HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
12 Hour Shift
Filmmaker's House, The
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
   
 
  Demoness from 1000 Years Fame or Evil?
Year: 1990
Director: Cheng Wing-Chiu
Stars: Joey Wong, Jacky Cheung, Gloria Yip, Meg Lam, Andy Hui, Tiffany Lau Yuk-Ting, Si-Ma Yin, Hsiao Ho, Ku Feng, Law Ching-Ho
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sticklers for good grammar will note that title really ought to read as Demoness from a 1000 Years Ago, but this Hong Kong fantasy upholds a noble tradition of English-mangling monikers along with such examples as Magic of Spell (1988) and Deadful Melody (1994). We begin in ancient China where garbled narration informs us: “the pursuit of fame led men to lose their honesty in pursuit of evil.” So which is it they’re pursuing, then: fame or evil? In this instance Evil happens to have a physical incarnation (Meg Lam, former star of sexploitationer Bald-Headed Betty (1975) and future Hong Kong news anchor!) glimpsed in the midst of a cel animated effects duel with a wise Taoist master (Ku Feng). Before expiring, the old master entrusts this film’s mystical Macguffin, the Bead of Hell, to beautiful fairy sisters Yun Yuk Yi (Joey Wong) and Siu Yi (Gloria Yip, for once not playing a child but someone her own age). With Evil hot on her heels, Yun Yuk Yi flies into the future in the hope of finding this film’s other mystical Macguffin, the Heaven’s Sun Bead, which when united with the Bead of Hell will spend the end of the demoness.

One thousand years later, playboy cop Mambo (Jacky Cheung) - sadly, his surname isn’t Italiano - is in a stand-off with triad thugs when a gale force wind heralds the arrival of the good fairy and dubious demoness in modern times. Both ladies head straight for the nearest boutique. Hey, the fate of the world might be up for grabs, but good or evil a lady’s got to keep up with the latest trends. A quick-change later, Evil goes underground to prey on hapless single men alone on the streets after dark, while Yun Yuk Yi catches up with Mambo. Our hero can’t believe his luck when this hot babe invites herself into his apartment, but Yun Yuk Yi is actually intrigued by the mark on Mambo’s arm that seems to ward off Evil. Unfortunately, Mambo’s partner (Andy Hui) fancies himself an amateur Taoist. When he informs his master (Hsiao Ho) about Mambo’s magical girlfriend, the pair reach the wrong conclusion and perform an exorcism on the wrong woman.

Although Joey Wong eventually got to show her acting range with choice roles in My Heart Is That Eternal Rose (1989) and Green Snake (1993) she spent the greater part of her career typecast as a lovelorn lady ghost in line with her iconic role in A Chinese Ghost Story (1987). By the early Nineties, the avalanche of ACGS rip-offs veered into self-parody. It seems every cult film subgenre follows the same cycle, going from innovative original to shameless imitation, cross-pollination with another genre, then eventually self-parody. Movies like this along with the equally substandard Kung Fu vs. Acrobatic (1991) were the Chinese Ghost story equivalent of Hammer’s Dracula A.D. 1972, bringing classical archetypes into a contemporary setting for the sake of cheap gimmickry and even cheaper laughs.

Reunited with Cantopop idol Jacky Cheung, her co-star in the infinitely superior A Chinese Ghost Story II (1990), Joey Wong is more animated here than she would be in Kung Fu vs. Acrobatic, evidently enjoying the chance to play comedy though the humour rarely rises above mildly amusing. After a strong start, the film gets bogged down in sappy romantic montages scored by Jacky’s treacly ballads as he and Joey cavort around HK’s picturesque tourists spots and shopping malls, acting cute. Rather too much screen time is also allotted to the would-be comic antics of Mambo’s wacky police colleagues, including flirty Yin (Tiffany Lau Tuk-Ying) who harbours a hopeless crush on him. It is strange the film goes down this route given the spectacular cinematography and eye-catching optical effects ensure the few fantasy sequences are actually quite exciting. The sight of Joey Wong flying across a modern HK skyline carries a genuine frisson. Director Cheng Wing-Chiu, whose only other films include gangster thriller The Roar of the Vietnamese (1991) and the self-explanatory The Mystery of the Big Boobs (1993), seemingly gives up on the threadbare fantasy plotline and dwells on the comedy and romance to the point where all but the most ardent HK fantasy fans will have given up. Those who persevere may well relish the plot’s completely out-of-leftfield lurch into outright horror as the demoness literally rips through the entire cast before Gloria Yip rejoins the action for one final mystical cat-fight. Given how innocuous the film has been up to this point, the ambiguous coda proves quite intriguing. Joey Wong and Jacky Cheung re-teamed yet again for the no-less-derivative but more rewarding, A Chinese Legend (1992).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1820 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
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: