasons. It just would not make any sense at all to cut these little plot elements. All in all, there is just half-a-minute of footage worth mentioning. Some of them lack at least one entire shot. Keeping the PAL/NTSC difference in mind, the further minute of missing footage are nothing but frame cuts with a length of less than 0.5 seconds during the entire movie. This simply emphasizes the bad condition the master used for this DVD was in.

Basically, the Japanese VHS is not really watchable either - due to the massive loss of information (please see the screenshot comparison below). Qualitywise, the Japanese VHS is worse than the US DVD. Bad coloring and subtitles placed out of the visible image section just spoil the fun and the audio is anything but perfect, too. In this context, I would like to the mention the Taiwanese VHS for which a seperate comparison has been made. With the result that both the Taiwanese VHS and the US DVD contain the same version. The English subtitles are often placed out of the image section as well but at least, the colors have not been filtered yet which means it looks a bit nicer.

All in all, one can say that despite additional cuts (more about that in the seperate comparison), the Export Version on the German is the best choice. Regarding image and audio quality, there is no better release available worldwide. The cuts are not as "bad" as known from other movies of the genre - more dedtails in the seperate comparison.




Time index refers to
US DVD (in PAL) / Japanese VHS (in NTSC)
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The Japanese VHS contains several logos at the beginning. Not considered in the length difference calculation.

36 sec




00:00 / 00:38-03:34

The first scene is missing already: "Vampire Priest" celebrates a ritual hence several people come back from the dead. He does that by making a water/note mixture and spits that on the bodies. He helps make it happen by using a bell resp. he sucks in the bodies with it. But when the bodies come apart recently afterwards, they analyze what happened and the Priest concludes they needed stronger, younger bodies. Consequently, they go to the mass grave nearby.

161.5 sec (= 2:42 min)




The subsequent credits are different: The Export Version contains less credits plus they are in English.


German DVD (& VHS) / US DVD Ground ZeroJapanese VHS (screenshot altered to 16:9 / original = 4:3)




01:34 / 05:13-05:38

The zombies and the Priest are jumping around much longer.

24.6 sec




01:57 / 06:02-06:04

Additional distance shot of them jumping around.

2.1 sec




02:40 / 06:49-06:59

More digging, accompanied by another voice-over.

9 sec




03:44 / 08:05-08:17

Lui Dai gets upset and tosses the Priest on the ground.

11.4 sec




06:11-06:14 / 10:50

The shot of Fong's dad at the Export Master is longer. Then the coins on the table.

+ 3.5 sec




06:31 / 11:07-12:29

After Fong leaves with the coins, a longer scene is missing: Feng is talking something through at the restaurant and tells Fong to deliver a letter.

78.1 sec




07:37 / 13:38-13:51

Before Fong raises his hand, his conversation with Lui Dai is a little longer.

12.4 sec




07:41 / 13:55-13:58

In the following shot, Lui Dai reacts a bit sooner.

3.1 sec




09:41 / 16:04-16:05

Distance shot of the zombies approaching Fong.

1 sec




10:58 / 17:24-17:29

Close-up of a body.

4.8 sec




11:07 / 17:39-17:45

Before the other shot of the moon, Fong and his buddies are running off.

5.6 sec




12:08 / 18:48-18:53

At the beginning of the shot, the Priest slaps himself.

4.2 sec




12:39 / 19:25-19:26

Close-up of Lui Dai's blood-smeared face.

1 sec

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