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Issue #149 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES March 3rd, 2003

The Ghost Snatchers
(1986; Golden Harvest/Paragon Films)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Bei gwai juk
Mandarin: Bi gui zhuo
English: Caught By Ghosts

A high society party at the Fox Centre highrise is crashed by the undead in the opening minutes of this middling horror/comedy. While excusing herself for a trip to the ladies' room, Judy Hsu (Tsui Suk-woon) is attacked and possessed by a demon but none of her fellow guests are aware that anything has happened. New security guard Bong (Wong Jing) hopes to save enough to marry his gorgeous girlfriend, Hsueh (Joey Wang Tsu-hsien), but her loan shark brother (Michael Chan Wai-man) has it in for him. Bong's first day on the job at Fox Centre finds him assigned to patrol the top floor and he catches a glimpse of Judy trying to kill the company chairman (Shum Wai). Nobody will believe him, and a fortune teller warns Bong and his Uncle Fan (Stanley Fung Shui-fan) that they both have a Yin horoscope and are doomed to die before the 14th. Hsueh suggests that highly respected seer Ling (Joyce Godenzi) visit the building, and she discovers that the place is infested with the ghosts of Japanese soldiers who had routinely executed Chinese citizens on the site during WWII. Thanks to the structure's disastrous feng shui, the spirits (who have slain 92 victims and only need 7 more for their commander to reincarnate) can easily prey upon those with Yin horoscopes. It is up to Bong and Fan to journey down to Hell and put a stop to the demons before they can claim their final victim.

Director Simon Nam Nai-choi seems like an ideal choice for this sort of production but THE GHOST SNATCHERS generally lacks the inventiveness, energy, and outrageous gore of Nam's THE SEVENTH CURSE (reviewed in issue #133a), which hit HK screens less than a month after this picture. The humor is mostly uninspired, with the requisite triad jokes, Stanley Fung playing his usual lovesick pervert, and Wong Jing being bullied. As for horror, the most resonate images here have been copied from Hollywood movies: a group of arms exploding through a stone wall (DAY OF THE DEAD) and a movie theatre filled with the undead (MESSIAH OF EVIL). Despite being a Golden Harvest effort, this has noticeably lower production values than most of the horror/comedies from the time (The Ghost of Mahjong is represented by an embarrassing hand puppet and there isn't even any music heard during the opening or closing credits) but the film picks up considerably during the climax, particularly when Wong and Fung must battle a persistent skeleton. Local horror lore also comes into play (Godenzi's powers during the climax are compromised by the fact that she is having her period), making this a reasonably entertaining entry for completists. Viewers new to this sub-genre would be better off starting with MY NEIGHBOURS ARE PHANTOMS, GHOST FEVER, or OPERATION PINK SQUAD II (DVD title: THUNDER COPS). The score includes music swiped from PHANTASM and ALIENS. Charlie Cho Cha-lei, and Yu Tau-wan also appear.

Cover art courtesy Deltamac.

Wong Jing and Joyce Godenzi. Image courtesy Deltamac.

Stanley Fung. Image courtesy Deltamac.
Deltamac #DVD78020 (HK label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks (both post-synced)

Optional Subtitles in English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)

9 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With (Tiny) Clips

Letterboxed (1.90:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

NTSC Format

89 Minutes

Contains moderate violence and horror, and nudity

DVD menu courtesy Deltamac.

Australia: M
Hong Kong: II
Ontario: R
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]

The print has light speckling throughout but the image generally looks nice; the audio is passable. The subtitle translation is okay but many lines have quotation marks around them for no apparent reason. A trailer is the only extra and the alternate cover art is no more attractive than what we get upfront.

is available at Poker Industries.

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