RZA’s kung fu streaming series – Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater – returns this Saturday (June 12th) with a highly anticipated screening of the 1978 Shaw Brothers’ classic: Five Deadly Venoms. The film will be streaming live on 36 Cinema, with live commentary provided by kung fu aficionados RZA and Dan Halsted.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential and enduring films of kung fu cinema’s heyday, Five Deadly Venoms tells the story of a dying kung fu master who instructs his final student to check on the activities of five former pupils, each of whom he taught a deadly style of kung fu: Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard, and Toad. The student must then team up with one of the other good pupils to destroy the evil ones. Greed, treachery, grueling training sequences, and jaw-dropping fight scenes ensue!
Five Deadly Venoms was actually the first kung fu flick RZA ever saw, introducing him to a genre of film that would have a profound impact on his life. RZA first saw the film at 42nd Street theater in Manhattan in 1979 with his cousin Ol’ Dirty Bastard; they eventually got their hands on the VHS and proceeded to watch the film countless times throughout their adolescence. RZA has credited Five Deadly Venoms for sparking his initial interest in kung fu cinema and culture, which would become a life’s passion and a major aspect of Wu-Tang’s brand and aesthetic.
RZA even sampled dialogue from Five Deadly Venoms on Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ from Wu-Tang’s debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers): “Toad style is immensely strong, and immune to nearly any weapon, when it’s properly used it’s almost invisible”.
Five Deadly Venoms is the second iteration of Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater, following the initial screening of Heroes Of The East, another Shaw Brothers classic, in April. With several more screenings slated throughout the summer, RZA will continue to spotlight some of the perennial films of kung fu cinema on 36 Cinema: a first-of-its-kind digital screening platform.
During Saturday’s screening, RZA will also unveil a brand new single from a forthcoming solo project due out later this year. The new single will follow the release of Pugilism, RZA’s first solo single in 13 years, which was announced during the Heroes Of The East screening.
Five Deadly Venoms will stream on 36 Cinema on June 12th starting at 3pm ET, buy tickets here. The screening will be replayed at 9pm ET.