Asian American Cinematic Icons for Halloween

October 28, 2011


By now, many of you probably already have a Halloween
costume picked out, but for those of you still struggling with
what to wear, here’s a short list drawn from a rich history (ahem) of Asian
American cinematic icons to help you out. To get started on your newfound
movie-geek respect and Halloween party stardom, read on!


     Brandon Lee, Eric
from The Crow

If not for the
unfortunate accident that happened during the shooting of The Crow, Brandon Lee
(son of Bruce Lee) could have very well gone on to become a major action star
in Hollywood in the years to come. In
this visually haunting revenge story, Lee played Eric Draven, a rock guitarist
who comes back from the dead to hunt down the gang that killed him. Draven’s
industrial-punk-rock-goth outfit has certainly inspired a cult of its own, and
a perfect piece of scary garb to model after for your own Halloween night romp.
I’m no expert on leather or face paint, but I’m sure it’s not hard to find a
shop to satisfy these needs (in San Francisco, especially).

Harold Sakata,
Oddjob from Goldfinger

One of the most
deceptive and menacing main-villain bodyguards in Bond history, Oddjob
certainly struck mortal fear in me when I first watched him impale a
garden statue with a casual spin of his hat, and of course, when he extinguished
the soul of Shirley Eaton by covering her with gold -- what a heartless way to
kill someone! To pull off Oddjob, you’ll need a well-fitted butler suit, a
thick black tuxedo (pockets filled with gold ash), and of course, a
tall hat, with the emphasis on "tall,"
and preferably made with some kind of instant-kill material.

       Chow Yun Fat,
Ken from A Better Tomorrow II

this is a Hong Kong movie. But then again, half of the movie takes place in a Chinese
restaurant in NYC and perfectly depicts the anxieties faced by Chinese
immigrants in the slumpy '80s. To duplicate Chow Yun Fat’s legendary Ken (who
himself is impersonating another person, how’s that for meta), you will need a
bullet hole-ridden trench coat, gold-rimmed sunglasses, plenty of toy grenades
to clip on the inside of your coat, empty shotgun shells to spread on the floor
around you, and some fried rice to fling into the face of anyone daring to
question your authenticity.


     James Wong, David
Lo Pan
from Big Trouble in Little China

Possibly the
greatest Asian American movie villain ever, but also the most difficult to
replicate costume-wise. To insert yourself fully into Lo Pan’s shoes, one will
need a wheel chair, a face mask dotted with a disgusting amount of
pustules, and long strands of white hair taped all over said mask. And you're not done yet.

You’ll probably also
need another duffle bag containing your second outfit (of course, this is after
you’ve successfully found the green-eyed girl at the party to satisfy Lo Pan’s
transformation requirements), which includes what looks to be a Ming-dynasty
imperial hat, a silk robe with hand-sewn dragon print ("chang pao" in Chinese),
and satin-gold clip-on nails for each of your fingers. I honestly have no idea
where you can get this costume with limited budget and time, but if you do,
then the party belongs to you.

Did I omit any other Asian American movie characters worthy of imitation? Let me know in the comments! 




Neo, from the Matrix! The quintessential Asian American poseur! Just put on your goth gear and carry an Uzi. Dead Long Duk Dong: easy enough: the eighties geek outfit, bowl cut, with an axe through ur head. Harold and/or Kumar at the bottomless party. Actually, scratch that. The fake hapa from "Kung Fu." Western laborer's outfit, dust, shaved head, taped eyes. (Interesting how all of these are male, eh?) Okay, how about Jennifer Tilly in "Bound"? Femme fatale clothes and makeup. ... That's all I got.
Disappointed that none of these awesome Asian American ladies were included in your list: Alex Mundy (Charlie's Angels) as played by Lucy Liu Sharon Valerii (BSG) as played by Grace Park Dr Cristina Yang (Grays Anatomy) as played by Sandra Oh Nikita (Nikita) as played by Maggie Q O-Ren-Ishi (Kill Bill) as played by Lucy Liu