The Unreliable Narrators Watch… Chinese Ghost Story

We spent nearly as much time talking about Chinese Ghost Story as we did watching it. This movie has (very nearly) everything—a beautiful, tragic love interest; a flame-throwing monk; a hapless tax-collector hero; a breathtaking pavilion in the middle of a lake; stop-motion zombies; and a climactic battle in hell. What it doesn’t have is a consistent tone or a linear plot—but maybe those things are overrated?

As always, we’ll start with our conclusions, and hide the full transcript after the jump. Prepare for spoilers galore.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Chris
Cath
Chia
George

 

cathschaffstump 11:01 PM In part, even though these films have some “quality” issues, they are a lot of fun.

cathschaffstump 11:01 PM And the cheese is part of the feature.

cathschaffstump 11:01 PM And there are moments when they transcend and put us somewhere unique.

chris 11:02 PM cheese goes well with horror. Hello, Vincent Price

cathschaffstump 11:02 PM On the whole, I’m gonna say that I would recommend this to others if I know they would like it, or well, if they are well prepared.

chialynn 11:03 PM Yes, this is one I’d enjoy watching again with other people who would enjoy watching it.

chialynn 11:03 PM Or people I could count on to be entertainingly and/or charmingly baffled by it.

cathschaffstump 11:03 PM Yeah. It would be no fun if the people you were watching it with thought it was weird or stupid.

george_galuschak 11:03 PM this is as much screwball comedy as horror

george_galuschak 11:03 PM it’s really a very upbeat movie

george_galuschak 11:04 PM optimistic

chris 11:04 PM yeah that’s why earlier I said this may not even qualify as horror

cathschaffstump 11:04 PM But the tongue! That’s kind of scary.

chris 11:04 PM other than the tongues and claymation zombies

cathschaffstump 11:04 PM The zombies are pure camp.

george_galuschak 11:04 PM they were great

cathschaffstump 11:04 PM I will admit I am not too worried about having any bad dreams about this one.

 

chialynn 9:08 PM Are we good? I’m good.

cathschaffstump 9:08 PM CGS.

chris 9:08 PM Let’s all do our best

george_galuschak 9:09 PM okay, Chinese Ghost Story!!!

cathschaffstump 9:09 PM The scary bell of doom.

chialynn 9:09 PM Doom doooom DOOOOM DOOM!

chris 9:10 PM a Dutch angle is a Dutch angle, even in Hong Kong

cathschaffstump 9:10 PM Hey, have noticed how horror movies use a lot of blue?

chialynn 9:10 PM The perpetual dark night of the soul.

cathschaffstump 9:10 PM Always a bad sign in an Asian film.

george_galuschak 9:10 PM he’s doomed

cathschaffstump 9:10 PM Yes. Yes he is.

chris 9:10 PM Evil Dead tracking shot. Never good

cathschaffstump 9:11 PM Jingle, jingle, jingle, time to get your eats.

george_galuschak 9:11 PM well, shit, that’s a bummer

chialynn 9:11 PM When a woman you’ve never seen before has to have you _now_, run.

cathschaffstump 9:11 PM And that’s how we devour a soul in Taiwan.

cathschaffstump 9:11 PM Our hapless hero.

george_galuschak 9:12 PM hard luck loser!

chialynn 9:12 PM I think we’re supposed to understand that it’s hot, and the road food sucks.

chris 9:12 PM hapless!

chialynn 9:13 PM Also, that our hero is no athlete.

cathschaffstump 9:13 PM Traveling for work has never been easy.

chris 9:13 PM should have stayed in Hong Kong and never met Dennis Rodman

chialynn 9:13 PM “Could be worse. Could be raining.”

chialynn 9:14 PM “Could be worse. Somebody could be getting beheaded.”

george_galuschak 9:14 PM why did he spit out the food?

cathschaffstump 9:14 PM Maybe he didn’t like it?

chialynn 9:14 PM Didn’t trust the guy who beheads people.

chialynn 9:14 PM If I remember correctly, I saw this in the same Asian religions class I saw Godzilla in.

george_galuschak 9:14 PM Wow, the tone changes in this movie are pretty jarring

cathschaffstump 9:14 PM That is an Asian thing.

chris 9:14 PM yeah that’s one of the things I love about HK movies

chris 9:15 PM all genres are fair game! Often at once!

chris 9:16 PM How many horror stories begin with a government official being denied a room?

chialynn 9:17 PM Nobody likes a tax collector.

chris 9:17 PM Go stay at Trump Tower!

chialynn 9:17 PM He’s really very bad at this, isn’t he?

cathschaffstump 9:17 PM My job sucks.

cathschaffstump 9:18 PM Also a recurrent theme this set of movies.

George_galuschak 9:18 PM ‘you can spend the night at the haunted house’

chris 9:18 PM ‘Head south until you see a really spooky temple!’

chialynn 9:18 PM That sounds promising!

george_galuschak 9:18 PM ‘don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe…do you have any next of kin we can

notify?’

cathschaffstump 9:19 The coffin measuring is NOT foreshadowing.

george_galuschak 9:19 PM how is it the middle of the night already?

cathschaffstump 9:19 PM it’s a long way.

chialynn 9:19 PM He walks very slowly.

chialynn 9:19 PM Until he’s running from wolves.

chris 9:19 PM wolves!

cathschaffstump 9:19 PM Yeah. Wolves. Always wolves.

chialynn 9:19 PM Then he is quick like bunny.

chialynn 9:20 PM Tasty, tasty bunny.

george_galuschak 9:20 PM hell wolves

chialynn 9:20 PM Yep, that’s a pretty spooky temple, all right.

chris 9:20 PM it’s always dark at Lan Ro Temple. 24/7

cathschaffstump 9:20 PM And windy.

cathschaffstump 9:20 PM And misty.

chris 9:20 PM unreliable lantern

chris 9:20 PM  And the wolves eyes glow, even without a lantern.

chris 9:20 PM the torn shojis are a nice touch

chialynn 9:20 PM He carries bad weather around with him.

chialynn 9:21 PM And also attracts bandits.

george_galuschak 9:21 PM his little umbrella is still there – I’m impressed

cathschaffstump 9:21 PM Oh yeah. This old guy.

cathschaffstump 9:21 PM Love this old guy.

george_galuschak 9:21 PM uhh, what’s going on?

cathschaffstump 9:21 PM Remember the bounty hunter?

cathschaffstump 9:21 PM He’s fighting an old monk master.

cathschaffstump 9:21 PM Look at how fake that monk’s beard is!

chialynn 9:21 PM That is definitely not a false beard.

chialynn 9:21 PM What, you’ve never stumbled into a possibly supernatural battle at a spooky temple in the woods?

george_galuschak 9:22 PM they’re debating!!!

cathschaffstump 9:22 PM ‘But you’ve wasted your youth too.’

chialynn 9:22 PM Pause for exposition. At swordspoint.

george_galuschak 9:22 PM Our hero is a peacemaker, too!

chris 9:22 PM Love conquers the world!

cathschaffstump 9:23 PM Touch him with love . Love conquers the world.

chialynn 9:23 PM To hell with your love!

george_galuschak 9:23 PM ‘yes, i’m a brave man. that, or a stupid man. does it matter?’

chris 9:23 PM he’s the most observant vagrant around

cathschaffstump 9:24 PM After all that, it’s just me, here, at the spooky temple.

george_galuschak 9:24 PM don’t forget about supernatural hell woman

cathschaffstump 9:24 PM But she’s so pretty.

chris 9:24 PM -10 vs. charm

chialynn 9:24 PM This is the second movie in a row with a town full of tacky people setting the protag up to die.

chris 9:25 PM outsiders are not appreciated anywhere in the world!

cathschaffstump 9:25 PM What is with you, sucky towns?

george_galuschak 9:25 PM oh look, the desiccated corpses of the people she’s sucked dry

chialynn 9:25 PM Now even more of his clothing is torn.

chialynn 9:25 PM And soon it won’t just be his clothing.

george_galuschak 9:25 PM oops, a bloodstain

chialynn 9:25 PM “Oh, hi. I’m just bathing here. Oopsie, I fell down.”

cathschaffstump 9:26 PM Hey, is this tomato sauce?

cathschaffstump 9:26 PM Ink?

chris 9:26 PM claymation!

chialynn 9:26 PM And this, young man, is why we don’t just pounce on young ladies bathing in the woods at night.

chialynn 9:26 PM That, and it’s rude.

george_galuschak 9:27 PM aww, i kind of liked him…

george_galuschak 9:27 PM he was so good at flying, too!

cathschaffstump 9:27 PM Good bye Hsai-hou!

chris 9:27 PM zombicide

chialynn 9:27 PM Stone. Cold

chris 9:27 PM remorse!

chialynn 9:27 PM And now she is sad, because she is cursed.

george_galuschak 9:27 PM well, i wasn’t expecting that

george_galuschak 9:27 PM this movie is nuts – and i mean that in the best possible way!

chris 9:28 PM I’m tellin you there’s something moving in here and it ain’t us!

chialynn 9:28 PM The corpses in the attic remind me of The Hunger.

chialynn 9:29 PM And yet another hero who hasn’t ever seen a horror movie.

chris 9:29 PM well, in his defense, they probably don’t have VCRs

chialynn 9:29 PM “I’ll just go investigate the strange noises in the attic of this creepy temple.”

cathschaffstump 9:30 PM Wow. this water temple scene is gorgeous.

george_galuschak 9:30 PM howdy ma’am

george_galuschak 9:30 PM she has bunny ears!

chris 9:31 PM raaaarrr

cathschaffstump 9:31 PM why are your hands so cold?

cathschaffstump 9:31 PM Because I’m DEAD!!!!

chris 9:31 PM spurted all over you? subtitles for the win

chialynn 9:31 PM Dead and lovely.

chris 9:32 PM I like her magic jazz hand maneuver

cathschaffstump 9:32 PM The Asian accidental breast fall.

george_galuschak 9:32 PM he’s going to carry her? She could carry him probably

chialynn 9:32 PM He’s definitely not an athlete.

chialynn 9:32 PM Or a lover.

chialynn 9:32 PM Also not much of a tax collector.

chialynn 9:32 PM Surely there’s _something_ he’s good at.

george_galuschak 9:32 PM he really is feeble minded

chris 9:33 PM at least he’s not portrayed as a smart person who does something dumb

chialynn 9:33 PM Fortunately, this monk is good at everything.

chialynn 9:34 PM A cobra? In China?

cathschaffstump 9:34 PM Um…yes.

chris 9:34 PM a magic cobra!

george_galuschak 9:34 PM I know! I let it keep biting me till it gets tired

chialynn 9:34 PM I stand corrected—there are Chinese cobras!

chialynn 9:34 PM https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_cobra

chialynn 9:35 PM Okay, he is very brave.

george_galuschak 9:35 PM That or dumb

chialynn 9:35 PM Just very stupid.

cathschaffstump 9:35 PM And so it goes.

chris 9:36 PM what was that creature

chialynn 9:36 PM Squirrel!

george_galuschak 9:37 PM run away!!!

chris 9:37 PM the creepiest thing about the villain is the dual voices

cathschaffstump 9:38 PM Oh crap. Don’t drop the love note.

george_galuschak 9:38 PM is that the monk’s bad breath in action?

chialynn 9:38 PM Did he blow that fire out, or inhale it?

george_galuschak 9:38 PM he does a great job ignoring the rotting corpses in the basement

chris 9:38 PM Chinese zombies can climb ladders!

chialynn 9:39 PM Oops.

chris 9:39 PM way to improvise

cathschaffstump 9:39 PM So..did you see anything eerie?

chialynn 9:39 PM Or hear something strange?

cathschaffstump 9:39 PM Heeeheeeeheee…idiot!

chialynn 9:40 PM I think the zombies are getting stronger.

chris 9:41 PM Where’s my lower torso?

chialynn 9:42 PM And so our hero becomes a forger.

cathschaffstump 9:42 PM Our hapless hero is also our lucky hero.

george_galuschak 9:43 PM he’s blessed by the gods

cathschaffstump 9:44 PM Everyone respects you after you’ve survived a night in Lan Ro temple!

chialynn 9:44 PM Sure, they like him now.

chialynn 9:44 PM Oh. Nope, they don’t like him anymore.

chris 9:45 PM those lawless Chinese towns

george_galuschak 9:46 PM welp, back to the haunted temple

cathschaffstump 9:46 PM Back to the woods. I am trying to be brave and failing. Even with three lanterns.

chialynn 9:46 PM He could afford a place in town now.

cathschaffstump 9:47 PM She killed all the wolves. So not cool.

chialynn 9:47 PM But he’d miss his undead girlfriend.

george_galuschak 9:47 PM poor doggies!!!

cathschaffstump 9:48 PM And the most famous scene in the film coming up.

chialynn 9:48 PM She’s moved on from the bunny ears. She’s got kind of a rhino horn thing going now.

george_galuschak 9:48 PM romeo romeo where art thou?

george_galuschak 9:48 PM ‘have you seen an idiot hiding anywhere?’

chialynn 9:49 PM “Oh, just tending my manicure, not hiding a man in the cistern.”

chris 9:50 PM Lord Black!

george_galuschak 9:50 PM little violent there

chris 9:50 PM is not good natured, go figure

cathschaffstump 9:50 PM Fifiefofum. I smell the blood of…

cathschaffstump 9:50 PM Underwater kiss!

chialynn 9:51 PM He needs a straw to breathe through.

cathschaffstump 9:51 PM He looks so happy.

chialynn 9:52 PM Accidentally copped a feel yesterday, accidentally got an eyeful tonight.

cathschaffstump 9:53 PM It’s all so accidental.

george_galuschak 9:53 PM Old Evil!!!

chialynn 9:53 PM That is some serious undead hair product they’re all using.

george_galuschak 9:55 PM she’s telling her tale of woe

chris 9:54 PM Don’t dream on, you beggar!

cathschaffstump 9:54 PM Ah, the old you only want my money to drive me off trick.

cathschaffstump 9:54 PM And he falls for it. But…

cathschaffstump 9:54 PM SHE IS DEAD!!!

george_galuschak 9:55 PM she doesn’t have any money

george_galuschak 9:55 PM not too smart. But that’s why we he’s so lovable

george_galuschak 9:55 PM …I guess

chialynn 9:56 PM She’s broken his heart.

chialynn 9:56 PM If he’d ever met a girl before, he might understand what she’s doing.

george_galuschak 9:57 PM and now for something completely different…drunken monks!!!

chris 9:57 PM HK rap

chialynn 9:58 PM Rock and roll swordfight!

chialynn 9:58 PM “I laugh through my totally natural beard that I grew myself!”

george_galuschak 9:58 PM i guess when you’re a monk sometimes the loneliness gets to you

george_galuschak 9:58 PM and you burst into song

chialynn 9:59 PM Our hero hasn’t given up on her yet.

george_galuschak 9:59 PM ‘i stole a bunch of money so now i have a pot to piss in!’

cathschaffstump 9:59 PM her hair is actually under control.

chialynn 10:00 PM “I’m always getting wet.”

chialynn 10:00 PM He really does drag bad weather around with him.

cathschaffstump 10:00 PM I’m getting married in 3 days.

cathschaffstump 10:00 PM Relationship/sex montage.

cathschaffstump 10:00 PM We literally just saw all of these scenes, movie.

chialynn 10:01 PM I mean, your hands are cold, and your heart’s not beating, and you always chase me off before dawn, but the merchant must have been mistaken about you being dead.

chris 10:02 PM It must be the sequels where she’s like, “Eek! A Ghost! Save me!”

chialynn 10:02 PM I take it back. He _is_ a lover.

chialynn 10:04 PM Don’t let the hair fool you. That’s not your girlfriend.

chris 10:04 PM off with her head

chialynn 10:04 PM Exploding blood!

cathschaffstump 10:05 PM I can do that tai chi trick with the blood. No, really.

chialynn 10:05 PM He’s a remarkably good rider for being so hopeless at everything else.

cathschaffstump 10:06 PM Now for some very confusing Chinese bureacratics.

george_galuschak 10:06 PM where did this come from?

cathschaffstump 10:07 PM If I just say the words, Lan Ro Temple, everyone scatters.

cathschaffstump 10:07 PM so, it turns out that a guy that looks just like me is the murderer. What are the odds?

chialynn 10:08 PM “This case is too complicated.”

chialynn 10:08 PM I would agree.

cathschaffstump 10:08 PM And…I killed a ghost?

george_galuschak 10:09 PM wow, is the other shoe about to drop?

chialynn 10:09 PM He’s so close…

george_galuschak 10:10 PM the moment of epiphany!!!

cathschaffstump 10:10 PM Oh. Her grave.

cathschaffstump 10:10 PM Change your ways, Scrooge!

chialynn 10:11 PM No one tends this graveyard.

chris 10:11 PM Ghosts use each other like people

chialynn 10:12 PM People are complicated. Ghosts are simple.

chialynn 10:13 PM He’s going to use you like the ghosts use each other like people do.

cathschaffstump 10:13 PM Yeah. What you said.

chialynn 10:13 PM Ring the bell!

george_galuschak 10:13 PM whoopsie-doopsie!

cathschaffstump 10:14 PM Stop chanting the sutra, idiot!

cathschaffstump 10:14 PM Evil can’t show up if you chant the sutra.

chialynn 10:14 PM “Okay, maybe I didn’t say every tiny little syllable…”

george_galuschak 10:14 PM evil dead montage again!

cathschaffstump 10:15 PM You are really letting the monk down, buddy. I just want to point that out.

cathschaffstump 10:15 PM Not that he was exactly looking out for your interests.

george_galuschak 10:15 PM blessed are the feeble-minded

chris 10:16 PM tree monster!

george_galuschak 10:16 PM hey, it’s good ole’ Old Evil!!!

cathschaffstump 10:16 PM Tongue of ultimate evil.

george_galuschak 10:17 PM that tree’s going to kick your ass

chialynn 10:18 PM Ring the bell! Ring the bell!

chris 10:18 PM the clapper was missing!

george_galuschak 10:17 PM ‘well, it doesn’t work because you’re a fool’

chialynn 10:18 PM That damned hole in the floor.

cathschaffstump 10:18 PM Now it’s just the two lovers against all the forces that want to…um…get…in the way of their love.

chialynn 10:18 PM Two lovers against a giant tongue.

chris 10:19 PM tongue action!

cathschaffstump 10:19 PM So many things wrong with that line.

chialynn 10:19 PM And a disappearing ladder.

george_galuschak 10:19 PM Ole Evil!

cathschaffstump 10:19 PM Who else if not me!

george_galuschak 10:19 PM is Ole’ Evil gonna kill him?

george_galuschak 10:19 PM At last!

george_galuschak 10:19 PM Damn, Ole’ Evil missed

cathschaffstump 10:20 PM That trick with all the tai chi blood bombs? I do that when the students won’t settle down.

chris 10:21 PM her tongue’s longer than yours

cathschaffstump 10:22 PM Tongue hijinx.

chialynn 10:23 PM That tongue just keeps getting bigger.

george_galuschak 10:23 PM how’s he going to help him? by fainting on Ole’ Evil?

cathschaffstump 10:23 PM Did this movie just become Tremors?

chris 10:23 PM By  ‘anywhere’ I meant anywhere but my ass!

george_galuschak 10:23 PM Look It’s Biollante!

chialynn 10:24 PM The tongue was phallic before the white goo.

george_galuschak 10:24 PM She’s going to kill him! At last!

chialynn 10:24 PM “Feed me, Seymour.”

cathschaffstump 10:25 PM So. Would you help me reincarnate her?

cathschaffstump 10:25 PM Please?

cathschaffstump 10:25 PM Pretty please?

cathschaffstump 10:25 PM Pretty please with sugar on top?

chris 10:26 PM “I don’t understand all this nonsense!”

george_galuschak 10:26 PM what happened to Ole Evil?

cathschaffstump 10:27 PM Ole evil will be back in 100 years.

george_galuschak 10:27 PM Good for her!

chialynn 10:27 PM Someone should put up a big sign warning everyone not to bury anybody else under the Ole Evil Tree.

cathschaffstump 10:28 PM That would be for the best.

george_galuschak 10:28 PM that’s right  – fuck those trees up!!!

chialynn 10:28 PM I take it Ole Evil’s not the only evil tree in these woods.

george_galuschak 10:29 PM what a nice room!

george_galuschak 10:29 PM let’s put all the cremated bodies on the table

cathschaffstump 10:29 PM Those ghosts are cool, though.

chialynn 10:29 PM Are we sure all of them are cool?

chialynn 10:30 PM Okay, I guess all of them were cool.

cathschaffstump 10:30 PM And they’re together again.

george_galuschak 10:30 PM ‘look, it’s your girlfriend!’

cathschaffstump 10:30 PM And the monk is self conscious.

george_galuschak 10:30 PM look at the leering monk!!!

cathschaffstump 10:31 PM Calligraphy. Always good for a first date.

chialynn 10:32 PM Collaborative poetry. That’s sweet.

cathschaffstump 10:32 PM Hey. Wait a second. There’s something not write about this inn.

chialynn 10:32 PM “This inn is haunted! And not just by you!”

chris 10:32 PM Blood bun!

cathschaffstump 10:32 PM Because…evil.

george_galuschak 10:33 PM Can it be Ole Evil?!?!

cathschaffstump 10:32 PM Oh. Lord Black.

george_galuschak 10:33 PM he took her. Bummer.

chris 10:33 PM It seems we have to storm Hell

chialynn 10:33 PM As one does.

cathschaffstump 10:33 PM All in a day’s work for amazing Monk Yen.

cathschaffstump 10:33 PM Ad now some Chinese hell stuff.

george_galuschak 10:34 PM Ole’ Evil, is that you?

chialynn 10:34 PM There are horses in hell.

cathschaffstump 10:34 PM That’s where bad horses go.

chris 10:34 PM only evil horses

chialynn 10:34 PM But no dogs.

chialynn 10:34 PM All dogs go to heaven.

george_galuschak 10:34 PM wow, that old monk really kicks ass

chialynn 10:35 PM And never runs out of blood.

cathschaffstump 10:35 PM When you start studying tai chi, you get an infinite supply of blood.

george_galuschak 10:35 PM ‘it’s me. your not-too bright boyfriend!’

cathschaffstump 10:36 PM Things are looking grim.

chialynn 10:36 PM I hate it when the guy I’m about to shoot vanishes like that.

cathschaffstump 10:37 PM That is trying.

cathschaffstump 10:37 PM Your ghost girlfriend steps up.

chialynn 10:38 PM He only broke her power on Earth, clearly.

george_galuschak 10:38 PM ‘but i can’t concentrate. i’m stupid!’

chris 10:38 PM 1000-year-old evil

george_galuschak 10:38 PM gyaaaahhhh!

chris 10:39 PM he’s made of heads!

chialynn 10:39 PM Lord Black was nothing but 20 teenaged girls in an overcoat!

george_galuschak 10:40 PM forgot about the sutra!

cathschaffstump 10:40 PM The sutra saves us all.

cathschaffstump 10:40 PM Buddha provides.

george_galuschak 10:40 PM ‘well, that was fun. Sort of like Disney!’

cathschaffstump 10:41 PM And thus, evil was vanquished.

chialynn 10:41 PM But not the girlfriend.

chialynn 10:42 PM Because she’s not evil.

cathschaffstump 10:42 PM Well, technically, she has done evil, but she’s remorseful.

george_galuschak 10:42 PM is she going to be reincarnated?

cathschaffstump 10:42 PM Word has it yes.

cathschaffstump 10:42 PM RE: Chinese Ghost Story 2 and 3.

chialynn 10:42 PM If this were an American movie, we’d cut to the baby who’s just been born on the other side of town.

cathschaffstump 10:43 PM Well, cue the ending montage credits.

george_galuschak 10:43 PM ”look, a fake rainbow!’

cathschaffstump 10:43 PM So…that was Chinese Ghost Story.

cathschaffstump 10:43 PM And…it was honestly much worse than I remember.

cathschaffstump 10:43 PM I remember seeing it and thinking it was cool.

chris 10:44 PM hah same here

cathschaffstump 10:44 PM And parts of it are beautiful.

chris 10:44 PM it’s quite silly

chris 10:44 PM but still fun

chialynn 10:44 PM I’ve learned to check for evil trees before burying my murdered daughter in the woods.

chialynn 10:44 PM And also that there are dynastic alliances in Hell.

george_galuschak 10:45 PM i liked it

chialynn 10:45 PM I liked it.

cathschaffstump 10:45 PM I didn’t dislike it.

chris 10:45 PM same here

chialynn 10:45 PM I don’t understand the bit with the bureaucrat.

chialynn 10:45 PM Or who the bounty hunters were hunting.

george_galuschak 10:45 PM yeah there were a few parts i didn’t get

chris 10:45 PM it’s really fun in the theater

cathschaffstump 10:45 PM There were pieces that were quite nonsequitur, of course.

chialynn 10:46 PM But I appreciate that there was no way for him to save her.

chialynn 10:46 PM Just to free her.

george_galuschak 10:46 PM well, he did save her by freeing her i guess

cathschaffstump 10:46 PM There are lots of wonderful cultural bits that are studies in contrast.

chialynn 10:46 PM Yes, but she doesn’t get to be herself again. In the flesh, I mean.

cathschaffstump 10:47 PM It doesn’t have to end happily.

chris 10:47 PM how did anyone survive that era? bandits in town, ghosts and evil trees in the woods

george_galuschak 10:47 PM i thought it did end happily

cathschaffstump 10:47 PM Doomed love can be very satisfying..

cathschaffstump 10:47 PM I did too, George.

cathschaffstump 10:47 PM What else?

cathschaffstump 10:47 PM Gorgeous wire work.

cathschaffstump 10:48 PM Gorgeous cinematography.

chialynn 10:48 PM Yes, the Hollywood ending would have been that she’s resurrected, rather than reincarnated.

cathschaffstump 10:48 PM Special effects are hokey.

chris 10:48 PM hokey in a good way though

george_galuschak 10:48 PM they reminded me of Evil Dead

cathschaffstump 10:48 PM Yes.

george_galuschak 10:48 PM honestly, i thought this one was very good

cathschaffstump 10:48 PM Although the tongue was a bit much.

chris 10:48 PM I doubt there’s a legit way to portray a tree monster with a 1000-foot tongue

cathschaffstump 10:49 PM If ever there were a line to be immortalized, Chris, that one is it.

george_galuschak 10:49 PM the hero archetype is different from Western movies

george_galuschak 10:49 PM he’s sort of the hapless fool

george_galuschak 10:49 PM in Hollywood, he’d be the one doing the fighting

george_galuschak 10:49 PM here, he needs the monk to do it for him

cathschaffstump 10:49 PM He is fairly typical of the species in a Hong Kong film.

chialynn 10:50 PM He’s brave, though. Eventually.

cathschaffstump 10:49 PM And the monk is also a standard character.

cathschaffstump 10:50 PM The old wise master. RE: Mr. Vampire.

chris 10:50 PM got to love a world where everyone just flies around nonchalantly

george_galuschak 10:50 PM the main character never flies, does he?

cathschaffstump 10:50 PM He does a double flip with the monk when they land in Hell.

cathschaffstump 10:51 PM Hell is a special place where even comic relief romantic leads can fly.

chialynn 10:51 PM And he does ride well.

cathschaffstump 10:51 PM VERY well.

george_galuschak 10:51 PM the slapstick parts were great

chris 10:51 PM I thought the tree spirit was in the final battle

cathschaffstump 10:51 PM So, overall, digging the multi-culturalism.

cathschaffstump 10:52 PM Noting its age and that it doesn’t hold up as well when you get used to a different level of the film.

chialynn 10:52 PM Yeah, the budget was clearly very low.

chialynn 10:52 PM And there were things I know I missed because I don’t know the folklore it’s based on well.

cathschaffstump 10:52 PM I still appreciate it, but I can see it for more of what it was.

cathschaffstump 10:52 PM My memory had enhanced it.

cathschaffstump 10:53 PM Some of the most beautiful scenes I have seen in film.

chris 10:53 PM I still enjoy those films quite a bit. Art-house wuxia gets tedious after a while

cathschaffstump 10:53 PM For its flaws more than anything.

cathschaffstump 10:53 PM Certainly, not for its plot!

george_galuschak 10:54 PM the main character’s superpower is that he makes everyone act better

george_galuschak 10:54 PM he brings out the innate nobility in people

chialynn 10:54 PM what you said, George.

cathschaffstump 10:54 PM The main character does in fact make everyone a better person.

chialynn 10:54 PM And that’s foreshadowed with the whole “love conquers all” bit at the beginning.

cathschaffstump 10:54 PM Also, evil never triumphs over good.

chialynn 10:54 PM According to the Google search I just did, it’s loosely based on _Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio_, which is 17th century.

cathschaffstump 10:54 PM I *think* I’ve seen both the sequels.

cathschaffstump 10:54 PM The second one is not too bad.

chris 10:54 PM joey wong is in all three. Leslie Cheung dropped out after the second one

chialynn 10:55 PM And they’re all stories about young scholars rescuing supernatural women through kindness or skill.

cathschaffstump 10:55 PM The third one is regarded as very bad.

george_galuschak 10:55 PM well, as has been stated, it’s not a hollywood type movie

george_galuschak 10:55 PM so the ending might be jarring to people who expect a certain type of ending

chris 10:56 PM I hate jarring changes in tone in most Western films, but it works in HK stuff for me, for some reason

chris 10:56 PM I appreciate that they aren’t set to a rigid formula

cathschaffstump 10:56 PM This is gonna sound like a strange thing to say, but that’s part of the reason I did my dissertation.

cathschaffstump 10:56 PM Different rhetorics, different story telling, different cultural expectations.

george_galuschak 10:56 PM i don’t think the love was physical on his part

george_galuschak 10:56 PM otherwise, she would have eaten him alive

chialynn 10:56 PM I don’t know—that looked like more than just a cuddle.

george_galuschak 10:57 PM at the beginning, it wasn’t lust i mean

chialynn 10:57 PM Oh, definitely not at the beginning.

cathschaffstump 10:57 PM The attraction was not purely physical.

chialynn 10:57 PM He appreciated that she was pretty, but that wasn’t all of it.

george_galuschak 10:57 PM he didn’t have evil intentions

cathschaffstump 10:57 PM Yup.

george_galuschak 10:57 PM also, he’s an archetype

george_galuschak 10:57 PM the fool

george_galuschak 10:57 PM doesn’t appear much in western cinema

chialynn 10:57 PM Fools tend to be sidekicks in Hollywood films.

chris 10:58 PM well, a lot of Western movies have someone who’s supposed to be competent acting foolish, which is frustrating

george_galuschak 10:58 PM right, and this guy really was foolish!

chris 10:58 PM who else would take that job as a tax collector?

cathschaffstump 10:58 PM How were your subtitles?

chialynn 10:58 PM The subtitles were often silly.

cathschaffstump 10:58 PM Mine were savagely bad, in an early 90s kind of way.

chialynn 10:58 PM Too literal.

cathschaffstump 10:58 PM And poor grammar.

chris 10:59 PM the horrible English subtitles take it to a whole other level

chialynn 10:59 PM “Return to the golden pagoda!”

chialynn 10:59 PM And by that I assume you mean “the black urn that holds your ashes.”

chris 11:00 PM and my favorite poor translation: “They were using us like prawns!”

cathschaffstump 11:01 PM In part, even though these films have some “quality” issues, they are a lot of fun.

cathschaffstump 11:01 PM And the cheese is part of the feature.

cathschaffstump 11:01 PM And there are moments when they transcend and put us somewhere unique.

chris 11:02 PM cheese goes well with horror. Hello, Vincent Price

cathschaffstump 11:02 PM On the whole, I’m gonna say that I would recommend this to others if I know they would like it, or well, if they are well prepared.

chialynn 11:03 PM Yes, this is one I’d enjoy watching again with other people who would enjoy watching it.

chialynn 11:03 PM Or people I could count on to be entertainingly and/or charmingly baffled by it.

cathschaffstump 11:03 PM Yeah. It would be no fun if the people you were watching it with thought it was weird or stupid.

george_galuschak 11:03 PM this is as much screwball comedy as horror

george_galuschak 11:03 PM it’s really a very upbeat movie

george_galuschak 11:04 PM optimistic

chris 11:04 PM yeah that’s why earlier I said this may not even qualify as horror

cathschaffstump 11:04 PM But the tongue! That’s kind of scary.

chris 11:04 PM other than the tongues and claymation zombies

cathschaffstump 11:04 PM The zombies are pure camp.

george_galuschak 11:04 PM they were great

cathschaffstump 11:04 PM I will admit I am not too worried about having any bad dreams about this one.

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