HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Ghostly Village Criminal Commune
Year: 1982
Director: Chu Yuan
Stars: Ti Lung, Dang Wai-Ho, Goo Goon-Chung, Lo Lieh, Choh Seung-Wan, Tai Liang-Chun, Ku Feng, Lau Siu-Gwan, Eric Chan Ga-Kei, Yuen Tak, Cheng Miu, Kwan Fung, Yeung Chi-Hing, Yuen Bun, Yueng Hung, Alan Chan Kwok-Kuen
Genre: Horror, Martial Arts, Weirdo, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ghostly Village is a secret hiding place for criminals across ancient China. Anyone with a price on their head is welcome, provided they pay the fee and abide by the strict rules set by masked mastermind, Old Hawk. However, the 8th Prince (Cheng Miu) comes to suspect the inhabitants are plotting to usurp his throne. So he enlists the aid of dashing detective and martial arts master, Chu Liu-Hsiang (Ti Lung). In a shock twist, Chu seemingly stabs the prince in bed, only to discover him alive and well at another palace the next day. With Chu on the run for his assassination attempt, the prince’s most trusted aides: Teacher Long Wu (Dang Wai-Ho) and Master Lan Meng (Kwan Fung) despatch their three most fearsome fighters to bring him to justice. But these men are swiftly slain by Liu Changjie (Goo Goon-Chung), a mysterious swordsman in black who claims the bounty on Chu’s head.

Meanwhile Chu meets an old rogue named Dugu Mei (Yeung Chi-Hing), who leads him to the Ghostly Village high atop a mist-shrouded mountain bathed in the golden sun. As per the rules, all guests keep their identities secret, but Chu gradually gets to know some of the more eccentric inhabitants: seductive femme fatale “The General” (Choh Seung-Wan), zany gambling addict Fourth Light Xuanyuan (Lo Lieh, well into the wacky comedy relief phase of his prolific career), camp homosexual “Cousin” (Lau Siu-Gwan), and Zhong Ling (Tai Liang-Chun), a waif-like beauty who was born in Ghostly Village and claims to be Old Hawk’s daughter. In classic Gu Long mystery tradition, no-one is what they seem. Stranger still, the village is haunted by a real ghost spying on all their activities. It seems the tables have been turned on the intrepid Chu when Liu Changjie surfaces as his next-door neighour and Old Hawk announces he will play an integral part in their planned assassination of the 8th Prince.

Strangely this Chu Yuan wu xia fantasy was originally titled: Perils of the Sentimental Swordsman even though it is not a follow-up to his previous hits The Sentimental Swordsman (1977) and Return of the Sentimental Swordsman (1981) but actually the third instalment in yet another franchise starring Ti Lung, preceded by Clans of Intrigue (1977) and Legend of the Bat (1978). Quite why Shaw Brothers chose to market this as a bogus entry in an unrelated series is something of a mystery given the Chu Liu-Hsiang movies were every bit as popular and the third film features several subplots explicitly referencing the last two. Then again, by this stage Chu Yuan was making so many swordplay fantasies with Ti Lung, it is little wonder the marketing department got confused.

Ghostly Village exhibits all the usual Chu Yuan traits: quirky characters, literate dialogue, cool death-dealing gadgets, insane plot twists and amazing sets drenched in gorgeous candy-coloured lighting reminiscent of Italian horror maestro Mario Bava. Much like Bava, Chu Yuan has a reoccurring preoccupation with the deceptive nature of surface appearances that climaxes when Old Hawk unveils an army of identical doubles and the heroes have to figure out which of them is real. Unlike Bava, Yuan has a more benevolent view of human nature. Villains are as likely to turn out to be allies as vice-versa. Sadly, the director’s trademark strong female characters are more superfluous than usual. Former beauty queen, nightclub singer and model Choh Seung-Wan makes an impression and shares an amusing comic scene playing strip poker with Lo Lieh, but is otherwise ill-used. Lieh directed her in the ropey horror film Black Magic with Buddha (1983), after which she retired from the industry. Taiwanese actress Tai Liang-Chun retired around the same time. Hong Kong starlets rarely continue acting past their twenties. She made eight films during her two-year stint at Shaw Brothers, but remains better known for her affair and short-lived marriage to studio superstar Liu Yung on the set of Passing Flickers (1982), an amusing comedy set behind the scenes at Shaw’s.

While admittedly convoluted (name me one Chu Yuan film that isn’t), the crafty plot keeps viewers on their toes while the frantic action and striking visuals maintain the high standard set by his past productions. Even after the wrap-up there are still a few surprises for Chu to unravel, which leads to a fantastically surreal bout of hide and seek where one character wearing a strap-on fake wall! One slight letdown is master detective Chu seemingly relies less on his keen deductive reasoning and simply waits while the ranting villains spell everything out.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2693 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: