Horoscope II: The Woman
Steven Chang once again brings us into his demented
and nightmarish world of evil, black magic, delusions, infidelity and worms.
Lots of squiggly, wriggling worms. Oozing out of the skin, large fat slippery
ones being vomited out, thousands huddled under the carpet and even served
ala carte. Eating noodles and watching this film at the same time might
be a mistake!
From evidence as of late – Troublesome Night,
Erotic Nightmare and Horoscope I & II – Chang is quickly becoming the
HK horror director to watch. Though his films are certainly low budget,
they are imaginative, edgy, suitably gruesome and fast moving. Horoscope
II (which in my mind should have been Erotic Nightmare II as stylistically
the films have much in common) begins with a jolt and rarely lets up. But
as the film mixes nightmares and reality, it becomes increasingly more
convoluted until the viewer is left in a foggy morass. One really begins
to wonder whether Chang himself started losing track of reality vs. fantasy
in the story line of the film. In trying to piece it together later, much
of it seems totally illogical – and even after the film is over one isn’t
sure what was real and what wasn’t – even the ending itself is a judgement
call. But it’s a fun and queasy ride getting there.
As in Erotic Nightmare, terrible things begin
happening to what appears to be a typical middle class HK couple living
in a small tidy duplex. Simon Yam is a doctor and his lovely wife is Pinky
Cheung and their life seems splendid except for the shadow of their dead
child lingering over them. One evening while preparing a barbecue, their
friend Jimmy comes crashing into their backyard screaming in agony with
thousands of worms crawling out from his skin. He sticks his hands into
the barbecue to kill the worms, but the pain continues until he finally
takes an arrow (Pinky is a master archer) and plunges it into his heart
– bringing the pain and his life to a quick stop. This horrific event is
explained away as Jimmy taking liberties with women in Thailand and having
In fact, he is a victim of the black curse spun
from a Thai sorceress (Sophie Ngan – the Asian March Penthouse centerfold
I am informed – sorry no pictures of her!) for having cuckolded her. Simon
soon has reason to go to Bangkok for a medical conference and when he returns
he is a changed man. Moody, always thirsty, aloof and a sexual aggressor.
Pinky then begins having a series of horrible nightmares and soon she (as
well as the viewer) gets lost in being able to tell reality from the dream
world. At times, I think there were even dreams within dreams. In her dreams
she sees Simon having sex with the sorceress and having his back scratched
by her in heated passion. In another dream, the woman plunges her hands
into Pinky’s stomach and pulls out a newborn. Pinky then sees that the
woman in her dream has moved next door – and Simon has scratches on his
back and is vomiting worms.
Pinky Cheung simply dominates this film with a
performance that looks to be emotionally and physically exhausting. She
is terrific as a victim caught in a web of horror and magic that she can’t
understand and doesn’t know how to fight back against.
My rating for this film: 6.5