The World Shall Hear from Me Again

To discuss all western films which depict the asian as Yellow Peril would be far beyond the scope of this humble article. Instead, I narrow it down to the movies of Fu Manchu. In addition to the nine films listed here, the 1950s serial The Drums of Fu Manchu should also be mentioned, as well as the 1980s Peter Sellers comedy The Fiendish Plot of Fu Manchu. Completists must, for now, do without an analysis of these two, the first being considered a serial and not a film (although it was later edited into a feature length picture), and the second being considered not worth the effort to add, for the moment.

Most fans of the Fu Manchu films consider Boris Karloff's Mask of Fu Manchu to be the best, and he surely is the top in terms of demonic, monstrous evil. But for my money, the best Fu Manchu has to be Christopher Lee. Somewhat wooden, a weird, occasional accent, strange gestures, and really poorly written lines somehow just add to my enjoyment of his performance. The fact that he is the most hulking, gigantically tall Chinese man I have ever seen, makes it even better. Humorously enough, Sax Rohmer's widow, on the set of The Face of Fu Manchu, claimed that Christopher Lee was the 'spitting image' of the man Sax Rohmer saw in London's Limehouse district so long ago, the man that became the inspiration for the character of Fu Manchu.


The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu
Fu Manchu is just minding his own business during the Boxer Rebellion when Major Petrie fires on his house, killing his family. Naturally, he seeks revenge. Warner Oland, soon to be Charlie Chan, plays the angry Fu.

The Return of Dr. Fu manchu
Fu Manchu continues his quest for revenge against the Petrie family, though one begins to wonder if they are really worth the bother.

Daughter of the Dragon
Anna May Wong discovers she is Fu Manchu's daughter, and immediately follows that discovery up with plans for murder. Death to Petrie!

The Mask of Fu Manchu
Boris Karloff as the most demonic Fu Manchu before or since. He seeks the tomb of Genghis Khan, and puts people in elaborate torture mechanisms for the sheer pleasure of it.

The Face of Fu Manchu
Christopher Lee takes his turn as the evil Fu, threatening Nayland Smith with a heaping dose of mayhem and death.

The Brides of Fu Manchu
Fu Manchu invents a ray of energy, which he calls a "laser," which will beam death upon untold millions. Meanwhile, he entertains a bevy of scantily clad beauties.

The Vengeance of Fu Manchu
Christopher Lee as Fu Manchu sets up camp in a remote part of China, causes earthquakes, and schemes his mad schemes.

Kiss and Kill
Fu Manchu meets Pancho Villa, sort of, in this, the unspeakably bad yet strangely compelling fourth outing for Christopher Lee as Fu Manchu. Jess Franco directs, in his own inimitable style.

The Castle of Fu Manchu
I can't believe I watched the whole thing. The fifth and last Christoper Lee Fu Manchu film, driving the final nail into the series coffin, although it felt more like it was being driven through my skull.