Encounter of the Spooky Kind[1980]
Director: Samo Hung
Producer: Raymond Chow
Screenplay: Samo Hung
Action Director: Samo Hung, Hung's Stunt Team
Cast: Samo Hung, Chung Fat, Lam Ching Ying
released on Media Asia DVD

This is Samo Hung at his best, early in his career. On the heels of directing several classic martial arts films[ Warriors Two, Knockabout, The Victim ], Hung tries his hand at the horror genre mixing in his martial skills and comedy styles.

The result is visually spectacular, definitely worth seeking out the Media Asia DVD, released under the title Spooky Encounters. With nine chapters, the DVD has the original theatrical trailer plus four others [ Lucky Stars Go Places; The Prodigal Son; Eastern Condors; Zu, Warriors from the Magic Mountain ].

Bare bones plot is the film's major weakness. Hung's character, Cheung, works as a bodyguard/driver for boss Tam. Cheung's wife is having an affair with Tam and they are almost caught. Tam hires an evil taoist priest to kill Cheung with the undead. When that fails, they fake the wifes murder leaving the wrongly accused Cheung on the run from the police. Look for Lam Ching Ying in a pre-Mr. Vampire role as the police chief.

After avoiding various hopping vampires and being accused of murder, Samo is possessed by the Monkey God in the furious finale. Besides an extended display of the monkey style, Samo gets to work out with the long spear against a haunted swordsman.

Unyeilding and unforgiving, Cheung's final action in the film's last shot may disturb some viewers.

copyright 2001 J. Crawford

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