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Master Lang (Yang Li Hua) is evicted from his home thanks to his own
uncle master Shi (Lei Ming), who claims Lang's late father owes him. With
no roof over his head, but not needing much as he's a scholar, Lang movies
into a decaying mansion that's supposed to be haunted - where he thinks he
sees a ghost, unti he finds out it's actually lovely Ruyu (Chang Mei-Yao),
who had to flee with her mother (Sha Li-Wen) from her former home, but had
to find shelter in the "haunted" mansion since her mother's on
the edge of dying ... and really, she dies within minutes. Selflessly,
Lang helps Ruyu to bury her, and comforts her over mum's grave as well -
and it's no wonder they soon fall in love and become husband and wife.
in the village, where Lang once lived and was liked, the villagers wonder
what became of him and think he has fallen for a ghost - until they meet
Master Shi learns about Ruyu eventually and wants to make her his
- and to this end he first lures Lang out of the mansion, then has a
messenger sent to Ruyu that he has fallen sick ... and all of a sudden she
finds herself in Shi's bedroom, where he drugs and rapes her. Shi's wife
(Li Hung) and concubine (Li Chi-Lun) don't like the (involuntary)
competition one bit, so they administer her a slow-working poison, then
lead her out in the woods to leave her to die. Ruyu's a fighter though,
and she clings to life as long as she can - but then realizes she just
can't face Lang no more after being defiled and drowns herself - to soon
enough come back as a ghost and kill Shi, his wife, his concubine and all
his helpers in imaginative ways. Then she bids Lang a final
farewell, leaving him heartbroken.
The major thing to mention
about The Enchanting Ghost of course is that its male lead Master
Lang is played by a woman - which is quite disorienting at first, because
Yang Li Hua is quite a beauty and looks and talks in a very feminine way,
naturally, and there's no narrative necessity for having him played by a
woman - but then again, Yang Li Hua does do her job well enough to make
one forget about this casting oddity at least most of the time. Other than
that, the film is a competently shot morality tale that takes full
advantage of the Shaw Brothers' very own sets and costumes (most
you will recognize from other movies of the era, but that's part of the
charm of these films), but it lacks a bit in originality - in fact, the
plot is almost disappointingly predictable.
That's not to say this is a
bad movie, just a run-of-the-mill melodrama, this one with horror
undercurrents, that doesn't exactly waste your time in an unpleasant way
... but in a day or two you might have forgotten about it all the same.