Summer for me, as a child of the 80’s/90’s growing up in suburban New Jersey, was a time spent equally split between outside activities, bike riding or skateboarding or playing baseball or just getting up to general mischief, and inside activities, video games or TV shows or movies or comics. The 80’s/90’s were rife with high quality content. We were among the first to have a plethora of choice. Whereas those before us spent time rolling a hoop down the street using a stick (seriously, what the fuck was that about?) or hurling lawn darts at each other (so, SO many injuries) we the fortunate masses, the gen Xers and gen Yers, had no shortage of options. And this was before the internet or cell-phones had permeated the collective consciousness. Perhaps the most significant bringer of choice was the cablebox. Before the cablebox invaded the majority of American homes, you had an antenna, charmingly referred to as rabbit ears, to grab over-the-air broadcast channels. This meant that on a good day, you had maybe five channels to pick from. But with cable, the choices seemed limitless. That variety of choice lead naturally to stations needing to fill up their allotted space with content. Reruns became a major factor both of television shows and of movies.
And it is those movie reruns that lead us here. Summer is upon us and with it brings, for me anyway, nostalgia for those halcyon days of youth. One of my fondest memories as a child was to get up early on Saturday morning, get myself a giant bowl of sugary cereal (Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Cookie Crisp FTW), plop down in front of the TV, and start the marathon. The day typically went Cartoons, Wrestling, and the subject of Geekade’s next feature, Kung Fu movies. The channel 57 broadcast out of Philadelphia had a Kung Fu double feature every Saturday. Sometimes they were classics, Fists of Fury or Chinese Connection, sometimes they were… not so classic. But I watched them all. I “taped” them (for you youngun’s that meant I put a blank video cassette tape into a VCR and recorded the broadcast) and had a massive collection. I fell madly in love with the genre as a whole. I traded tapes, I researched, when DVD’s became a thing I hit every sketchy place I knew to get bootleg releases of things like Shogun Assassin or Battle Royale. And with the advent of the internet, I fell hard down that rabbit hole and have yet yet to come up. It is a love that has influenced other interests (Wu-Tang Clan using old school Kung Fu movie names and characters in their music? I’m in) and a love that continues to this day. It is because of this love that I will bring to you, over the next nine Fridays, a new flick to seek out and enjoy. These nine films are not the be all, end all of Kung Fu cinema they are simply nine movies I love dearly and think deserve a place in your collection. Every Friday during the months of July and August check this space for a write up and recommendation. Some are easy enough to find online, youtube/vimeo/etc., others you may have to order from Amazon or any of the thousands of sites that sell movies. No matter how you see these films, see them. Make sure to hit me up on twitter, @geekadedan, and let me know what you think.