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Erotic Ghost Story (Liao zhai yan tan) (1987)

  Directed by: Ngai Kai Lam
Starring: Amy Yip
Links: Erotic Ghost Story on the IMDb, Buy on DVD
Genre: Action

This movie gets: 2.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Erotic Ghost Story (Liao zhai yan tan) (1987) is also mentioned in em_fiction's review of Infernal Affairs (2002).

"I can think of at least three things wrong with that title…" - a review by mino

Ahhh: another Saturday night, another SBS titflick.

Erotic Ghost Story, much like the Weatherwoman series (the not-half-bad A Weatherwoman (1995) and the most-definitely-half-bad The Weatherwoman Returns (1996)), is something of an SBS favourite. Every six months or so, they wheel out EGS (or one of its two sequels) to fill an otherwise vacant Saturday night.

At least, with a film called Erotic Ghost Story, I guess you know what you're getting yourself in for. You're not going to be excepting quality foreign fare: you're going to be expecting Asian women getting their gear off (not the men: it's never the men) and, by God, that's what you're going to get.

Unfortunately, compared to the Citizen Kane (1941)-in-comparison Weatherwoman films — or, indeed, to many of the other ‘arthouse’-as-an-alias-for-‘soft porn’ films SBS are so fond of — Erotic Ghost Story just isn't very good. It's got all the ingredients, sure — fighting, breasts, supernatural demons, breasts, slapstick comedy, weak-but-OK-I-guess gags, and breasts — but it's just not very entertaining. Erotic Ghost Story is just plain half-assed. If you take away the flesh, there's really not much there in the way of plot.

Basically, there are three sisters: ‘vixen spirits’ who have spent thousands of years meditating to try and gain human form. They're getting there, but they need to more or less be good for another month to make it ‘stick’, if you like: they can't give in to temptation (the type of temptation we're talking about isn't really specified, but I'm sure you can guess). Needless to say, temptation comes to visit in the form of the shy scholar Ng Ming, who seduces all three sisters (you sly dog, Ng Ming!), and (of course) doesn't turn out to be quite what he seems. There's plenty of sex, plenty of fighting, plenty of bathing, plenty of magic, and plenty of changing clothes: oh, and plenty of dodgy special effects.

Ordinarily, I couldn't give two hoots about special effects, but the effects in Erotic Ghost Story are so bad they're truly laughable. Odd-looking prosthetic heads, badly faked blood, exceptionally second-rate magic: it's all there. There is one standout, though: the Mary Poppins (1964)-like cartoon butterflies are actually surprisingly well done, to the extent that I'm led to think that they maybe spent all their effects budget on that, then just had to make do with whatever was left in the pantry.

There are a few vaguely endearing qualities: the comic next-door-neighbours have one or two vaguely funny moments, but not enough to make the movie, you know, actually worth watching. The voodoo sex pineapple (no, really) is vaguely funny, but only in a ‘what the hell’ kind of way.

Erotic Ghost Story is basically an excuse for nudity, and a pretty thin one at that. On the plus side, there is plenty of it, and as regular as clockwork: you could nearly set your watch by the appearance of the female form.

I can only assume that somewhere in Hong Kong, there's a highly-paid bosom consultant whose job it is to work out exactly how long a totally crap movie can run for, without having nude women on screen, before losing the viewers' interest completely. Well, whatever he's paid, he's earned his money here.

It's just a pity he couldn't do anything about the acting.

mino gives this movie 2 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 16 Jan 2004

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