This popular and beloved film, produced by Tsui Hark and directed by Ching Siu Tung, is a standout in the Hong Kong supernatural-action genre and spawned many sequels and copycats. A Chinese Ghost Story stars Leslie Cheun... more »g as Ning Tsei-Shen, a timid and likable tax collector. Looking for a place to stay the night, he comes upon a spooky abandoned temple occupied by a tough Taoist swordsman (Ma Wu). Despite his warnings, Tsei-Shen stays anyway. Later he encounters a beautiful maiden (Joey Wang) who he quickly falls in love with. Unfortunately, she is a ghost who is being forced to trap men for an evil spirit who feeds on their souls. A Chinese Ghost Story has been widely praised for infusing the genre with humor, action, romance, and inventive special effects. Memorable images include an attacking mile-long tongue and a cloak opening to dozens of ghastly decapitated heads. The final battle in hell is said to have inspired scenes in Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness. And the film has its share of homage: A group of crusty zombies are reminiscent of the skeletons in special-effects guru Ray Harryhausen's 7th Voyage of Sinbad--and they are eliminated by Tsei-Shen in comedic slapstick fashion, not unlike the style of Charlie Chaplin. Cheung and Wang are a likeable romantic pair, and Ma Wu creates a hilarious character who breaks out into song and a martial arts dance when drunk. The DVD transfer is topnotch, with the film's misty mood lighting and fluttering gowns appearing layered and crisp. It's a must-see for Hong Kong action film fans. --Shannon Gee« less
"Movie Summary: A young tax collector named Tsei-Shen is forced to stay in the old almost abandoned Lan Ro temple while making his rounds. There he meets a Taoist monk/master swordsman/ghost buster who is the only other human staying at the temple. He also meets a very beautiful young woman, Nieh Hsiao-Tsing, whom he falls in love with. Although she resists at first, the woman falls in love with Tsei-Shen as well. This complicates things because she is a ghost and has been ordered to delete Tsei-Shen and take his soul.My Opinion: At first I had a hard time with the poor English subtitles and strange story. But then I was pulled into the love story and began to understand what was going on. Some of the small things that happen in the beginning are a bit confusing but I think this is mostly due to the cultural differences and poor subtitles. I ended up liking the movie very much. It has horror, action, and romance all very well mixed up into an entertaining package. The special effects are quite good. The plot is very filled out as well. The Taoist monk is a very cool character and you can?t help but fall in love with the maiden ghost Nieh Hsiao-Tsing.DVD Quality: Non anamorphic, no English language sound track, poor English subtitlesWhat You Should Do: Rent it. Don?t buy this edition, wait for a new version that has an anamorphic transfer. This movie is what I would consider a fairly hard core Hong Kong film. You need to be into this type of film to enjoy it. If you are into this genre you should definitely see it and also check out The Bride With The White Hair."
One of the best visual spectacles in the flicks!
Scott Bright | 09/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie almost seven years ago at an arthouse theater in Greenwich Village.Since then I have seen it three additional times and I can't wait to buy the video! It was then and remains now one of the most visually stunning and beautiful films I have ever seen (import or domestic!). Not to mention the action, the humor, the romance, and the mile long tongue! Do yourself a favor and BUY THIS MOVIE!!It is a thing of beauty and will last a lifetime."
Good story, fun effects
Scott Bright | 12/28/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chinese Ghost Story, as often happens, spawned a number of successors, including an erotic spin-off series. Leslie Cheung plays a hapless, clueless tax collector who falls in love with the ghost who intends to make him her victim. Unlike the American Ghost Story with Alice Kriege and Craig Wasson, this ghost, played by Joey Wang, falls in love with her intended victim and asks him to find her ashes and move them to a place where she can be reincarnated. Cheung tries his best, but other ghosts want to keep her from succeeding. Wang, like Kriege, is absolutely gorgeous. Kriege, however, can act. On the other hand, Cheung really does a great job with his part. The story and many of the visual effects are stunning, but some of the corpse effects are more gross than frightening. What makes this movie scary is the storyline, not the effects, and it does have some scary moments. The screenplay is wonderful, so far as I can tell. As often happens with Hong Kong movies, the subtitles do a lot to undermine a good screenplay. Some of them are simply awful."
Scott Bright | 08/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps one of the best oriental movies I have ever seen. Some may say that the film is lacking in a few areas, but the plot combined with director's magic touch blew me away. After seeing the movie I could not give it anything less than a full rating. The atmospere of the film is unique, at times sad, exciting and romantic, with the rare comical undertone throughtout the movie. The special effects might not be as good as the current modern hollywood superhit movie standard, but unlike most new movies which use special effects just to blantly impress the viewer and fill space, the effects of this movie enhance and complement the atmospere and the plot perfectly. A trully moving film."
Classic example of another branch of Hong Kong Cinema
Scott Bright | 06/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Derived from Chinese legends and folklore, it's something different from modern Hong Kong action movies about gangsters and guns. Intense action is mixed with moments of whimsical humor and romance. Expect to see a lot of flowing robes and ghosts (yeah!) flying through the air. Very entertaining. Just goes to show that falling in love and fighting for your woman is a timeless theme in any culture. Leslie Cheung is fantastic - he's a bumbling naif who transforms into a stud at all the right moments, and Joey Wong is a genuine babe who's beautiful enough to go to hell and back for."