Erotic Ghost Story III

Director: Ivan Lai
Year: 1992

As in her life, Pauline Chan had so few happy endings in her films. If she played a prostitute as she did so many times, she usually came to a bad end. If she played a villain or a witch she always got her just desserts. If she played an avenging sister, she still came up short. Maybe she had her fate written on her face. It was a sensuous yet slightly libidinous and scornful face that would always end up on the wrong side of the tracks. It was the kind of face that men might lust after, but rarely love. So it was nice for once to see Pauline Chan smiling at the end of this film – having sex sure – naked, of course - but still smiling.

This is the third in this film series dealing with the supernatural and sex and sometimes supernatural sex. The first two films had some connection but this one seems to be unconnected to those – more along the lines of Chinese Ghost Story but with a lot more writhing and moaning. What all three films share are solid production values and a story of good vs. evil in the supernatural world that spills over into the real world. Chu Chung (Cheung Ging-fa) is wandering the land with his betrothed (his family’s choice, not his) following him in men’s garb wherever he goes. It appears that he is doing his best to escape marriage and his family, but he has to come to her aid when a group of men realize that she is in fact a she and attempt to rape her. The two of them find refuge in an old forlorn and forsaken temple where they find a miniature monk (Shing Fui-on) trying not to become a dog’s dinner. They save him and help restore him to normal size. The woman Hsia-hui (Chik King-man) goes off to take a bath making most male viewers wonder to themselves – why on earth is he trying to run away from those – I mean from her.

Inside the temple Chu spots a painting of a woman on the wall and is instantly smitten. No, this is not a remake of Laura – not even close. The monk – Reverend Wick – tells him that the girl in the painting is in a way station between heaven and hell and he can help Chu get there but that he must be back before the incense burns out or he will be stuck for eternity. Sure why not. Inside he finds a glamorous setting – a sexual Disney Land with dwarves and nightly entertainment included. Everyone is getting it on and eternity doesn’t seem like long enough, especially when he meets the lady in the painting – I-Meng (Pauline) who beds him faster than a meal at Burger King. But like Disney Land there is a dark side beneath all the frivolity – her Ladyship (Otomo Rena) who wants to get the power to break out of this place and conquer the world. And Chu is just a mere pawn in her terrifying hunger for power - and the meat of her enemies. At one point to weaken her Ladyship, Reverand Wink does a Fantastic Voyage by getting small and going up her um um you know um. Oh, never mind. For this sort of film, this is highbrow stuff – every one glistens and shines – the colors are bright and cheery – and with Phillip Kwok doing the action choreography the fighting and wirework is better than one might expect in a film that is primarily a sexual romp.

My rating for this film: 6.0