Amy Yip in Erotic Ghost Story
Jun 26, 2000 (Updated Jan 28, 2002)
Review by Mike Bracken
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Interesting twist on Chinese Folklore, a fair amount of nudity, Amy Yip
Cons:weak action choreography
The Bottom Line: Amy Yip...mmmmm.
Erotic Ghost Story: Diagonal Pictures
Recommend this product?
USA: Unrated/ Hong Kong: Category III
After the success of Tsui Hark’s 1987 supernaturally-themed Hong Kong period film, Chinese Ghost Story, filmmakers on the island became infatuated with the idea of making similar period pieces culled from ancient Chinese folklore—films often involving ghosts, demons, fairies, and witches and their forbidden passions with humankind. CGS spawned a sea of clones (including two sequels of its own)—some good, some inferior, and none that managed to better the original. Today, we take a look at one of the more interesting supernatural period films, Lam Nai-choi’s Erotic Ghost Story.
Loosely based upon a series of ghost stories written by Pu Songling during the Qing Dynasty, EGS tells the tale of three lusty fox fairies (Fei-fei, So-so, and Hua-hua—played by the voluptuous Amy Yip). These three women have been living the good life for nearly a thousand years—and as such, they’ve almost become entirely human (they’ve got roughly thirty days left before their metamorphosis occurs). However, when So-so wanders into the temple of fertility god Wu-Tung, she feels an intense physical longing for the multi-headed demon—a longing that causes her to flee the temple in order to maintain her celibacy (which is required in order to become human). After leaving the temple, she encounters a Taoist priest, who warns her against giving into her desire—and the potential danger that succumbing entails.
So-so and her sisters move into a nice village, with a large house. There, they eventually encounter a young scholar (Leslie Cheung: Temptress Moon, Ashes of Time). Soon, each of the sisters is trysting with the young student—which eventually leads to him moving into their villa. Eventually, the sisters come to their senses and realize that their carnal frolicks with Cheung are bound to mess up their evolution into human form—so they send him on his way. However, our scholar isn’t all he seems to be—in fact, he’s none other than demon Wu-Tung in physical form. The sisters begin reverting back to their fox essences (seen through an unintentionally humorous scene where their reflections show them with hair on their chests and goofy looking fox heads). Unhappy with the deceit, they decide they must stop Wu-Tung and send him back to the netherworld.
Even though the film is loosely inspired by some ancient Chinese folklore, one can’t help but look at some parts of the film and be reminded of the 1987 film The Witches of Eastwick. The three women seduced by a devil demon thing is the same basic set-up as the one employed in that film, and the movie even goes as far as to imitate the ‘cherry scene’ from the Jack Nicholson film. Still, similarities aside, EGS is a lot more fun—I’d much rather look at a half-dressed Amy Yip than Cher anyday.
The performances here aren’t really anything great—and let’s face it, few people are watching this film for the acting anyway. Amy Yip is fun to watch, even though she sticks to her ‘no full nudity’ clause—which causes her to be shown either at a distance, in profile, or in teasing angles that reveal just enough to titillate, but not enough to get anyone really aroused. Her sisters, on the other hand, seem to have no such qualms about being naked, and spend a fair amount of the film in various states of undress. The film has a few scenes with some very erotic moments, and the sisters are all gorgeous—which is probably why they were cast. Those who are a bit prudish might find the film a little too erotic for their tastes, but if you can handle the softcore stuff Cinemax shows on Friday nights, then EGS shouldn’t cause you any embarrassment—in fact, it has a much better story than any of those Cinemax flicks. Essentially, this is a softcore film—one very much along the lines of Sex and Zen (another softcore classic featuring Amy Yip).
Lam Nai-choi’s direction is decent, particularly the way he captures the sisters. Each sister wears a different color, light green, purple, and pink—which makes for an interesting color mix whenever Lam captures all three sisters in one frame. There are a few kung-fu fights, and some wire-fu as well. The wire work looks good, but the action choreography leaves a little to be desired. It’s brutally apparent that none of the women are martial artists, and while Lam tries to hide this through quick editing, etc.—it just doesn’t work. All in all, it’s a solid effort from Lam—nothing that will make you feel like you need to track down more of his work, but nothing that tosses him into the ‘cinematic hack’ category, either.
I viewed the film on laserdisc, in a widescreen aspect ratio, with English subtitles. The picture was good and the subtitles were quite readable. There were no extras on the disc—but the decent presentation makes up for it.
EGS was successful enough to spawn two sequels, though neither is as good as the original. Hong Kong film superstar Anthony Wong stars in the second as a sex demon, and the third moves the story in an entirely new direction. If you liked this film, then the sequels are well worth tracking down.
In the end, Erotic Ghost Story is a fun ride. It has some moments where it’s unintentionally funny, but it more than delivers on the ‘erotic’ part of its title as well. Sure, it would have been nice to see Amy Yip go the distance and expose herself for her fans (she’s one of the biggest starlet/pin-up girls in Asia), but there’s more than enough nudity and sex here to keep the erotica crowd pleased. If you’re looking for something to spice up your evening, but you’d like a bit of a story as well, then Erotic Ghost Story is well worth a rental.
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