Friday, July 17, 2009

More Spirited Killer from Panna Rittikrai on DVD

A couple more early efforts by action director Panna Rittikrai are due for release on DVD in the U.S. on August 25 in the Spirited Killer Trilogy on the Mill Creek Entertainment label.

Spirited Killer has been available on DVD for a few years now, having been picked up for release in the U.S. by BCI Eclipse. With the demise of that label, it appears Mill Creek -- "a company that manufactures movie and television DVD compilation box sets at 'value' prices'" -- is taking over the catalog.

Here's what Mill Creek has to say about Spirited Killer:

A group of travelers visiting the exotic forests of Thailand is suddenly attacked by a multi-weapon wielding maniac. Some manage to escape; others perish under his merciless blows.

The maniac is the Spirited Killer, a forest dweller who kills anyone stepping into his jungle. Leading the pack to help stop this madman is Tony Jaa (Ong Bak), making his film debut!

The Killer is played by none other than his mentor, Panna Rittikrai, who was a major action star in Thailand. Together with Jaa and his other stuntmen protégés, Rittikrai gives Jackie Chan and Jet Li a run for their money with blinding action and superb stunts!

This is the start of a group that would later give the world the action epics Ong-Bak and Tom Yum Goong!

For the first time on DVD in the US, Mill Creek is proud to bring you the second and third installments in this highly sought after and much anticipated trilogy of films!

All of the action and excitement of the first film combined with exciting new stars and martial arts action. This compilation of films is truly a collector’s dream come true as the new films are introduced as one complete anthology!

I have long been confused about these early Panna Rittikrai efforts and am not sure that actually seeing them would help alleviate that confusion. However, in an effort to get straightened out, I looked again at a comment last year by Rikker:

[Spirited Killer]'s Thai title is ปลุกมันขึ้นมาฆ่า (Pluk Man Khuen Ma Kha 4, Awaken it to Kill 4). Three minutes of Google research reveals that part one of this series was released in 1987, part two in 1989, and part three in 1990. All three were directed by ประพนธ์ เพชรอินทร์ Praphan Phet-in (that's my English spelling--I can't find him in IMDb), who in the same period directed the เกิดมาลุย (Kerd ma lui, Born to Fight) series with three installments in 1986, 1987 and 1990.

Panna Rittikrai starred in both of those series, then directed a Born to Fight remake in 2004.

Got that? There are actually four Spirited Killer movies, and the one that was first released in the U.S. is actually Spirited Killer 4 from 1994. So the other two films in this trilogy are from earlier. Like the Mill Creek blurb says, Spirited Killer 2 and Spirited Killer 3. Missing in action for this release is the first Spirited Killer from 1987, which may or may not still survive.

The Spirited Killer Trilogy is up for pre-order from HK Flix and Amazon.

(Thanks Logboy!)


  1. tony ja movies are always worth a second look
    the one above is not one i have seen so thanks for the post is it tony ja looks like him oh well i will see if i can find it out on the net regards john at thai expat info

  2. Hey Wise!

    I bought the Spirited Killer trilogy. While Spirited Killer is actually the 4th film, I noticed something very interesting with the so called Spirited Killer 2. The Thai title was shown with the subtitle of Spirited Killers. I think Spirited Killer 2 may actually be the original ปลุกมันขึ้นมาฆ่า (Pluk Man Khuen Ma Kha, Awaken it to Kill) as there was no number next to the Thai title and if you look carefully the Mill Creek blurb says Spirited Killer 2: Awakened Zombie Battles, hence a very good chance that the original is in fact SK2. :) Plus, the director is Praphan Phet-in.

  3. I just bought this pack. Although I haven't watched it all the way through yet, I wanted to comment on your research.

    Spirited Killer is the re-release of Pluk Man Khuen Ma Kha 4. However, these other 2 films (which they claim to be Spirited Killer 2 & 3) are NOT part of the Pluk series. I've seen the other 3 Pluk films and none of them are on this DVD-set. I do not know the original titles of these movies.

    It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that these films are mismarked & confusing. After all the DVD box also claims that the films are in Thaiwanese, when they are actually in Thai.


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