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Call him Shatter / Der Tödliche Schatten des Mr. Shatter

UK/Hong Kong 1974
produced by
Michael Carreras, Vee King Shaw for Hammer, Shaw Brothers
directed by Michael Carreras, Monte Hellman (uncredited)
starring Stuart Whitman, Ti Lung, Lily Li, Anton Diffring, Peter Cushing, Yemi Ajibade, Yong Liu-Ka, Huang Pei-Chi, Ying Liu-Ya, Lo Wei, James Ma, Han Chiang, Hsiung Chiao
screenplay by Don Houghton, special effects by Les Bowie

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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CIA agent Shatter (Stuart Whitman) kills some dictator (Yemi Ajibade) of some African republic, but when he comes to Hong Kong to collect his paycheck for it, he finds banker Leber (Anton Diffring) less than willing to hand out the money, in fact he threatens Shatter. & when Shatter makes a few investigaotins about the African hit on his own, he finds out he wasn't even hired by his organisation, the CIA, neither by the British Secret Service, & not only that, his hotel room is blown up, & sinister Hong Kong security officer Rattwood (Peter Cushing) leaves little doubt that he wants Shatter out of Hong Kong ASAP ... or sooner - & to emphasize on that, he has Shatter beaten up.

But Shatter finds finds unexpected allies in Tai Pa (Ti Lung), a waiter in a massage salon, & masseuse Mei Ling (Lily Li), & since this is Hong Kong, naturally Tai Pa also turns out to be a martial arts teacher on the side, & Shatter soon hires him as a bodyguard ... while he keeps Mei Ling for pleasure ...

& armed with his Kung Fu champ, Shatter can get some relevant information out of Rattwood: that he was actually hired by the mob to wipe out the African dictator, since they had a neat weapons-for-drugs program running until the deceased opposed them, & now they needed someone naive enough to do the job & at the same time entangeld wit secret services enough to divert attention from them. & the man behind it all is of course Leber. But now the only way to get out of the mess he's in, Shatter has to bring down Leber's organisation, & bring in Leber, preferably dead.

Shatter & Tai Pa however make up a nice extortion scheme that, provided it works, would make them a cool million in Dollars ... but of course it doesn't & only ends in Mei Ling being shot dead.

Now Shatter's & Tai Pa's way leads to Macao, where they (rightly) assume Leber to be, to beat the living shit out of him, but when Shatter wants to face him alone, face to face, he has to realize he has walked into a trap, as Leber & his goons have already been expecting him, & not only that, also the brother of our African dictator (again Yemi Ajibade) is with Leber, eagerly wanting to take the killer of his brother home & take over power (as it was actually him who ordered the hit in the first place). & to keep Shatter from talking, Leber even wants to cut out his vocal cords ... which is when Tai Pa steps in, beats up everyone in sight & throws Leber & our dictator's brother out of a window. All's well that ends well ...


In the early to mid 1970's, when Hammer-studios had somehow lost the ability to draw reasonable audiences with their house-products of Gothic horror movies, they tried to branch out in many a then contemporary direction ... with little success though, as before the end of the decade, Hammer (despite some half-assecd tv-series in the 80's) was virtually gone. Also in the early to mid-70's, Shaw Brothers experienced unexpected success in the West with their house-product, martial arts films, & they were looking for Western co-producers to broaden their appeal (though their choice of partners was often more than questionable). Havign said this, it only seemed naturaly that Hammer & Shaw Brothers would eventually team up, for Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, & for Shatter ...

In the case of Shatter though, the outcome is questionable at best, as it turns out to be little more than a chep James Bond rip-off - as they were produced by the dozen in the mid- to late 1960's - with some sloppily staged martial arts thrown it (even though Ti Lung once more proves to be a great fighter), all hung up upon an incredibly thin plot (even for a movie of this genre). Only competent performances fro Peter Cushing & Anton Diffring (& would you expect anything else from them), & Stuart Whitman, who always looks as if he has just woken up from a bad night's sleep, keep this from being a total failure.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD