Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hong Kong Ghost Stories (2011)

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


Anonymous said...

Sorry to be off topic but I saw one of your facebook posts saying that "animation is a dying art form". I can somewhat agree in terms of film and television, but in terms of internet animation, there are many counterexamples:


Stephen Worth said...

If I said animation was dying, I misspoke. I meant cartooning is dying. The art of satirical exaggerated drawing is being squashed. I'm not sure why, but if you look at the venues for being a cartoonist in the 20th century compared to today, you'll see why it's so hard to make a living as a cartoonist. Animation is doing fine, but draftsmanship has taken a huge hit and caricature is being systematically replaced by hyper realism. The cartooning roots are being progressively squeezed out to make animation more of a visual effect than the illusion of life. I'd love to see cartoonists take back their art form, move it forward, and not look to big companies to tell them what to make, but that would take a lot of hard work and sacrifice to build the business back up again.

Hope that makes it clearer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making it clearer.

What did you think of the links I sent you?