it comes to name calling, among the Chinese a common name ascribed
to a man's mistress is the "fox demoness" (wu li jing). The
fox or vixen "fairy" has also been used though "fairy" seems to
have a positive connotation and it is such demonesses that take
centrestage in Li Han-hsiang's The Ghost Story (1978).
ASIAN VALUES VCD REVIEW
decided to title the film The Ghost Story must have done so as
a last resort as the Chinese title better reflected the movie.
Literally, the film is called Ghost Calls For Spring. Loosely
translated, this means Ghost In Search Of A Mate. Just as the
modern-day zombies (courtesy of George Romero) required human
parts for sustenance (a wild concept since when did dead things
need food?), olden days' demonesses required, presumably, the
living person's energy (chi) to continue existing. Since
this is a Shaw erotic movie, the demonesses use sex to drain their
victims off their precious energy, not to mention bodily fluids.
in many Li Han-hsiang erotic movies, The Ghost Story contains
two separate segments. In the first, Yueh Hua stars as an army
general who leads his men into town for some rest and recreation.
They chance upon an inn run by vivacious Hu Chin who is aided
by Shirley Yu.
women are not aversed to removing their clothes while working
in the kitchen where they put magical herbs into their cakes.
Any soldier who partakes of the cakes and then have sex with the
women (which they freely give) will turn into an ox which the
women, who are actually demons, sell in the market.
the second segment, scholar Yueh Hua is studying for the imperial
exams. While he lives alone, away from a doting wife (Chiao Chiao),
he is not immuned to the charms of a demoness in the form of Hu
Chin. Discovering that her husband is under a spell, Chiao Chiao
seeks the help of a Taoist priest who puts her through a nauseating
trial - she has to eat some food he had just spit out - to test
her sincerity. The second story also features action star Kara
Hui Ying Hung (My Young Auntie) in a supporting role while Li
Kun provides comedy relief as a petty magician who drugs young
girls before raping them and who tries to take on Hu Chin.
director Li Han-hsiang is noted for his classical epics, here
he puts his eye for framing - and the widescreen format - to good
use. The first segment, for example, features picturesque scenes
of a fornicating couple in a kitchen that is dominated by a large
miller's wheel, with the animal stable next to the kitchen - a
sign of things to come.
might have lofty ideas such as reincarnation and how one's life
affects one's karma and vice versa but it is the indiscreet charms
of the Shaw starlets that viewers go for.
Hu Chin has appeared in many of Shaw's erotic movies, this is
one where she is truly a star, where she stands bare chested among
the best of them. While Shirley Yu, who is no less willing to
disrobe, comes across as kind of goofy, this seems more in keeping
with her onscreen character.
Ghost Story may not rate high among Li Han-hsiang's movies but
it certainly is far more entertaining than many other movies of
such ilk. While this is no Postman Often Rings Twice, still, when
was the last time you saw couples having sex in a Chinese kitchen,
one after another?
The Ghost Story DVD (IVL/Celestial) is banned in $ingapore.