(You Gu Zi)
Ho Meng-Hua directed 57 films for Shaw Brothers between the 1950s and the 1990s in genres that range from romance to crime to martial arts and swordsman films. His other ventures into fantastic material include:- Seven Immortal Woman (1963) about a fairy on Earth; Monkey Goes West (1966), Princess Iron Fan (1966) and The Cave of the Silken Web (1967), a series of films based on the classic Chinese legend Journey to the West; the Wu Xia The Land of Many Perfumes (1968) and Vengeance is a Golden Blade (1969); The Human Goddess (1972) about a goddess come to Earth; the horror films Black Magic (1975) and Black Magic 2 (1978), the classically bad giant ape film The Mighty Peking Man (1977); and the horror films The Rape After (1984) and Evil Black Magic (1992).
Oily Maniac came out before the superhero genre started to gain its feet on cinema screens in any significant way and so is a largely pitched as a horror film. As such, its idea of a downtrodden guy jumping into a magic substance (coconut oil with a magic spell here, toxic waste there) and emerging as an avenging creature predicts what Troma Films would do with their more obviously tongue-in-cheek The Toxic Avenger (1986) and sequels. The conception of the Oily Maniac may well have been taken from DCs Swamp Thing later filmed as Wes Cravens Swamp Thing (1982) and several tv spinoffs or for that matter Marvels Man-Thing, later filmed as Man-Thing (2005), both of which had premiered in print only a few years earlier to which the creatures ability to transform into an oil slick and instantly regenerate body parts (even his own head) is very similar.
Oily Maniac is crudely directed in both senses of the meaning. Ho Meng-Huas direction is without any sophistication the drama happens in all the obvious places and the characters are all simplistic one-dimensional caricatures that play on a level of depth that is more appropriate to a childrens cartoon. In the other sense, Oily Maniac is crude in that it has been directly to the lowest common denominator. Ho Meng-Hua takes almost every opportunity he can to get the female cast members topless, not to mention multiple scenes where girls are stripped and about to be raped before the creature bursts into interrupt. At one point, the Oily Maniac even invades an operating room to attack a girl as she undergoes an abortion. It is a film that seems entirely driven by the absurdity that its title (or at least the English-language version) has attracted, the nonsensical conception of the creature and an attitude of brazen luridness, even if in itself it is not a particularly good film. One of the more amusing aspects is how every time the creature appears as an oil slick, the score plays a blatant copy of the der-dum-der-dum-der-dum theme from Jaws (1975).