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A Chinese Ghost Story

Hong Kong 1987
produced by
Tsui Hark, Claudie Chung Chun, Zheng Zhong (executive) for Cinema City, Film Workshop
directed by Ching Siu-Tung
starring Joey Wong (= Wang Tsu-Hsien), Leslie Cheung, Wu Ma, Lau Siu-Ming, Elvis Tsui, Lam Wai, Xue Zhilun, Hu Dawei, Jiang Jin
screenplay by Yun Kai-Chi, based on a novel by Pu Songling, music by James Wong, Romeo Díaz

Chinese Ghost Story

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Money collector Ling (Leslie Cheung) has run out of luck & money, & thus can't afford accomodations for the night. The only placewhere he can stay is an abandoned & creepy temple which is haunted by beautiful ghost Xiu Hsing (Joey Wong), who usually lures travellers into some steamy sex & so making them an easy victim for her master/mother, the tree-demon Grande Dame (Lau Siu-Ming, in real life a male ballett dancer). 

Initially she tries to do the same with Ling, but luckily for him, she soon falls in love with him. He, not knowing that she is a ghost, pays her back saving his life by saving her from Taoist priest & swordsman Yang (Wu Ma), whose sole purpose it is to kill all ghosts - though he finds himself belonging more & more to their world instead of the mortals' world. & after he has convinced Ling that Xiu Hsing is actually a ghost, he can persuade him to act as bait for him to get close enough to kill her. But Yang hasn't accounted for the Grande Dame, her master/mother, who soon enough attacks them with her gigantic tongue & can only eventually been beaten with Xiu Hsing's help. Deeply moved by the ghost's selfless act, Yang agrees to help Ling in saving the girl/ghost from her ugly fate (she is supposed to marry the Lord of Black Mountain, a very powerful demon) by burying her ashes in her native soil, thus enabling her to be reborn. 

But before they can accomplich that, Xiu Hsing is sucked away to the netherworld, & Yang & Ling have to follow to fight the infamous Lord of Black Mountain ... 

Of course, they beat him in the end, but in order to have Xiu Hsing reborn they still have to bury her, ending her existence as a ghost, & leaving Ling behind heartbroken.


A justified classic of the horror-fantasy-martial-arts-comedy (a blend that is not all that unusual in Hong Kong as it sounds), directed very stylishly, with bits of fairy-tale-kitsch thrown in quite deliberately, & at the same time with great emphasis on action & effects, elevating this far above the rather clichéd man-ghost-lovestory it is actually telling. Good actors in the lead roles, playing fleshed-out charaters further help to make this one entertaining movie. 


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD