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Published November 1, 2016

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.



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


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

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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