Erotic Ghost Story III (1991)

Directed by Ivan Lai Kai Ming

Produced by Chow Chun Tung

Starring Pauline Chan Bo Lin, Cheung King Fa, Noelle Chik King Man, Shing Fui On, Rena Otomo, William Ho Kar Kui, Wong Tak Bun, Aki Tanzawa

Erotic Ghost Story III

Having run the course of the Wu Tung legend over the first two films, Diagonal Pictures and journeyman director Ivan Lai took the series off in a different direction for the third film in the trilogy. Although hampered by a lower budget than the first two films, Lai's addition to the mythos more than makes up in outrageous invention what it lacks in fiscal grounding. As an added bonus, EGS3 benefits phenomenally from the presence of the stunning (and then sweet seventeen) Pauline Chan. What could have been a disaster, turns out quite a pleasant surprise.

Chu Chung (Cheung), a scholar, and Su-Su (Chik), his fiancée, are travelers through Ching Dynasty China. An altercation at a roadside tavern with swag of sleazy bandits sees them sidetracked off the beaten path through uncharted terrain into a (rumoured) haunted part of the countryside. Happening across a tumbledown monastery, they chance a meeting with the Reverend Wick (Shing), albeit the size of a thumb. Reconstituting himself, Wick bunks down with Chu and Su-su for the night. In his wanderings, Chu discovers an aging portrait of three fairies in the ruins, that seemingly winks to him from beyond. Don't know about you, but even if a portrait (that did look like Ms. Chan) came to life, I'd be high tailing it out of there!

Captivated by the portrait (actually a portal to Hell), Chu calls on the conjuring skills of Wick to supplant him through the looking glass for a night of pleasure with the glorious Yan Yi Meng (Chan). Begrudgingly, Wick accepts under the proviso Chu returns within 24 hours. However, once he has bedded his silken beauty (prompting a line almost as classic as "Saturday Night Fever's" "what was your name again?"), Chu becomes ensnared in a plot by the Queen of Hell (Otomo) to break free of her parchment prison to enslave the mortal world. Ah, the price of a one night stand these days…

Lai takes us off into new territory in the third installment of the trilogy, still offering three fairies (the Chinese equivalent of ghostly spirits), but substituting the demon Wu Tung with an altogether more devilish successor in Otomo's demoness. As a quick aside, "Hell" in Chinese culture is not the Hell of Western culture, more a nameless limbo-like purgatory where spirits reside awaiting their chance to reincarnate so that they may ascend to Heaven. Lai does however layer his cinematic Hell with Western imagery, replete with heady orgies, imprisoned souls, whippings, and rival deities served up for cannibalistic feasts. He also trowels on the soft-core couplings to balance out his more exploitative elements, prerequisite they are luscious, soft-focus and lengthy. Although a far cry from the exquisite beauty of the second film, it is not without its merits (the prime of these being the striking Pauline Chan).

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you all that the final "official" film in the trilogy has received the worst transfer. The usually reliable Universe present "EGS3" in a less than pristine form most certainly NOT befitting of its flesh-laden wonders. The entire film is permeated by that bugbear of many Mei Ah transfers, the dreaded "cheesecloth grain effect", low level noise is painfully apparent throughout, and motion artifacts are present in abundance. Sigh. After the exceptional work they did on the second film in the series, I had actually expected better than what I got, which is just a mite disappointing. On the plus side, the audio is perfectly acceptable Dolby mono, many of the brightly lit sequences look fine, and (of course) this is an uncut print of the film. The uncensored angle is possibly the disc's major selling feature, as this is one film that has often surfaced in a variety of edited forms and under alternate titles ("Tales Of Eros" being one). I suppose it really boils down to asking myself "what did I expect for $40HK?" Quality of the standard of the second film would have been nice, but this disc will make do…for now.

If you can suffer through the completely average transfer that "Erotic Ghost Story 3" has been given by Universe (a step down from their usual high standards), then you will be rewarded with a worthwhile addition to the already legendary series. As much as I'd love to reveal one of the film's outlandish high points, with a shrunken Reverend Wick (think about it), I'd prefer to encourage those with an interest in Eastern erotica to give this one a go. You might just be pleasantly surprised… :)

(PS: Please avoid the fourth film, "Erotic Ghost Story - Perfect Match", as it is neither an official sequel, nor actually any good…)

Review by M.C.Thomason

Released by Universe Laser & Video
Category III - Region 0
Running time - 91m (PAL Speed)
Ratio - Widescreen 1.85
Audio - Dolby 1.0 (Cantonese & Mandarin)
Extras :
Star files; Trailer; Attractions trailers