15

The hairy beast which

kidnaps Gracie Law during the escape from the White Tigers

and which later appears

on the back of Jack's truck

seems to be a rather iconic part of that movie's lore, yet it receive no explanation during the movie. Is there any indication, either directly related to the movie, or from Chinese mythology, about what the creature might be?

13

From The Wing Kong Exchange, the monster is referred to in the credits as "sewer monster", but an excerpt from the script describes it as:

the most horrific creature... thing... abomination... you ever saw. An unnatural monster of myth and legend, a Chinese Wild Man made of flesh and blood with long twisted locks of fire red hair, yellow teeth and yellow eyes... the claws on his fingers that dig into Gracie's arms recalling only death...

So the monster appears to be inspired by the Chinese Wildman (or Yeren), something akin to Bigfoot.

enter image description here


EDIT: On a side note, David Sirota from the The Huffington Post gives an interesting interpretation of this cult classic in geopolitical terms in his 2008 article "Big Trouble in Little America", assigning some symbolism to the reappearance of this Chinese Wildman character at the end of the movie:

The main character, Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), is obviously cast as America. Indeed, director John Carpenter pretty overtly wants him to be something of a Western cowboy. ... Meanwhile, David Lo Pan and his gang are the Rest of the World, and more specifically, the Non-Aligned Countries, otherwise known as the Axis of Evil.

...

While Burton stumbles a lot and makes an idiot out of himself, his lack of planning ultimately works. He defeats the evil foreigners, saves the day and gets the girl (who he's too cool to keep around). The moral of the story is that while America might make some blockheaded mistakes, they're honest ones and because we're the "good guys," we'll end up winning the day. There may be "big trouble" but it's manageable because compared to American power, everything is little (in the movie's case what's little is China, but it could be anything -- Iraq, Al Qaeda, etc.).

...

That said, the tongue-in-cheek flavor of the film suggests Carpenter is using the Burton character to deliberately ridicule American hubris (and let's not forget the very end of the movie just before the credits roll: the crazy-eyed demon about to get his final revenge on Burton could be the world taking revenge on that hubris). So, in that sense, the movie was actually a prescient warning -- one that's more relevant today than when it first came out.

Then again, maybe the monster reappears simply to leave the door open for a sequel. ;)

  • 1
    Huh, always thought that was the "acting role" my high school lunch lady had... – erdiede Nov 1 '11 at 14:34
  • 2
    I think David Sarota has waaay too much time on his hands. Sometimes a great movie is just that... a great way to spend 2 hours. – Omegacron Dec 18 '15 at 18:56
2

I recently discovered that there are graphic novels that pick up where the movie left off and this "demon" was bonded to Lo Pan. When Jack killed Lo Pan, the bond transferred to Jack Burton. That's why the creature, which Jack names Pete was on his truck. He's like a cross between a dog and a monkey in the first graphic novel. Great if you wanted more after the movie. Cult Classic. I watch the movie a couple of times a year.

  • 1
    IT would be great if you expand on this answer. Try to provide sources or even screenshots of the relevant page(s) in the novel. – Möoz Sep 14 '17 at 21:40
  • 1
    How about titles to the graphic novels? – ShadoCat Sep 14 '17 at 21:58
0

I'm currently reading the Big Trouble in Little China illustrated novel written by Matthew Elliott and illustrated by Elena Casagrande, Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

The creature is indeed named Pete by Jack Burton:

When the dust settled, though, it seemed the ugly son of was really just lonely. He missed his boss, and now that he was suddenly unemployed, he didn't know what to do with himself, apart from fling his own poop (which I once saw melt its way through the door of a 1970 Dodge Challenger--classic muscle car, what a damn shame). We bonded over a cold meatball sub, and right then, we both knew he was coming with me. I named him Pete, after all of my childhood pets, and dressed him up in my second-best T-shirt.

There are several allusions to the fact that Pete is an actual demon:

I even learned to live with the fact that, whenever he picked his boogers, I could see the image of a soul screaming in eternal torment in each of them.

And

After all, he told himself, there's only so many times you can pick dried-up flakes of demon saliva out of your wrist hairs before you know you have to make some pretty dramatic changes in your life.

The closest to naming what Pete is so far seems to be "hell-beast":

Surely Egg of all people wouldn't be too surprised to find a slobbering, scratching hell-beast waiting for him on the bus.

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