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Godfrey Ho

Godfrey Ho

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Godfrey Ho (1948–) is a former Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

-based prolific film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

 and screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, sometimes considered the Ed Wood of Hong Kong cinema. Ho is believed to having directed more than one hundred films, including over 80 movies from 1980 to 1990, but only one film since 1995, apparently retiring from film-making in 2000. Many of his works are now regarded cult film
Cult film
A cult film, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a highly devoted but specific group of fans. Often, cult movies have failed to achieve fame outside the small fanbases; however, there have been exceptions that have managed to gain fame among mainstream audiences...

s by aficionados of C and Z movie
Z movie
The term Z movie arose in the mid-1960s as an informal description of certain unequivocally non-A films. It was soon adopted to characterize low-budget pictures with quality standards well below those of most B movies and even so-called C movies...

s as being among some of the most unintentionally funny
Unintentional humor
Unintentional humor is the act of making other people laugh without actually meaning to. There are several different kinds of unintentional humor that arise out of various situations.-Unintended contradiction:...

 movies ever created.


God Ho wrote and directed under different pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

s, and has been credited under more than 40 different names during the course of his career. In Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

, Ho is known by two names, 何志强 and the less common 何致强. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) gives his birth name as Chi Kueng Ho, or Ho Chi Kueng using Chinese name order; this may be an error for Ho Chi Keung, a Yale Romanization of 何志强/何致强. Some of his pseudonyms include Godfrey Hall, Benny Ho, Ho Chi-Mou, Ed Woo, Stanley Chan, Ho Fong, Ho Jeung Keung and God-Ho Yeung.


The young God Ho started his career as the assistant director for Chang Cheh
Chang Cheh
Chang Cheh was Shaw Brothers Studio's best known and most prolific film director, with such films as the Five Venoms, the Brave Archer , the The One-Armed Swordsman, and other classics of wuxia and kung fu film.-Career:Referred to as "The Godfather of Hong Kong cinema", Chang Cheh directed over 100...

 at the Shaw Brothers Studio
Shaw Brothers Studio
The Shaw Brothers Studio , owned by Shaw Brothers Ltd., was the foremost and the largest movie production company of Hong Kong movies.From their distribution base in Singapore where they founded parent company Shaw Organization in 1924, and as a strategic development of their movie distribution...

 for a few years and worked alongside John Woo
John Woo
John Woo Yu-Sen SBS is a Hong Kong-based film director and producer. Recognized for his stylised films of highly choreographed action sequences, Mexican standoffs, and use of slow-motion, Woo has directed several notable Hong Kong action films, among them, A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Hard...

. His first film was a low-budget production entitled Paris Killers in 1974. It was while working with Shaw Brothers where he meet future partner Joseph Lai. Together, they started ASSO Asia Film, and its subsidiaries IFD Films & Arts and ADDA Audio Video.

According to the list of films attributed to him at his IMDb
Internet Movie Database
Internet Movie Database is an online database of information related to movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, video games and fictional characters featured in visual entertainment media. It is one of the most popular online entertainment destinations, with over 100 million...

 profile, Ho has directed at least 115 different releases, most of which contain the word "Ninja
A or was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, as well as open combat in certain situations...

" as part of their primary or alternative titles (several titles also contain the word "Kickboxer
Kickboxing refers to a group of martial arts and stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching, historically developed from karate, Muay Thai and western boxing....

"). The exact number of films directed and/or written by Ho is not known, since even he is unsure on the subject and most of the films have been re-released under different names. A number of Ho's films were also later further re-edited by Joseph Lai into NINJA MYTH, a collection of 32 one-hour "Television Specials" released by IDF.

During the 1980s, Godfrey Ho became also associated with the production company Filmark International, the official boss of which was Tomas Tang Gak Yan. Officially, IFD and Filmark were competing companies, however Ho's actors such as Stuart Smith (aka "Stuart Steen") appeared in several films from both companies. In the later interviews, Smith would confirm Ho was indeed the director of the Filmark films such as Ninja: American Warrior and Clash of the Ninjas. In 1996, the Garley Building housing Filmark's office and other businesses burned down in the notorious fire disaster and Tomas Tang died in this tragedy along with 40 other people.

Godfrey Ho's last film to date was Manhattan Chase in 1999 (released in 2000). As of 2010 he is now teaching at the Hong Kong Film Academy, while living with his wife and son, Marco.


Through the 1980s and early 1990s Ho has created a series of martial arts film
Martial arts film
Martial arts film is a film genre. A sub-genre of the action film, martial arts films contain numerous fights between characters, usually as the films' primary appeal and entertainment value, and often as a method of storytelling and character expression and development. Martial arts are frequently...

s made with a "cut-and-paste" technique, which means they were created with the help of splicing various unrelated material (including the recurring motif
Motif (narrative)
In narrative, a motif is any recurring element that has symbolic significance in a story. Through its repetition, a motif can help produce other narrative aspects such as theme or mood....

 of absurd ninja-fighting scenes, often with little or no connection with the already disjointed plot) and dubbed
Dubbing (filmmaking)
Dubbing is the post-production process of recording and replacing voices on a motion picture or television soundtrack subsequent to the original shooting. The term most commonly refers to the substitution of the voices of the actors shown on the screen by those of different performers, who may be...

 more-or-less together. He would film footage for one micro-budget picture, and then edit and splice the shots together in a different order, adding in footage from the various obscure or unreleased HK, Thai
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Filipino and other Asian movies (martial arts films, crime films, comedies, etc.) to fill the gaps, and then dubbing over the result to create a final product. This allowed him to create several Z movies with the budget of one, though it is often difficult to discern how much of the finished product he has actually filmed himself.

Godfrey Ho used an American actor Richard Harrison
Richard Harrison (actor)
Richard Harrison is an American B-movie actor and occasionally a writer/director/producer.Harrison was very prolific and worked with most of the better-known names in European B-movies during the 1960s and 1970s, branching out to exploitation films shot all over the world in the early 1970s...

 extensively as the lead role in many of his films. Harrison, a European B movie
B movie
A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse or pornographic film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature....

 star in the 1960s and 1970s, agreed to act in several of Ho's films in the early 1980s, although this footage was later spliced into many more of Ho's productions without his prior agreement; the damage done to his acting career by this association with Ho's films led Harrison to retire in 1990. Ho's film making also included uncredited and apparently unauthorized use of music from Miami Vice
Miami Vice
Miami Vice is an American television series produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami. It ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984–1989...

, Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

and Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

, and by Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos is an American composer and electronic musician. Carlos first came to notice in the late 1960s with recordings made on the Moog synthesizer, then a relatively new and unknown instrument; most notable were LPs of synthesized Bach and the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's film A...

, Iczer One, Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

, Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band has undergone many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member...

, Clan of Xymox
Clan of Xymox
The band Clan of Xymox, also known as Xymox, formed in the Netherlands in 1981. Clan Of Xymox featured a trio of songwriters - Pieter Nooten, Ronny Moorings and Anke [also Anka] Wolbert - and gained success in the 1980s, releasing their first two albums on a prestigious independent UK label, a...

 and Steve Hillage
Steve Hillage
Steve Hillage is an English musician, best known as a guitarist. He is associated with the Canterbury scene and has worked in experimental domains since the late 1960s...

, among others, as background score in his movies.

He also made some more proper movies, such as the 1994 martial arts film Undefeatable
Undefeatable is a 1994 martial arts movie starring Cynthia Rothrock. The picture was a Hong Kong production, filmed in English on location in the United States. It was directed by Godfrey Ho, using the pseudonym Godfrey Hall. It became famous after a clip of the final fight in the film was posted...

, the two Nikita-insipired female assassin Lethal Panther films in 1990 and 1993, and Laboratory of the Devil, which was an unauthorised 1992 sequel/remake of Mou Tun Fei
Mou Tun Fei
Mou Tun-fei is a Chinese film director.-Biography:Better known as T.F. Mou and born in 1941 in Shandong, China. Mou's family left China for Taiwan in 1949. Mou graduated from a state run film school in Taiwan that could not even afford equipment for the students...

's 1988 WWII shock film Men Behind the Sun (further followed by Ho's Maruta 3 ... Destroy all Evidence in 1994, in which he however reverted to extensive use of the old footage).

Ho appeared as a cameo actor twice, first time in Siu-Pang Chan's The Magnificent in 1979 and again in his own Mr. X in 1995 (in the role of Godfather Ho).

External links