Five Deadly Venoms is a movie so good there’s a whole subgenre named after it. Movies directed by Chang Cheh and starring the set of actors featured in this movie are called “Venom Mob” movies. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to enjoy a Venom Mob movie:

- Don’t worry about keeping track of every character at the beginning of the movie. It’s pointless. Most of these movies have setups that would make Victor Hugo throw up his hands in confusion. For example, Five Deadly Venoms opens with the dying Poison clan head explaining to his only student that the student has to redeems the evil that the Poison Clan has done, that there’s a secret treasure all his old students are looking for, and that the old students all have superpowers and wore masks and trained at various times and some of them know each other and some of them don’t… You really need a flow chart. And then the movie introduces a bunch of red herrings who may or may not be students.

Here’s the trick: Half of these character will be dead before the movie reaches the halfway point, and then the conflicts and relationships will be much clearer. Just stick with the movie until the slaughter begins, and you’ll have a much better time.

- Don’t expect many female characters. Despite the slightly defensive testimonials on some of the new Celestial DVDs to how not-gay Chang Cheh was, almost every one of the Venom Mob movies ends with two men walking off into the sunset, sometimes holding hands. The only females in Five Deadly Venoms are extras representing a family that gets completely wiped out by the bad guys.


“I’m ready for my match with El Santo!”


They’re just needling him.


I wish learning kung fu would actually let you do stuff like this.