Erotic Ghost Story (1990)

Directed by Simon Nam Ngai Choi

Produced by Chow Chun Tung

Starring Amy Yip Chi Mei, Man Siu, Kamimura Kiyoko, Tan Lap Man, Ha Chi Chun, Kung Tang Tung, Manfred Wong (Man Jun), Lam Chung

Erotic Ghost Story

Produced a year before Amy Yip's international breakthrough piece ("Sex & Zen"), and sourced from the same literary works by Pu Song Ling that provided the basis for Tsui Hark's "Chinese Ghost Story" trilogy, "Erotic Ghost Story" should provide the definitive introduction to Hong Kong's crazy brand of cinematic erotic fantasies. It's a zippy, fast-paced adult comedy from the same man that would crank out cult favourite "Story Of Ricky" a year later, and it's also surprisingly explicit in parts. Best of all though, is it's a lot of fun, as well as a bit of a sizzler.

So-So (Man) Fei-Fei (Yip) and Hua-Hua (Kamimura) are three fox spirits savouring the taste of immortality that the fruits of their patient thousand yearlong meditation will bring. They're not above playing the odd prank on mortal men (as the chuckle-inducing opening scene will attest), but they long for their humanity. Moving near a rural village where local women pray to Wu Tung, the god of fertility, they hope to see out their final thirty-six days to immortality in tranquility. But So-so's outing to the local temple stimulates carnal desire in her, the warning of not succumbing to temptation by a Taoist priest left unheeded.

Then sister So happens upon a wayward scholar (Tan), who threatens to become just the sort of temptation that the Taoist warned her of. Pretty soon, he has insinuated his way into the lives of all three sisters, and their immortality is under threat of dissolution. Is he simply a wayward scholar, or is he the demon god Wu Tung, intent on thriving on the sisters' sexual fire? The answer is as blatantly obvious as Ms. Yip's gravity defying assets are surgically enhanced.

Nam's film is a visually vibrant soft-core sex opus that should make a welcome introduction to Hong Kong's Category III style of filmmaking for any prospective genre buff intent on dabbling in Chinese erotica. The girls are gorgeous, the sex overblown and explicit (for soft-core), the villain hammily overplayed, and the pacing appropriately trip-hammer. Amy Yip teases by never baring all, but there's plenty of bare flesh on display to compensate the fact, Kamimura goes the whole nine yards by exposing too much naked flesh. There's even some crazy, cheesy gore (as well as a triple-headed monster) in there once the film begins to betray its horror roots. All in all, something for everyone, most notably the flesh fiends amongst you. :)

The disc? Well, people can bitch and moan all they like about Universe's disc, but until Hong Kong Legends release their 16:9 enhanced edition sometime in 2002, this is about the best you will be able to see "Erotic Ghost Story". The image is relatively well defined (I would pinpoint one scene, but would probably get slapped for doing so), fairly rich in colour, and mostly free of the nastier elements of Hong Kong discs. That said, the print used is fairly rife with damage, and there are enough speckles, scratches and other sundry film artefacts to give the anally retentive heart palpitations. But overall, it's a nice, if not marginally flawed, presentation of a decade old soft-porn icon. Audio is plain boring old mono, and extras are limited to a Star File on Amy Yip and a fistful of trailers. All the same, it is completely uncut, and as cheap as chips through most Asian online retailers (I picked mine up for $40HK, which is really pocket change!)

One of the best of the early nineties soft-core epics, "Erotic Ghost Story" is a disc well worth seeking out, and well worth joining the luminous heights of that "Sex & Zen" disc that you should have bought by now. At the price you'll find it for around the traps, if you're a fan of Category III cinema you simply can't live without it. It even features zippy optical effects and hokey kung fu, what other recommendations could you need?

Review by M.C.Thomason

Released by Universe Laser & Video
Category III - Region 0
Running time - 85m (PAL speed)
Ratio - Widescreen 1.85
Audio - Dolby 1.0 (Cantonese & Mandarin)
Extras :
Star files; Trailer; Attractions trailers