review by Jerome

Support the Site by Buying from YesAsia

Spooky? Funny? Yeah!
The Cantonese title “Gwai da gwai” means ghost hits ghost. Sammo Hung pioneered the mixed kung fu comedy horror genre with Spooky Encounters also known as Close Encounters.

The tale is about Bold Cheung (Sammo Hung), a cuckolded husband, sent on a wild roller coaster ride of spooky encounters when his wife’s wealthy lover Mr Tam (Wong Ha) tries to do away with him with the help of black magic by a Taoist monk (Peter Chan). He seeks help from the Taoist monk’s martial brother (Chung Fat).

How Cheung defies his enemies is an uproarious comedy featuring hopping vampires, supernatural possession, copious splashing of chicken blood and relentless chanting, all mixed with an exhilarating dose of kung fu and slapstick humour.

Sammo’s character Bold Cheung, claims to be the bravest person of his village but is put to the test in various amusing situations. The first notable scene, in which this occurs is at the beginning, when him and a group of friends go to an abandoned house, one of them dresses up as a ghost and attempts to scare the living daylights out of him. However, the house is actually haunted by a real ghost, and when it shows itself after taking his friends life. He is immediately petrified. Other instances in which we see Sammo confront his fears are when staying at the Ma family coffin house and having to deal with a hopping vampire (Yuen Biao). In some ways this indicates to the audience to confront your fears.

Wong Ha plays Mr Tam, Bold Cheung’s wealthy boss. He has been secretly having an affair with Cheung’s wife. In many instances, Cheung almost catches them together. The only clue is a shoe. Mr Tam, seeks guidance from his servant (Tai Po) to get rid of Cheung, so he can be with Cheung’s wife.

Peter Chan plays the Taoist wizard / mortician, who will just about do anything for money including forsaking the Mao Shan creed to help Mr Tam get rid of Cheung. When his martial brother (Chung Fat) discovers this, he is outraged at his senior and helps Cheung out with his ghostly encounters, including making Cheung his pupil.

Lam Ching Ying has a supporting role as a county policeman sent to arrest Cheung for the murder of his wife, even though she is very much alive. Cheung is setup by Mr Tam, and despite his pleas of innocence, Cheung is on the run. Lam Ching Ying has a few good scenes. The first is when him and the rest of Sammo’s stunt team; go out on a night patrol, searching for Cheung while Cheung is running away from a re-animated stiff corpse. On approaching them, Cheung jumps away and lets them deal with it. The other scene that highlights some of Lam Ching Ying’s fighting is when Cheung is confronted at the teahouse by the bailiffs and Lam Ching Ying. The bailiffs become possessed and turn on Lam Ching Ying’s policeman, giving him the necessary time to flee.

The action packed finale combines traditional weaponry such as the double-edged sword (gim), spear, and Taoist magic. Watch out for the spell invoking the spirit of the monkey god into Sammo. Crazy and funny!

Overall, Spooky Encounters is an interesting film that aims to give great comedic relief, cheesy horror and incredible action.

I rate it 8/10

Comment on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum

Genre: Kung Fu / Action / Comedy / Horror
Director: Sammo HUNG
Cast: Sammo HUNG Gam Bo, Peter CHAN Lung, WONG Ha, CHUNG (JUNG) Fat (Faat), Tai Bo, LAM Ching (Jing) Ying, YUEN Biao (Biu), WU Ma (NG Ma), Sammo Hung Stunt team.
Reviewed by Jerome (Bart), August 2006