Ning Tsai-Shen, a humble tax collector, arrives in a small town to carry out his work. No-one is willing to give him shelter for the night, so he ends up in the haunted Lan Ro temple. There, he meets Taoist Swordsman Yen Che-Hsia, and the beautiful Nieh Hsiao-Tsing, with whom he falls in love.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
Though its lost some of its visceral power over the years Ching Siu-Tung's 'A Chinese Ghost Story' still represents a solid entry in the genre and boasts strong production values especially in music and set design. For many of us this was one of the first films we discovered in our exposure to HK cinema in the late 80's and early 90's. This stands as both a nostalgic view and an essential part of HK cinema heritage.
Tsui Hark produces a supernatural love story for the ages, loaded with practical special effects and dizzying camera work reminiscent of Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead." Martial arts buffs won't likely be sated by the infrequent fight scenes, but "A Chinese Ghost Story" remains a landmark picture of its genre for embodying the relentless energy and creative filmmaking technique that defined Hong Kong cinema of the Eighties.
An utter beautiful and delirious film, folk legends blurring with the best of the 1980s aesthetic of Hong Kong cinema to create a standout of that era of the region’s film output. That it manages to feel like the Evil Dead 2 and then outdo it in its unadulterated energy is a cherry on top.
The most exhausting thing about this was its sheer cinematic energy. People fly, jump, and engage in situation comedy with little pause for breath, and whatever pauses that do occur are usually there to linger on Joey Wong's face.