Issue #285         HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES          October 17th, 2005

The Enchantress
(1983; Shaw Brothers)

Cantonese: Yiu wan
Mandarin: Yao hun
English: Seductive Evil Spirit


  RATING: 3/10


After one hundred men perish under mysterious circumstances in the vicinity of a lovely area known as Moonlit Sky, swordsman Feng Xiwu (Max Mok Siu-chung) decides to investigate and discovers beautiful maiden Shuiling (Mary Jean Reimer). The two fall almost instantly in love, but the girl’s mother (Wei Chiu-hua) is a blood drinking, flesh eating spirit responsible for all of the recent deaths. With the aid of gregarious taoist Ku (Lo Lieh), Feng seeks to free Shuiling from her mother’s control, but the ghost’s great power requires that he also enlist the aid of two other masters (Liu Yung and Yueh Hua) and, finally, seven gods.

L to R: Max Mok Siu-chung, Mary Jean Reimer, Lo Lieh Wei Chiu-hua

While in keeping with previous Shaw Brothers period fantasies like Taylor Wong Tai-loi’s BUDDHA’S PALM (issue #174) and Lu Chin-ku’s HOLY FLAME OF THE MARTIAL WORLD (issue #197), this Chor Yuen effort falls short of their accomplishments. Although the plot manages to incorporate enough genre elements for three such features, the central thread is a tired vengeance scenario further marred by repetition (the demon is able to escape destruction by possessing others, something that happens more than once and in an especially contrived manner) and far too much unfunny comedy relief from Ku’s bumbling assistant and two equally inept monks. While mixing together many different genre components (including wire-enhanced combat, swordplay, invisibility, and a climatic battle in Hell), the frantic proceedings are rarely involving and the studio’s declining box office fortunes may have impacted the budget (the copious amounts of smoke seen throughout were evidently used as much to hide the sets’ limitations as to provide otherworldly ambiance). Most of the music is canned, but there is also a cue swiped from PHANTASM. Yuen Wah helped to choreograph the action and shows up briefly as a guard; Phillip Kwok Tsui, Norman Tsui Siu-keung, and Koo Koon-chung also appear.

Yueh Hua (center) Liu Yung


The credits have been recreated with video burn, but otherwise, this anamorphic presentation offers little to complain about. The aforementioned smoke and conceptual haze leave the image a bit soft, but hues are robust. There are also no problems with the Mandarin audio, which has been left in its original mono. A small photo gallery, video promo spots, and some bios/filmographies are also included.

Max Mok Siu-chung Mary Jean Reimer

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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2005. All Rights Reserved.


- Hong Kong Release

NTSC – Region 3 Only

Intercontinental Video Ltd. #103858

Dolby Digital 2.0

Post-synced Mandarin Language

Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional Chinese

12 Chapters

16:9 Enhanced (2.35:1)

88 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)


- Ontario: PG

Quebec: 13+

Singapore: PG

Contains moderate violence

10 A Masterpiece
9 Excellent
8 Highly Recommended
7 Very Good
6 Recommended
5 Marginal Recommendation
4 Not Recommended
3 Poor
2 Definitely Not Recommended
1 Dreadful