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Heroes of the East

Film discussion and banter

    Seeding of a Ghost (1983: Yeung Kuen: Hong Kong)


    Posts : 401
    Join date : 2011-02-16
    Location : Modesto, CA

    Seeding of a Ghost (1983: Yeung Kuen: Hong Kong) Empty Seeding of a Ghost (1983: Yeung Kuen: Hong Kong)

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:23 pm

    I meant to get this in on Halloween, but I wanted to do a little more research on the film. Still in first/second draft mode. If anyone can help with the questions at the end I would be grateful as well. Brian, have you seen this? Cal has a review on this BTW Smile.


    I had to get at least one Shaw Brothers horror film watched for the month of October. I put this off for a few years (I have had the DVD since 2009) mainly because I thought it was going to be shockfest that outdid The Boxer’s Omen in gonzo-style horror. So for the 20th pick I thought a bizarre, scary, disgusting movie would fit the bill. Well it was not even close to The Boxer’s Omen which still holds a place deep in the suppressed subconscious of my cranium (actually it is more weird and gross than actually scary). In fact this has to be one of the most overstated and overhyped horror films of Hong Kong though this is not a horrible film.

    Chow (Phillip Ko: The Boxer’s Omen, Shaolin Intruders) interrupts black magic by inadvertently saving the life of a black magic priest who is being chased down by an angry mob. Because of this the priest says at best he will get very sick and at worst his whole family will die. Since this is a horror film we know which scenario is going to take place. A film with him just being sick would not be as fun. But it is especially hilarious that it seems that the angry mob gets off clean and that he picked up the priest far from where the incantation went awry. I am probably over-thinking this.

    Chow’s wife Irene has been cheating on him because of his lowly taxi driver job, taxi drivers are a deranged lot (ask Anthony Wong), and his hair (seriously one of the worst wigs I have seen, worse than a Sammo Hung haircut). She is enticed by playboy Anthony Fong Ming (Norman Chu Siu-Keung: Bastard Swordsman) who visits her job of dealing cards and showers her with money, gifts, better hair (to be fair to Phillip check out Norman’s perm in Hong Kong Godfather) and affection. One night those two adulterers have a fight and she gets out of the car and goes off by herself. Never good to be alone late at night when ruffians are about. She is confronted by two young hooligans who chase her down, one rapes her and ultimately she gets killed (why she runs into an abandoned house I do not know, why there would be an abandoned house in an abandoned area Hong Kong I also do not know).

    When Chow finds out she is dead, he is ultimately a suspect for about 15 seconds. Fong is another suspect and despondent Chow finds out about the affair. He gets bad ideas in his head and wants revenge at all costs for those involved and goes to the black magic priest (still dressed like a shirtless jungle native; I wonder if he goes to the store like that) to seek revenge. This requires that they dig out his wife’s corpse and he is warned that his monomaniacal revenge will likely result in his demise as well. The corpse is used quite effectively and it is creepy, the most scary aspect of the film. You can see it on the cover of the DVD and poster.

    Fans of horror could do worse by seeking this out. I do not think it is as unique/interesting/gratuitous as Black Magic or The Boxer’s Omen out of the Shaw Brothers horror oeuvre and I would suggest seeking those out first. This film overdoes the sleazy exploitation aspect of it, elongates the nudity and the film comes off more as a voyeuristic exercise especially in the beginning which starts to drag on. The slow motion topless running scene becomes almost absurd in its length and its use of the zoom lens. But you do get the benefit of a few fight scenes decently done involving Phillip Ko (still mad about the outcome with Norman Chu) who proves once again that you should not mess with taxi drivers or Phillip Ko. You also get a variety of gross out moments, Taoist priests, scares all done better in a variety of Hong Kong films. However, when the ghost is seeded there are plenty of horror elements, while keeping the exploitation element alive, especially towards the finale that will be of interest to viewers. There you get to witness a creature that seems inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing while a segment from the soundtrack from Alien is played.

    I have the R1 Image release and it has English and Spanish subtitles. It comes with the Mandarin mono dub only. The R3 IVL release comes with both the Cantonese and Mandarin dub. At the time of the Hong Kong audience would have heard the Cantonese soundtrack, but most of the transnational audience would have heard it in Mandarin. Since at the time post dubbing was the norm and multiple dialects were often used on set it does not matter as much to me. However, this is a controversial topic where some have to have the “preferred” dub. I personally would like a release from this time period to have both the Cantonese and Mandarin language, but I will take what I can get. There are plenty of the Image released Shaw Brothers trailers (not the original trailers) on this release, but no trailer for the movie.

    Several reviews call the creature a “plazawa” yet I currently cannot find anything on the topic. Is this a bastardization of a Cantonese word?
    Does this indeed have a music cue from Jason and the Argonauts? (mentioned in John Charles's Hong Kong Filmography)
    Several reviews/sites state this was to be a sequel to the Black Magic series. hkcinemagic states that the IVL disc says “Seeding Of A Ghost ran into censorship problems and was released separately from it's connection with the Shaw Brothers' Black Magic trilogy.” I cannot imagine this to be true since both of those films I found more disturbing than this one. Of course it also states: “It's one of Hong Kong goriest films ever made.” which is not even remotely true.
    Some of the reviews state that this was a cat III film even though the category system was not created at the time.

    Asia Shock
    Beyond Hollywood
    HKCinemagic HKMDB Reviews
    Horror Movie A Day

    Hong Kong Filmography by John Charles
    Video Hound's Dragon: Asian Action & Cult Flicks by Brian Thomas
    NOTE: I have a few other books where the film is mentioned by I was not able to glean much from them.

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