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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Encounter of the Spooky Kind


Starring: Sammo Hung, Wong Ha, Dick Wei, Lam Ching-ying and Wu Ma
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £22.99


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 21 June 2021

Courageous Cheung is a man well-known in his local village for his lack of fear. His friends and associates often make bets, setting him challenges. So, when he is tricked into spending the night in a haunted temple reported to be full of spirits, zombies and vampires, he is compelled to do so. But Cheung has been set-up to be killed. His job has been to transport around the respected Master, but the powerful old man has been secretly seeing Cheung’s wife. He wants Cheung out of the way and so has one of his men contact a powerful mystic who can summon the spirits. The mystic has a kinder and more honest brother, however, who is not influenced by the lure of money, and he seeks to protect the hapless hero. But is it enough...?

Eureka Entertainment, as part of their Eureka Classics range, releases for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK a 2K restoration. The first print run of 2000 copies features an O-card slipcase featuring new artwork by Darren Wheeling, a collector’s booklet featuring new content by James Oliver, and a reversible poster featuring the film’s original artwork. There is an interview with the star, a new audio commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival), and downloadable content including a stills gallery. Also, there are four ways to enjoy the movie: Cantonese audio, with original mono presentation and English subtitles; Rare alternative Cantonese soundtrack; Optional English dubbed audio; and Optional English subtitles newly translated for this release.

The film is directed by and stars the multi-award winning Sammo Hung, of Project A, Lucky Stars, and Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain. It’s a frantic, action-packed extravaganza which mixes the genres of horror, comedy, Kung-Fu and action. The blending of martial arts, special effects and Chinese folklore inadvertently created a new sub-genre of Asian cinema that became known as Jiangshi – and this would spawn successes such as Mr Vampire. The majority of the comedy is breathless and zany (comparable to parts of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein), but there are also moments of genuine humour. It’s created mainly as a result of the sheer pace of the action. The Kung-Fu is closer to stunt coordination choreography than actual martial arts. It’s all about a certain amount of gymnastics and chases; avoiding being struck, in other words. It is highly-skilled and must have taken hours and hours of rehearsals to perfect. The fighting becomes more perfected during a late scene when Cheung is possessed by a fighting spirit to defend himself against the mystic’s denizen.

Rather than a serious study or biopic of a reluctant hero, Encounter of the Spooky Kind is mindless fun… but very enjoyable mindless fun.


Ty Power

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