The Best Martial Arts Horror Movies


When two extreme genres collide, the results are nothing short of spectacular. Spanning well known and loved films from both the East and West, the tradition of blending dynamic fight action and blood ’n guts has always appealed to audiences and brought together the best of both worlds for genre fans.

To celebrate the release of Life of Action, a new book featuring candid interviews with actors, filmmakers and stunt people from the diverse world of action, we revisit the very best movies which bridged that gap between two of the most intense, and extreme, genres of all time.

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012)
Director John Hyams brought a gritty realism to the Universal Soldier franchise when he turned his first sequel, Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009), into a claustrophobic and action-packed thriller. He flipped the switch yet again for Day of Reckoning, which plays more like a slow-burning, eerie and nightmarish horror with skull-shattering violence thrown in for good measure. Brit action star Scott Adkins takes the lead as a man seeking revenge for the death of his family while Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren reprise their roles as the notorious, regenerated dead soldiers leading an army. A must see!

Blade (1998)
The original Blade revolutionised comic book adaptions and remains a decidedly adult telling of this vampire-slaying anti-hero. Born half-human and half-vampire after his mother was attacked by a blood-sucker, Wesley Snipes’ highly skilled slayer, armed with a silver samurai sword and guns which shoot silver bullets, sets his sites on a new breed of vampire who plan to enslave their ultimate food source, the human race. Remaining faithful to the source material of the comic and showcasing tightly woven Hong Kong style action, Blade remains a true classic. With rumours of a fourth film in the works, hopefully it won’t be long before Snipes returns to vampire-slaying duties!

The Story of Ricky (1991)
Based on the Japanese comic-strip Riki Oh, this extreme, ultra-violent Manga-in-Motion was banned in many countries upon release. Set in a futuristic prison, young hero Riki, who harbours superhuman strength, is locked up for manslaughter and systemically tortured by the sadistic warden and his guards. Showing courage and by standing up to the oppressors, Riki becomes a hero for the inmates and dares to break free from this brutal regime. Showcasing a radical fusion of martial arts and extreme violence and gore, the film remains a cult favourite among Manga, horror and action fans all over the world.

Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980)
Hong Kong action legend Sammo Hung broke the mould and created a new sub-genre when he wrote, directed and starred in this crazy martial arts horror caper. Sammy plays a hero, appropriately named Bold Cheung, who is tricked by his unfaithful wife and her wealthy partner to spend a night in a haunted temple, supposedly for a bet. In fact, an evil priest has been hired to unleash a vampire and kill Cheung. Luckily, a rival priest comes to his aid and a supernatural battle is underway in the haunted temple, where our hero must fight for his life. This Sammo Hung classic seamlessly blends dynamic action, slapstick comedy and horror – only in Hong Kong!

Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
This larger-than-life, historical fantasy/horror is based on an 18th century French legend and sees scientist Grégoire de Fronsac and his high-kicking sidekick Mani investigate attacks by a terrifying wolf-like beast. With the victims piling up, these heroes must battle a horrific monster, the likes of which have never been seen! With a diverse cast including Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Cassel and action favourite Mark Dacascos, the film crossed many genres and earned its place as a modern favourite, well worth seeking out!

Life of Action is out now in paperback and e-book formats and published by Mill City Press.
For more information and to order the book, visit
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About Bat 4425 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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