Tuesday, 29 January 2019

THE ENCHANTING GHOST (Hong Kong 1970) dir: Chou Hsu-Chiang

Original HK poster (from HKMDB)
I've just watched the Shaw Brothers horror film THE ENCHANTING GHOST from 1970. Today's Netflix audiences would probably moan and feel faint due to the lack of gore, torture, jump scares and special effects - but I loved it.
 
It's a Chinese costume drama about a young male scholar (played by Yang Li-Hua, incidentally a lovely young woman) who loses her home due to her wicked uncle and thus has to move into an abandoned, haunted ruin outside of town. The setting is very much like that of A CHINESE GHOST STORY (1987). 

The young scholar discovers that a young, beautiful woman (Chang Mei-Yao) has already moved into the haunted house with her dying mother. The scenes in and around the house all look to be made on a stage and they're very colourful. I love the fact that you can see it's a stage. I love the colours and the crisp dialogue. I love the Chinese music in the film and the superb acting. Was I scared? No, not at all. But then again what does scare a seasoned horror fan?

Celestial put out the film a decade ago but for some reason they decided to only include it in their video-cd line. However, it was later release on DVD by Zoke Culture over in mainland China. I've got both releases and they look wonderful. However, 88 Films in the UK have recently put out a spiffy blu-ray release of the film (which I haven't got).
HK video-cd (Celestial) Mandarin audio/English & Chinese subs

I tried to look up the film in my HK film books but none of them include the film. This - and the fact that I have never come across any other release in any format - makes me suspect Celestial's VCD is the very first home cinema release of the film. 

Before watching the THE ENCHANTING GHOST and before writing this review I hadn't read one single review of the film. I have absolutely no idea of what other fans or reviewers think about it. But then again, I couldn't care less. I loved the film and I highly recommend it to fans of world-weird cinema/horror and open minded film-goers in general.

Mainland China DVD (Zoke) Mandarin audio/English & Chinese subs

UK DVD & blu-ray (88 Films) Mandarin/English subs

THE ENCHANTING GHOST on HKMDB:


TRAILER:
 



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