One of the most notorious films to emerge from the Category III cycle of
nineties-era Hong Kong cinema. A gory serial killer drama, DR. LAMB
appears to have been conceived as a rip-off of TAXI DRIVER, crossed with
MANIAC (1980). I know many of you feel this film is some kind of
transgressive masterpiece, but I find it an overrated bummer.
Category III is an adults-only rating given by the Hong
Kong censorship board. Other notable Category III films to emerge from
Hong Kong in the 1990s include INSANITY, EBOLA SYNDROME, RUN AND KILL
and RED TO KILL.
The latter two films were helmed by DR. LAMB’s co-director Billy Tang,
Hong Kong’s most notorious filmmaker.
1992’s DR. LAMB (GOU YEUNG YI SANG) was co-directed
with Danny Lee, a Hong Kong movie star whose acting credits include John
Woo’s seminal THE KILLER. As a director Lee would go on to co-direct
another notorious film, 1993’s UNTOLD STORY, a far more graphic and
frankly much better serial killer saga.
A young boy is bullied by his heartless stepmother, and
grows into a woman-hating taxi driver. Said taxi driver is picked up by
cops one day as part of an investigation into obscene photos.
Investigating the house where the guy lives with his father and
siblings, graphic pictures of murdered women are uncovered. He’s
detained at the police station and questioned about the photos, but
steadfastly denies having committed the crimes depicted. After a lot of
coaxing and beating, however, he breaks down and confesses to the
Apparently “Dr. Lamb’s” killing spree begun one night
during a routine taxi ride. His passenger, a bitchy young drunk woman,
drove him nuts and he strangled her. Afterward he took the corpse to his
home and dismembered it with a hacksaw.
Back in the police station a woman cop is reluctantly
coerced into playing Lamb’s victims in recreations of his crimes. During
one such recreation a severed breast spills out of an evidence bag and
lands on the woman cop’s back.
Following this we get a flashback showing how that
severed breast came to be. Turns out it was sliced off another drunk
woman passenger by Lamb, who then had sex with her corpse and videotaped
A final flashback has Lamb describing how he nearly
managed to refrain from killing a third woman but did so anyway…before
the video tape he made turns up showing the aforementioned breast
slicing and corpse defilement in the flesh. As a result the not-so-good
doctor is imprisoned for the rest of his life.
DR. LAMB has a kinetic overlay typical of Hong Kong
actioners of the time, mixed with much slasher movie grossness. Yet it
isn’t quite the taboo-busting gore fest its been cracked up to be. In
fact, the film’s opening half is essentially a police procedural, with
cops trying to ferret out a confession from the protagonist and his
family. As such it’s quite repetitive and uninspiring. Things don’t pick
up until the extended flashback sequences, which commence with a graphic
killing followed by a disturbingly protracted, yet curiously restrained,
The film can safely be called misogynistic. In the
opening scenes the title character is driven mad by his shrewish
stepmother, and he’s later accosted by several obnoxious women in his
cab. The film, however, lacks the intelligence and craftsmanship of
something like HENRY: PORTRAIT
OF A SERIAL KILLER, and so never succeeds in making the title
character in any way emphatic.
Adding to the problem is Simon Yam as that character.
Yam has a menacing presence without question, yet he, with his muscular
physique and movie star looks, is never convincing as the maladjusted
loser he’s supposed to be playing (the corpulent Kent Cheng, who plays a
cop here and headlined the following year’s RUN AND KILL, would have
been a better choice).
In the end DR. LAMB’S only satisfaction is as a shallow
gorefest with snatches of pitch-black comedy--not nearly enough,
however, to make for a good movie!
DR. LAMB (GOU YEUNG YI SANG)
Grand River Film, Heroes United Films
Director: Danny Lee, Billy Tang
Producer: Parkman Wong
Screenplay: Law Cam Fai
Cinematography: Kin Fai Miu
Editing: Hung Choi
Cast: Danny Lee, Simon Yam, Kent Cheng, Pik Yu Chung, Si Man Hui, Eric
Kei, Emily Kwan, Hoi-Shan Lai, Siu-Ming Lau, Julie Lee, Parkman Wong,
Siu Ling Wong, Usang Yeong Fang