Friday, February 08, 2008

Horror Movie Review #13: A Chinese Ghost Story III

Directed By: Ching Siu-Tung
Release Date: 1991
Running Time: 90 minutes
Language: Chinese
Horror Type: Ghosts
Sex? - Lip action, all these beautiful seductresses...sigh
Gore? - Hm, one decapitation, some dismemberment, no more than five seconds total
Momel's Rating: 4/5

A trio of magical kung fu fighters subdue the Tree Devil in a fantastic martial arts battle that seals the Tree Devil's fate for 100 years. The seal fades after a hundred years, and the Tree Devil revives to raise hell.

A travelling Elder Monk and his student Fong, more like his protege, spends the night in the Haunted Orchid Temple. Unknown to them, the Tree Devil's Lady Ghosts frequent this place to lure men to their deaths, and it is by a chance encounter that Fong suffers and survives the seductions of Lotus, Orchid Temple's Lady Ghost. He eventually befriends Lotus, but the trouble is, they're two agents working for opposite forces. He's a monk and she's a ghost working for the Tree Devil. A very impressive martial arts battle results in the Elder Monks kidnap, and its up to Fong, with the aid of Lotus the Lady Ghost and, along the way, Yin, a mercenary swordsman with wicked sword skills and insane magical spells at his disposal, to rescue the Elder Monk. They do so, and they obtain Lotus' urn in the process, and this serves as a catalyst to two climactic battles of epic proportions.

Although replete with amazing kung fu action and flying people and explosive magical spells, it still is a horror movie, a ghost story to be more specific. And although the Chinese ghosts are nowhere near the transparent Western crop or the occasional poltergeist, these Chinese ghosts are still supernatural inspite of their purposeful seductions. It's a magnificent marriage of the supernatural and the fantastic, seasoned with enthusiastic proportions of magic and kung fu. And it doesn't matter if it has this tendency to be a little excessive with the production. The genre borders on both the supernatural and the fantastic, so the over indulgence tends to be an advantage because it encourages the imagination. It's a trademark, really, and although uncommon for the horror fan trained in the varying Western definitions of the genre, it remains to be, at the very least, an acquired taste much like shrimp dumplings and wonton noodles.

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