Trace the origins of Hong Kong's greatest celluloid excesses, and you'll be stopping in on the sensational cinema of Kuei Chih-hung. Kuei spent the bulk of his film career with the prolific Shaw Brothers studio, a fertile ground for him to experiment with street crime flicks, witchcraft horrors, bawdy comedies and so much more just as local movies were spinning into daring new forms. Kuei's 1970s and early 80s oeuvre as director was seldom tempered by restraint: his ambitious gangland epics The Delinquent (1973) and The Teahouse (1974) break free from studio routines, employ cutting-edge camerawork and lead the way to harsh modern thrillers; others, like his squalid epic The Killer Snakes (1974), straddles social comment, cynicism and sheer exploitation outrages. Kuei retired from the director's chair in 1984 and died in 1999, leaving behind a body of work worthy not just of a cult director but one of Hong Kong cinema's foremost innovators.
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