World Horror Cinema: Hong Kong
By Sam Reeve
My rating: 8/10
I love horror comedies, but hadn’t yet seen one that included martial arts. Spooky Encounters changed that, and is one of the best films I’ve seen this month. It’s the perfect mix of comedy, horror and well-choreographed fight scenes.
Fun fact: it stars the legendary martial artist and actor Sammo Hung, who also directed and co-wrote. Hung is probably as well-known in China as Jackie Chan, and they actually worked together quite often. He also got to fight Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.
Here’s a great picture of Hung looking awkward between the very sweaty Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao.
Anyway, enough of how awesome Sammo Hung is.
Spooky Encounters tells the story of Bold Cheung, a coachman who seems to run into ghosts and get himself into trouble at every turn. He discovers that his wife was cheating on him one day, but the man escaped out the window before he could find out that it was none other than his boss, the influential Mr. Tam. Not wanting a scandal, and wanting the wife for himself, Tam devises some incredibly elaborate ways of getting rid of Bold Cheung. Tam hires a money-hungry sorcerer to do the deed, who then shares the plan with his apprentice, Tsui, an honorable man who refuses to go along with it. Bold Cheung is convinced by one of the sorcerer’s men to stay the night in an old temple to prove his boldness. Meanwhile, the sorcerer can control a corpse that lays in the temple, and some pretty hilarious fights erupt between the living dead guy and the not-so-bold Cheung.
Thankfully Bold Cheung is aided by Tsui, and the two band together to defeat the evil sorcerer and unsavory Mr. Tam. In between there’s plenty of spooky encounters, and some how Cheung bumbles his way through all of it.
I recommend this movie to anyone who likes kung fu or Ghostbusters. I promise it’ll become a new favourite.
Here’s a great clip from when Cheung takes a nap beside a corpse that wakes up and mirrors his actions. It’s dubbed in English, but the full movie at the bottom is in the original Cantonese with English subtitles.