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Human Lanterns

original title: Ren Pi Deng Long


  • Hongkong DVD
  • 88 Films Blu-ray
Release: May 20, 2022 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB
Comparison between the cut Hongkong DVD by IVL / Celestial (identical to the UK DVD from Momentum Asia and the DVDs in USA & France) and the uncut UK Blu-ray from 88 Films.

- 5 cuts
- Duration: 220.5 sec (= 3:40 min) [in 24fps / equivalent to 3:31 min in 25fps or PAL]

Human Lanterns, one of the most notorious but also most beautiful movies by the Shaw Studios, was released by IVL in 2003 in good quality but a heavily cut version. In 2005 Momentum Asia released the movie in England. The same Celestial remaster was used, however, this version had a longer runtime with 3 additional minutes of gory bits. This longer cut of the movie was subsequently also released in Germany (and e.g. the US or France).

Back then in international forums there were lots of discussions about whether this version was actually uncut after all. This was primarily based on assumptions of scenes which have been cut for the very first theatrical release. Mostly bad transitions between scenes had to serve as a basis, but these often seem very bumbling with the Shaw Brothers anyway. Apparently no one noticed that the question about the completeness of the British DVD was also quite easy to answer: The HK DVD already had one scene (skin ripping) that was missing in England/Germany.

These two versions were the only ones available for years. The 2017 German Blu-ray was also based on the master of the German/British DVD with said one censorship cut. The UK Blu-ray, available from 88 Films since May 16, 2022, finally closes this chapter. For the first time in the world (at least on a digital medium), the film is available here uncut. To that end, the one missing scene from the old British/German version has been spliced in from another image source. We took this uncut premiere as an opportunity to split our old "cut-cut" report between the Hong Kong and German DVDs cleanly into two comparisons with fresh screenshots.

Runtimes are arranged according to
Hongkong DVD in PAL speed / UK Blu-ray
The Hong Kong DVD lacks the references to Celestial and Shaw at the beginning of the movie file.

27.5 sec

22:34 / 23:59-25:19

Chun Fang rips off Yen-chu's clothes and cuts her head with an axe. He moves on to a pot filled with poison and shows it to Yen-chu. She starts screaming and suddenly faints away. Fang jumps around the cavern, comes to the pole with the chained Yen-chu and inserts the poison into her head wound. Afterwards he cuts her shoulder.

80.1 sec (= 1:20 min)

Immediately following is the skin ripping scene, which was the only thing cut in the old British/German version, but curiously enough was seen in Hong Kong.

23:01 / 25:48-26:07

Afterwards the HK version lacks two takes in which Fang rips off more skin from her.

19.3 sec

23:05 / 26:11-26:24

Fang shows Yen-chu her ripped-off skin. He moves on to a waterpoint to wash the skin.

13.4 sec

23:26-23:27 / 26:46

After the lady slapped herself, the Hong Kong version is insignificantly longer at the end of the shot.

+ 1 sec

63:25 / 68:27-68:48

Fang drowns Old Tsui, who just has discovered Fang's secret, in a barrel filled with blood.

21.6 sec

71:19-71:20 / 77:03-78:29

Fang rips off the clothes of Lung's wife and starts raping her.

On the HK DVD, the following scene outside starts about 1 sec earlier (not illustrated).

Uncut 85.2 sec (= 1:25 min) longer