Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Hong Kong Ghost Stories (2011)
It's been a while since Hong Kong horror has been a mainstream genre in Chinese film making, but that seems to be changing. This film is a pair of unrelated ghost stories bridged by linking material... Kind of like the old Hammer and Amacus "trilogy" films. I've always liked this format because it compacts the interest and scares because of the shorter amount of time. It works really well within the Hong Kong school of horror.
The first story involves a young teacher taking on a job at a school and facing an unruly class of students. Slowly she begins to realize that the job wasn't exactly the one she was hired for. The ghostly elements aren't really anything new, but they are well done and when it involves a lot of pretty young actresses, who can complain? The second story is a lot more interesting, even though it starts out with over the top buffoonery. But pretty soon there are grisly murders and horrible retribution from the spirit world to make up for the silliness.
Image quality and sound are top notch. The surround content in particular is very good. Subtitles are mostly grammatically correct, but sometimes the dialogue goes so fast, it's hard to keep up.
The time gap between when movies like Mr Vampire were made and today is huge. Hong Kong in 1985 was a lot different than in 2011. It's interesting to see ghostly stuff inhabiting cell phones, and caricatured performances that resemble the Chinese equivalent of Valley Girls. The contrast between old ideas and new ones are stark, and it makes this a very interesting movie for Westerners. I'd recommend this one.
Link to order this blu-ray at YesAsia.com