HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
   
 
  All New Human Skin Lanterns Slip me some skinBuy this film here.
Year: 1993
Director: Andrew Lau
Stars: Tony Leung Ka Fai, Chingamy Yau, Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung, Roy Cheung, Kingdom Yuen King-Tan, Ronald Wong Ban, Dion Lam Dik On, Teresa Ha Ping, Joe Cheung Tung Ho, Lok Wai
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Romance, Fantasy
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: As the title suggests, this is a remake of the Shaw Brothers horror classic Human Skin Lanterns (1982) though it bears little resemblance to its source. Shifting the action away from the original period setting into the twentieth century, the plot concerns Tong Fai (Tony Leung Ka Fai) an uncouth street punk plagued with a seemingly endless run of bad luck. Acting as an informant on behalf of bullying police detective Kwong (Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung), Fai bumbles into the middle of a gang war between established triads and wealthy and powerful boss Hung (Roy Cheung), who is secretly skilled in black magic, but is rescued by a ghost maiden named Yung (Chingamy Yau). Driven to consult sagely medium Granny Four (Teresa Ha Ping), Fai relives his past life in 1963 when he was a lawyer working for none other than Boss Hung and in love with Yung, an aspiring actress bullied by bitchy opera diva Sister Wai (Lok Wai). Sister Wai’s psychotic jealousy coupled with Boss Hung’s own lascivious interest in Yung result in the lovers reaching a tragic end. Now to break his streak of bad luck and redeem Yung’s soul, Fai must retrieve the bones of his earlier incarnation and steal back the lantern made from his lover’s skin.

This was an early collaboration between cinematographer-turned-director Andrew Lau and schlock writer-producer-director Wong Jing who went on to redefine the Hong Kong blockbuster with Storm Riders (1998), A Man Called Hero (1999) and The Duel (2000), and is yet another vehicle tailored around Wong’s then-girlfriend, comely Category III starlet Chingamy Yau. All New Human Skin Lanterns - also known by the less cumbersome variant title: Ghost Lantern - opens unpromisingly with a surfeit of the usual gleefully lowbrow comedy for which Wong Jing is famed. However, those who bear through the avalanche of vomit, piss and knob gags that comprise the first ten minutes, will be rewarded with a surprisingly engaging and poetic supernatural love story.

Rather than mount a straight remake, Wong has the grisly skin-stripping premise serve as a bridge between one plot styled after a contemporary triad crime thriller and flashbacks paying tribute to the classic Cantonese love stories of the Sixties. It is possibly Wong’s involvement with Chingamy Yau influenced the atypically sensitive and affecting tone of the flashbacks, although the film also packs a few solid jolts when it shifts into horror. Notably an unexpected moment where one character morphs into a fright-wigged, crimson-clad ghost. Andrew Lau’s restlessly inventive and often beautiful camerawork shifts from blue tinted present into lustrous gold for the flashback scenes and brings a lot of energy to Wong’s admittedly cluttered script.

In a typically tasteless Wong Jing twist, Fai discovers the gravesite of his former incarnation is now located beneath a disgusting public toilet behind a notorious gambling den. Having Yung inhabit Kwong’s body so that the star-crossed lovers can enjoy a slow dance together, allows for all manner of cross-gender gags reminiscent of All of Me (1984) while the finale is best surmised as John Woo re-imagining the climax of A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) by way of The Terminator (1984) in a police station besieged by triads. If that makes any sense. It is a testament to the charismatic performances of Tony Leung Ka Fai and Chingamy Yau that the film remains so watchable despite these jarring shifts in tone. Still, Wong’s hand is evident in an endearingly surreal gag wherein Fai’s right hand man (Dion Lam Dik On, also the film’s action choreographer) rides to his rescue along with gun-toting members of the Dutch football team. Only in a Wong Jing movie.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2033 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Andrew Lau  (1960 - )

Hong Kong director and cinematographer responsible for some of the biggest hits in recent HK cinema. Born Wai Keung Lau, he photographed classics such as City on Fire, Curry and Pepper and Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express. As a director, Lau brought a flashy, commercial style to films like Naked Killer 2, Modern Romance and To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui, all produced by the prolific Wong Jing.

In 1996 Lau directed the hugely successful gang movie Young and Dangerous, which he followed up with four sequels and a prequel. His other notable films include the effects-laden fantasy epics Storm Riders, A Man Called Hero and The Duel, as well as co-directing the hit cop thriller Infernal Affairs and its two sequels. Not to be confused with actor Andy Lau.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: