Film Review: Spooky Encounters (1980) by Sammo Hung

This entertaining kung-fu motion comedy was launched as Spooky Encounters in america however it is usually referred to as Shut Encounters of the Spooky Variety (however the orginal title is Gui da Gui, which suggests Ghost Fights Ghost).

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Daring Cheung (Sammo Hung) is a pedicab driver. He is an efficient fighter and a courageous man, however not significantly vibrant and infrequently bamboozled by his friends. We see him at first of the movie, exhibiting off his bravery and the way his associates trick him right into a spooky prank. Nevertheless, whereas he fools round, his spouse and his boss Grasp Tam (Huang Ha) are having an affair behind his again and when Grasp Tam feels susceptible to being found, he decides to eliminate Daring Cheung without delay! To take action, he hires a grasp of witchcraft to assist him. Taoist priest and necromancer Chin Hoi (Peter Chan Lung) goes to manage corpses on distant with all types of sorcery and magic, and ship them to kill Cheung.

Cheung spends an evening in a temple with a hopping corpse / vampire and barely manages to flee alive, however different magic tips are ready for him and, on prime of all that, he has been framed for the homicide of his disappeared spouse and is chased by the police. Enter Tsui (Chung Fats), one other Taoist priest who gives Cheung some assist as he strongly disagrees with Chin Hoi utilizing their Taoist abilities for evil functions. As in each good martial arts story, Cheung will be taught from the Sifu learn how to struggle in opposition to Chin Hoi black magic, and it will likely be prepared to move to the ultimate duel.

The primary motive to like this charming movie is its distinctive mixture of slapstick comedy, mad motion, good martial arts and wonderful stunt-work with the addition of horror and supernatural. It additionally has two extraordinarily likeable parts, one is Sammo Hung, after all, and the opposite is the ‘Jiangshi’ or hopping vampires. With all its imperfections, “Spooky Encounters” was one of many first jiangshi movies and it went on to open the way in which for a lot of future titles and impressed an entire new sub-genre of Hong Kong cinema. Few years later, in 1985, we can have the traditional “Mr. Vampire“, adopted by all its quite a few sequels and movies like “The Useless and the Lethal“, “Vampire vs. Vampire“ and in addition more moderen revamps (no pun meant), like “Rigor Mortis“ and “Vampire Cleanup Division“.

We are able to see in “Spooky Encounters” the seeds of the long run success of “Mr.Vampire”. Lam Ching-Ying the champion-to-be of vampire-busting, seems right here as a foolish police inspector on Cheung’s path. Nevertheless, Sammo Hung totally owns the success of “Spooky Encounters”; he wrote it, directed it, and starred in it, doing an astounding bodily work. In Hung’s movies, motion “IS” the comedy; the stunts observe the mode of slapstick comedy, however they provide, on the similar time, some hysterical and breathtaking bodily performances. Loads of examples right here; there’s a scene the place Cheung sleeps close to a rotting useless physique and the corpse begins to animate and mirror his actions, like in a dance. Then Cheung grabs a brick and hit his personal head hoping the opposite will mirror him, however the corpse grabs the brick and hit Cheung’s head.

On the martial arts facet, there are some glorious fights, one with a Jiangshi combating robotic-style (an unrecognizable Yuen Biao), then a really humorous piece of bravura when Chin Hoi, with a woodoo-style curse, possesses Cheung’s proper arm. The limb begins performing by itself gadgets and provokes a struggle with a gaggle of policemen, due to this fact Cheung finally ends up combating on the similar time with the group and in opposition to his personal arm. And at last, the wonderful last showdown, set on two completely different ranges (and altitude!). On one, the monks struggle one another with witchcraft and magic, whereas on the opposite Cheung confronts Chin Hoi’s apprentice first, and Grasp Tam later, all of them possessed by completely different Taoist entities, utilizing quite a lot of weapons and kinds. Right here Sammo performes amazingly as possessed by The Monkey God (Wukong), combating monkey-style whereas performing and screeching as a foolish monkey and hanging from the scaffolding. Some Taoist references would possibly show obscure for non-Chinese language public, particularly on this last act, however the mixture of comedy, martial arts and wacky sorcery makes it very pleasing additionally for much less knowledgeable audiences.

There may be not a lot digicam motion and no frantic enhancing like in fashionable motion motion pictures. Quite the opposite, the digicam indulges on the fights capturing actions and reactions in the identical body, letting the viewers really feel the blows, and the pure rhythm of the choreography. The plot is undoubtedly relatively easy, extra a sequence of entertaining set-pieces that operate as a car for Hung’s imaginative choreographies and his extraordinary athleticism.

Sammo Hung’s physicality, his vitality, sense of humour and charisma actually are particular, they usually discover a excellent show within the trailblazing kung-fu action-comedy-horror “Spooky Encounters”.



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