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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.
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.