Tuesday, February 4, 2014

774. Sinnui yauman/A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Running Time: 98 minutes
Directed By: Siu-Tung Ching
Written By: Kai-Chi Yun, from novel by Songling Pu
Main Cast: Leslie Cheung, Joey Wong, Wu Ma, Lau Siu-ming, Lam Wai
Click here to view the trailer


I'm off from work today and tomorrow, so I decided to put in a little overtime and put a dent in these final films before TOP 20 time. I'm so ready to make this list and move on, so hopefully within the next week or so, I can put this baby to bed. Anyway, don't let me get ahead of myself, we still have nine movies to review, starting with this one - "A Chinese Ghost Story".

I'm ready to fill in the remaining spots of this season with movies that I don't expect to enjoy, because as I've mentioned numerous times, I think I already have enough movies to make a very suitable TOP 20 list. Therefore, I went back to China for something that sounded like a horror movie, but ended up being more of a comedy. It tells of debt collector Ning Choi-San (Cheung), who runs out of money while away on business and is forced to stay at a temple, which is located in the middle of the forest. If that's not the feeblest set-up for a horror film I've ever seen, I don't know what is. When he arrives at the temple, he encounters a beautiful woman, Nip Siu-sin (Wong) who takes a liking to him. What Ning doesn't know is that the woman isn't of this world and that she's actually working for a Tree Demoness. The demoness needs living flesh to survive, so Nip lures men into her loving embraces and then jingles a charm on her anklet, summoning the demoness to come and eat the souls of the living men. Because she takes such a liking to Ning, she leaves him a note telling him to stay away - he forbids it and returns to her the next night. Later, he begins to get more answers and finds that the temple is actually very haunted and that Nip is actually a spirit, her actual living soul having perished years earlier.

So, yeah - that's the long and short of it. I have to admit, as much as I expected to hate this one, I actually ended up liking it more than I expected to. I expected to just barely make it through this one and to be totally honest, there were big chunks that actually kept me somewhat interested. I wouldn't even go so far as to say I liked it, but it definitely had a few surprises up it's sleeve. With that being said, allow me to now commence in ripping on it a little bit, because truth be told, it had absolutely no place being in the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book. I mean, really? REALLY!? What in the world would possess them to include this movie in a book, amongst such greatness? It was too silly to be a horror movie, to fantastical to be a comedy and overall, the effects and plot were just too cheesy to amount to anything that should be taken with any amount of sincerity.

I will say though that Leslie Cheung was pretty entertaining and Joey Wong was not hard to look at in the slightest. However, in the end, even though it won me over just a little bit, I have to give it a big thumbs down and a big recommendation to avoid. For fellow BOOK watchers, you may like it more than I did and you may be able to look past the goofiness of the plot and the effects, to find something worth having a chuckle over, but I just couldn't. It was ultimately just too cheesy and dumb for me to dignify with a positive rating.

RATING: 4/10  But I will give it a '4', which honestly isn't bad, considering I expected to give it a '1'.


February 4, 2014  5:43pm


  1. Oh rear..
    Next to 'Jacob's ladder' in the 'I know i've seen it because there is a tick next to it in my book', but cannot recall any of it. well, except I do sort of remember this being on..
    Sorry, no comment, which I guess is a comment in its self.

    1. Apparently this is the first in a trilogy and there's actually three of these trainwrecks out there. Aye!

  2. I remember this being weird and that I watched it on a flight back to the US from Israel, but that's about it. I guess it's in the book to give us a flavor of goofy Chinese pseudo-horror movies, but I feel like I could die without having seen it.

    1. Oh I definitely could've died without seeing this. DEFINITELY!


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