Plot: Fu Manchu (Christopher Lee) has been in seclusion deep within the jungles of South America, but his isolation hasn’t calmed his villainous tendencies. He has found a powerful poison that can be used to infect women, who can in turn transmit the venom to anyone else, with lethal results. This kind of assassination could be of immense value, as the girls can simply kiss the target a brief kiss to ensure death. This has driven Fu Manchu to abduct and indoctrinate a collection of beautiful women, ones he is sure men will be unable to resist, to act as his personal assassins. His first target is his bitter rival Inspector Smith (Richard Greene) and while the kiss does infect him, it isn’t an instant kill, but a slow, eventual death sentence. If he doesn’t secure an antidote however, he faces certain death, but can he track down Fu Manchu before it’s too late?
Entertainment Value: I love this premise of this one, a militia of beautiful women serving up poison kisses on behalf of a maniacal mastermind, even if the end result doesn’t do the concept justice. The exotic locale is a fun backdrop, but the movie plays it too safe and with an abundance of thin subplots, it feels stretched thin and there’s not enough meat on the bone. Jess Franco’s direction is capable, but the unfocused nature of the script forces his hand at times, trying to keep up with the various threads. The movie also has little of the sleaze, violence, and surreal elements Franco fans love so much, so that is also a concern. But if the story was more coherent and stayed on point, perhaps those seedier ingredients wouldn’t be so missed. I don’t think the movie is dull, but it is spread thin and isn’t often lively. Christopher Lee plays Fu Manchu and is fine, with his usual effective menace and riveting vocal presence, while Maria Rohm, Tsai Chin, and Richard Green also appear, while Shirley Eaton has a small role thanks to some reused footage from another picture. I do think The Blood of Fu Manchu is a little slow and quite tame, but has some interesting concepts and enough capable talent involved to keep it more than watchable.
Just a little toplessness unfolds, but that’s all the sleaze here. A number of scenes take place in a dank women’s prison, but sadly no rampant nudity or outlandish sexual antics are showcased. The same holds true for the violence, as little bloodshed happens and only some minor kinks arise. The prison holds chained women of course, but not much happens to them and the sleazier potential ideas aren’t explored. The dialogue is basic and not that memorable, but of course, Lee delivers some lines in his usual booming voice that stand out. The movie doesn’t really embrace the camp and tries to remain more serious, so the writing isn’t often off the wall. I did like the pirate inspired guy who pops in, however. Not much craziness is unleashed here, despite the wild premise and the women in prison scenes. I still had some fun here, but I do wish it was a little more interesting at times.
Overall Insanity: 1/10