Jordan Peele’s sci-fi-horror film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott and Brandon Perea.
The story centres on the Haywood siblings (Kaluuya & Palmer), who run a ranch that hires out horses for Hollywood productions. They discover that the area around their ranch has become the hunting ground of a UFO-like predatory creature… so they decide to try and capture evidence of this aerial beast…
NOPE has received mixed reviews, some very positive and others criticising Peele’s exotic plot, which not only involves this extraterrestrial critter but also includes a grisly backstory that features a chimp actor from a television show going on a bloody rampage!
I, thus, went into this movie expecting it to be potentially a mess, but I actually REALLY enjoyed it!
Peele uses the film’s locations well, shooting the vast, cloudy sky effectively, providing teasing glimpses of the ‘flying saucer’ whooshing behind the cloud cover. He also creates some tense scenes and a few jump scares, and also makes good use of imagery like lights going off and inflatable tube man figures deflating whenever the creature is near.
The monster itself is a fine creation: a beast that can take the shape of a smooth-skinned, fast-moving ‘UFO’ with a central ‘mouth’ that it uses the vacuum-up victims. This thing can also unravel itself, to become more like a vast mass of unfurled membranes.
When the film reaches its climax the score is amped up, imbuing the movie with a neo-Western vibe, as the siblings confront the creature on horseback and on an electric motorbike, trying to stay alive and also still endeavouring to get an elusive shot of the hungry, floating monster.
Well worth a watch.
Here’s a bunch of shots of the lovely critter…
Finally, here’s the Dolby Cinema poster for the film…
This action-horror-comedy was directed by J.J. Perry and was written by Tyler Tice & Shay Hatten. It stars Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Snoop Dogg, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Meagon Good, Karla Souza, Steve Howey and Scott Adkins.
Bud Jablonski (Foxx) pretends to be a San Fernando Valley pool cleaner, but he is actually a vampire hunter. He earns his living by selling the teeth he extracts from the vampires he kills. Bud is currently a freelance hunter of vampires, but he really needs to make more money so that his ex-wife doesn’t move to Florida with his daughter. In order to pay for his daughter’s expensive school bills, Bud must go back to the vampire-hunting union that had kicked him out previously, because of his unorthodox hunting style that broke many of the union’s protocols.
Bud does get another chance to work with the union… but he is forced to work the day shift (which doesn’t pay as much) and he must also team-up with a strait-laced union rep called Seth (Franco).
To make matters worse, Bud has made an enemy of top vampire (and real estate entrepreneur) Audrey San Fernando (Souza), after he kills an aged female vampire that turns out to be Audrey’s daughter. Audrey swears revenge and sets her sights on Bud’s family…
This sun-drenched, big & bright Netflix movie looks good, never drags, and has cool fight choreography. Some of the ways the vampires contort themselves during skirmishes are pretty novel and there are some fairly inventive kills!
I think the vampire-hunting union office in DAY SHIFT is an okay idea too, and I’m sure it was a world-building attempt to create a vampire-killing version of the hitmen organisation seen in the JOHN WICK films.
Snoop Dogg, playing a cool colleague of Bud’s called Big John Elliott, is not the greatest thespian ever, but he’s fun to watch when he’s on-screen. And I did really like Big Bertha: his lethal mini-gun!
Martial arts star Scott Adkins is good in a one-off action sequence, playing top vampire hunter Diran Nazarian. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I reckon I would rather have seen a movie about him and his brother Mike (Howey): they are great!
Within the mythos of DAY WATCH, there are different types of vampire, which are described and shown in the movie, but I must admit that I couldn’t really see what the differences were between most of them during the various action scenes.
The idea of ‘good vampires’, who choose to help out humans, is suddenly introduced later on in the story, without the concept being talked about previously, and I think this is an odd plot choice. During most of DAY SHIFT’s running time it seems that victims just become evil bloodsuckers if they are turned… and then, out of nowhere… characters can choose to be helpful to Bud!
The finale, involving main vamp Audrey kidnapping Bud’s family, is really rather weak, unfortunately. It’s the kind of ending we’ve seen in countless action movies before and it just lacks logic: why doesn’t Audrey just vampirize Bud’s daughter straight away, rather than keep her alive so that the hero dad can manage to save her? This finale is set in a large, pretty impressive, hidden Mayan-type temple, but the location isn’t really utilised in the action as much as I think it should have been. Shame.
Karla Souza, as villainess Audrey San Fernando, is okay, but I actually thought her main henchman Klaus, played by German actor Oliver Masucci, had a better look and old-school vampire vibe.
A helmeted, goggles-wearing humanoid is lowered, in a diving bell-like metal capsule, down into a nightmarish underworld, where he witnesses unexplainable events, sees strange creatures and travels through a series of harsh, terrible landscapes. He becomes the victim of a gory surgical procedure, where countless items and viscera are removed from his body, including a maggot-thing that cries like a baby… but this isn’t the end of the tale and the weird, cruel, grotesque narrative continues…
MAD GOD was written, produced, and directed by Phil Tippett and it is his malformed labour of love, which he began creating over thirty years ago, then shelved for twenty years, then recommenced work on, using Kickstarter donations and volunteers to help him complete this outlandish product of his fecund imagination.
The film relies less on conventional plotting, using instead a kind of dream logic (or, rather, a nightmare logic) to propel the story forward.
MAD GOD is a mix of stop-motion, miniatures, puppets, pixilation, props and live action, with an abundance of bleak, ruined vistas for the characters to roam through. Tippett doesn’t try to hide the fact that many of the landscapes are tabletop miniatures, he just steams straight ahead with the tale, drawing you into his fantastic, ghastly, intricate world.
Director Alex (REPO MAN) Cox plays ‘The Last Man’ and several other actors play a surgeon or nurse, etc, but the bulk of the characters are portrayed via stop-motion, puppets and models, and the majority of the locations are, as mentioned, detailed, cluttered miniatures.
The production is infernally surreal, with the various beings, such as the many fibrous, mummy-like humanoids, regularly killed in a multitude of offhand, cruel ways. Blood and other bodily fluids, plus ground-up flesh, are often extracted from characters and fed into tubes and receptacles. Torture is common here, suggesting this world is some form of layered, torment-filled hell.
For me, it’s as if a violent, twisted, dystopian Métal Hurlant sci-fi-horror comic strip was written by Italian poet-writer Dante and turned into a film, with the influences of Terry Gilliam, Jan Svankmajer, Ray Harryhausen, René Laloux and David Lynch’s ERASERHEAD added to the mix.
Though the film’s settings are mainly dark and forbidding, there is a brief sequence set in a brightly-coloured habitat, but even here death is always on hand, as we see a cute mushroom-person, who is happily eating maggots, devoured by an arachnid beast.
If there’s an overall point to this tale, then it’s not too clear – and if you require a straightforward narrative, then this film isn’t for you – but if you dive into this viewing experience to enjoy the disturbing cinematic ride, you’ll be rewarded with loads of lovingly-crafted, unsettling, eye-catching sequences that are chock-full of twisted wonder, gore and impressionistic madness, leading up to a cosmic finale, accompanied by an effective soundtrack by Dan Wool.
Some concept art for the movie…
Okay, one more look at that skirmish between the two mesh-faced monsters…
British archaeologist Professor Aitken (Donald Bisset) and his son Charles (Peter Gilmore) hire Captain Daniels (Shane Rimmer) to take them to a particular area of the ocean so that they can use a diving bell designed by beefy engineer Greg Collinson (Doug McClure) to search for proof that the fabled city of Atlantis exists.
Greg, Charles and several members of the ship’s mutinous crew end up deep down in a vast undersea cavern system, where they discover the lost civilisation of the Atlanteans, who are actually Martians that arrived on Earth, via a comet, back in prehistoric times.
Written by Brian Hayles, who worked on numerous episodes of DOCTOR WHO, this period fantasy film has some quite interesting ideas hidden amongst the pulp-adventure action. The aliens, we discover, are influencing mankind, causing them to edge closer to devastating world wars in order to fast-track scientific advancement: one of the main characters (Gilmore) has visions of events that are yet to be, including marching Nazis, mass warfare, atomic bombs, and so on. A pretty cool scene.
There are some crude-but-nice matte paintings and the Atlantean warrior dudes in shiny helms that completely cover their faces look damn cool, but the main reason anyone tunes in to watch WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS is, let’s face it, to see the mutant monsters featured in the movie.
The swamp-dwelling mogdaan, a kind of huge, finned eel-creature, is my favourite beast, bursting up through the muddy waters to menace the heroes.
The lumpy-skinned, club-tailed, ankylosaur-like zaargs are also fun to watch as they attack one of the Atlantean cities.
The serpentine plesiosaur-type monster that menaces our heroes in the diving bell earlier in the story works better in close-up, when a full-scale model is used, rather than in long shot, where it looks rather unimposing.
There are some snapping fish too, that blast from the water to nibble at the escaping protagonists. These piscine predators are quite rubbery-looking, unfortunately, though there’s a briefly-seen, toothy critter that is also featured during the fish sequence: and that creature, though we only see its head, is rather more effective.
And, of course, there’s the giant octopus that makes several appearances in the film. It has a well-textured skin and ain’t half bad to look at, especially when it attacks the ship at the end of the movie, to retrieve a stolen artefact.
John Richardson supervised the visual effects, which boast some really quite decent miniature work, and Roger Dicken created the movie’s menagerie of monsters. Actually, you can be see Roger in the movie, playing one of the men defending the city’s ramparts during the zaarg assault!
Directed by Kevin Connor and produced by Connor and John Dark, WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS also stars Michael (LIFEFORCE) Gothard, Lea Brodie, Robert (ONE MILLION YEARS BC) Brown, John (WARLORDS OF THE 21ST CENTURY) Ratzenberger, Daniel (THE VAULT OF HORROR) Massey and Cyd (BRIGADOON) Charisse. This modestly budgeted flick may not be a fantasy-adventure classic, but the film is definitely one of the better examples of the 70’s series of John Dark/Kevin Connor lost world-style productions (all of which featured Doug McClure): the others were THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT, AT THE EARTH’S CORE and THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT.
Here are some posters…
Some lobby cards…
VHS and DVD covers…
Some publicity shots featuring Lea Brodie and the octopus…
Finally, here’s some pre-production art created for the film…
Production designer Maurice George Carter produced watercolour concept art for WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS (in 1976).
Initially, it seems, a squid was going to attack the ship, rather than an octopus. But even after the squid was replaced with an octopus in the movie, this squid imagery was used in some of the artwork for various posters and VHS covers (including Tom Chantrell’s UK VHS cover painting).
This watercolour concept of an Aztec-style pyramid-temple ultimately never found its way into the final film, but it did find its way onto some of the poster artwork, including the Belgian poster…
Harper (Jessie Buckley) rents an isolated country house so that she can spend some time alone to process the sense of guilt she is feeling after the suicide of her husband, who she was in the middle of divorcing when he fell/jumped from a balcony to his death.
After meeting the nice-but-dim landlord Geoffrey, Harper finds herself encountering a series of odd males (all played well by the same actor, Rory Kinnear), who range from a menacing, naked man in the local woods, a creepy kid that wants to play hide & seek, and a weird local vicar. Events escalate, with Harper compelled to stab an intruder’s arm that pushes through the mail slot of her door, after which she helplessly watches as the intruder slowly withdraws his arm, causing the transfixed blade to gorily slice his forearm and hand in two. This distinctive wound mirrors an injury suffered by her dead husband (seen in one of many flashbacks), and soon Harper is hassled by the various male characters again, who all now have this same, unpleasant bisected arm injury. From here matters become much, much more strange and grotesque…
MEN, written and directed by Alex Garland, would seem to be a psychological horror story, detailing the mental breakdown of the guilt-ridden protagonist, yet much of what happens is definitely not in the heroine’s mind, as there really is a naked stalker who is arrested by the local police, and Harper’s friend, at the end of the movie, does see actual blood-smears in the doorway and also walks past the wrecked Ford we saw a character crash the previous night. So, is Garland suggesting these incidents, including an outlandish body-horror tour de force sequence, can be regarded as actually having really happened?
The film is peppered with folk horror elements: there’s a Green Man sculpture on the nearby church’s font, the naked stalker starts to cut himself and insert leaves into his face, and he finally appears as a full-on Green Man. When Harper is menaced by the vicar in her home, she asks him ‘what’ he is, and he replies that he’s ‘a swan’, a reference to the Greek myth ‘Leda and the Swan’, where Zeus, in the shape of a swan, seduces/rapes Leda. So could Garland be inferring that some kind of local pagan deity has latched onto Harper and is pursuing her in a series of masculine guises, so all of the batshit-crazy stuff we witness during the finale is ‘real’?
It’s hard to glean exactly what message Garland is trying to get across, because he wilfully keeps things obscure and unexplained, whilst also showering the film with symbolism (apples = Garden of Eden), musings on different kinds of toxic masculinity (men blaming women for the sexual urges they are feeling, men hitting women, men trying to guilt-trip women, etc), shots of a dead, eyeless deer, and the aforementioned body-horror imagery that sees the Green Man trigger a prolonged, bizarre ‘birthing’ sequence, involving adult males manifesting distended bellies and vaginas, from which other males are born.
MEN leaves too many questions unanswered: why doesn’t Harper notice that every male in the village has pretty much the same face? If her submerged guilt surrounding her husband’s death is so profound, why isn’t it his face she sees everywhere, rather than Kinnear’s visage?
Criticisms aside, this initially slow-burn film is unique, is well-acted, gorgeous to look at and boasts a wonderful, striking soundtrack that utilises a choir to infuse the proceedings with an unsettling vibe.
The movie’s bucolic English setting, with its shots of country churches and hints of some ancient presence, gives MEN the veneer of a M.R. James story in places, and some of Kinnear’s makeups recall the humorously grotesque visuals of the comedy-horror sitcom THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, though these influences are incidental and take a backseat to Garland’s own style of storytelling.
MEN, ultimately, is a muddled-yet-memorable combination of British folk horror and psychological drama, with musings on male toxicity added to the mix.
Directed by Jeffrey Lau, this fantasy-action-comedy stars Stephen Chow, Man-Tat Ng, Yammie Lam, Karen Mok and Kar-Ying Law.
Joker (Chow), the rather inept leader of a gang of robbers, is oblivious to the fact that he is actually the Monkey King, who was punished for his bad behaviour and turned into a human 500 years earlier.
The movie begins rather abruptly, as if some of the introduction to this sequence got trimmed down too much, showing the Monkey King disobeying his master, Longevity Monk, and being swiftly chastised for his misdeeds by Guanyin, the Goddess of Happiness. The narrative briskly zips forward hundreds of years and focuses on Joker’s comedic, slapstick encounters with a couple of she-demons, who take over his motley crew of incompetent thieves as they await the arrival of Longevity Monk. You see, these monstrous (and attractive) femmes want to eat some of Longevity Monk’s flesh, which will make them eternal.
Even though the characters are taken from the classic novel ‘Journey to the West’ by WuCheng’en, A CHINESE ODYSSEY PART 1: PANDORA’S BOX has nothing to do with that story.
The earlier portion of the movie is crammed with Chow’s usual blend of earthy humour, pratfalls and slapstick, and is followed by loads of enjoyable fantasy-action situations. These include the woman-demon known as Spider Devil (Yammie Lam) going on a well-mounted rampage after transforming into a long-legged arachnid-monster, Joker inexplicably zooming around the place using his hands instead of his feet, and encounters with King Bull (Luk Shu-Ming), who is a huge, bull-headed dude who can also shrink down to human-size.
Once the main characters reach the Spider Web Cave, the filmmakers seem to depend too much on the opening and closing of sliding rock doors as a device to propel the plot forward but, on the plus side, we get some fun, oddball moments, such as a fight inside King Bull’s guts, a time loop sequence and an on-off romance between Joker and the demoness Pak Jing-Jing (also known as Boney M), who can turn from a human-looking female into a robed, strange-faced, white-haired being.
The film ends just as abruptly as it starts, finishing with some action-packed footage from the second part, A CHINESE ODYSSEY 2: CINDERELLA.
Okay, let’s have one more look at the cool spider-critter…
Directed by Benny Chan and written by Kiu-Ying Chan, Kiu-Ying Chan and Bey Logan, this Hong Kong film stars Edison Chen, Stephen Fung, Sam Lee, Paul Rudd and Maggie Q. It was released in the USA as a Syfy Original Film on the Syfy Channel in 2002, under the misleading title JACKIE CHAN PRESENTS: METAL MAYHEM. (Jackie Chan did have a cameo in GEN-X COPS, which GEN-Y COPS is a sequel to, but he doesn’t appear in this movie).
Undercover cops Match (Fung), Alien (Lee) and Edison (Shen) have to deal with a group of villainous tech guys out to steal the prototype American RS1 attack robot during an international military technology exhibition in Hong Kong, but Edison is injected with a hypnosis drug by former hacker friend Kurt, which compels him to take part in the theft of the American robot. Now the Hong Kong cop trio must attempt to recover the stolen robot whilst avoiding a bunch of trigger-happy FBI agents, led by Agent Curtis (Rudd), who believe Edison is a willing participant in the heist. Fortunately for the Gen-Y Cops, Jane Quigley (Q), another FBI agent dealing with the case, starts to believe Edison is innocent.
This sequel to GEN-X COPS (1999) begins with a demonstration of the RS1’s powers back in the USA, where it withstands flames and heavy machine gun fire, can hit flying objects with pinpoint accuracy… and can delicately pick up a piece of tofu with its metal fingers (I’m sure that last ability will always come in useful for an attack-bot!) The RS1 does get momentarily hacked, however, though this doesn’t prevent the FBI from concluding it’s still safe to take this lethal killing machine to Hong Kong for the military tech show.
The technology exhibition show itself is wittily handled, introducing such robots as Hong Kong’s D1010, which can predict lottery numbers and is repeatedly mistaken for a trash can, France’s Jerry L robot, which gets its head ripped off in a fight with RS1, and China’s Tung Fung robot, which loses one of its arms during a display and is mockingly referred to as a ‘One-Armed Boxer’.
GEN-Y COPS has its fair share of lowbrow humour, including the moment idiotic cop Alien scrapes his dandruff into the FBI’s coffee cups, and any hope the film has of being taken seriously is severely hampered by the fact the protagonists, especially Alien, come across as borderline buffoons much of the time, with scenes of them accidentally blowing up a car and giggling like schoolboys preventing them from even remotely resembling professional law enforcement officers.
The script makes an effort to use a lot of English dialogue, written by Bey Logan, though it tends to depend too much on generic terms like “hey, man” and “goddamn it’, but the movie does finally kick into gear, proving to be a pleasing, amusing sci-fi-tinged actioner, with robot rampages, shots of the heroes diving in slow motion from explosions and a full body burn stunt during the finale.
Mainly brought to life via practical effects, the RS1 has a Transformers-like head and looks really rather good onscreen, using a rocket launcher, machine guns, a flamethrower and even an extendable fist to wreak havoc wherever it goes. It’s a shame, then, that a showdown with the Tung Fung robot at the end uses low grade CGI to create the Chinese automaton.
GEN-Y COPS gets an unduly bad rap from many reviewers, but it’s a mindlessly enjoyable, throwaway flick that boasts gunfights, flashbacks involving a man dressed as a lobster, kung fu skirmishes, a fun cameo by Anthony Wong as a mainland Chinese scientist, and a decent robot antagonist. Plus, there’s the added pleasure of seeing a youthful Paul Rudd go from potential adversary to good guy, take part in some Hong Kong-style fighting and even speak a little Cantonese!
My advice is to put your brain on hold and revel in the colourful nonsense.
The RS1 robot was made by Global Effects (Chris Gilman, Brian Bero, Jeff Jingle and Skip Wilder), who created one puppeteered robot, plus a costume. This suit was then repurposed/ remade for use as Chris Gilman’s ‘Protocop’ costume in KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005).
This Hong Kong horror-comedy was directed by Lau Sze-Yue, stars Sandra Ng, Sharon Kwok and Danny Chan, and features a school for learning magic that is threatened by a bunch of evil beings.
Together with lots of (quite puerile and dated) gags and pratfalls, there are some novel fantasy elements. For instance, a group of the students attempt to beat the supernatural foes by reincarnating into various ‘foreign gods’. So, one by one, they turn into Chinese versions of Elvis, Charlie Chaplin and Jesus… with the tune ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ playing in the background! The hero also transforms into ‘Bruce Lee’, complete with GAME OF DEATH orange tracksuit. The most imaginative reincarnation occurs when four of the students merge into one being… a multi-faced Hindu god. Neat idea!
One of the villains bares his torso to reveal a chest covered with screaming visages à la Freddy Krueger and another antagonist turns into a particularly nice cell-animated bat/ghost.
In one scene guaranteed to make you grimace, a guy in a bunk bed dreams of branding a chained up girl whilst dressed up like Hitler… and as he enjoys his dream he begins to dribble pints of spittle, which drips down into the mouth of the man sleeping in the bunk below him. Subtle humour at its best!
This film was directed by Steve (REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES) Sekely and stars Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette (PARANOIAC) Scott and Kieron (DOCTOR BLOOD’S COFFIN) Moore.
Though it is not very faithful to the John Wyndham novel, I do like this movie, with its perambulating killer plants and scenes of a world where almost everyone has gone blind after watching a dazzling meteor shower. These type of apocalyptic survival tales are always of interest, I think, as they offer us the opportunity to see what the few ‘lucky’ survivors choose to do in a situation devoid of the old rules and certainties.
I love all the shots of a desolate London filled with wrecked double decker buses and abandoned cars, etc, which definitely influenced the beginning of 28 DAYS LATER, and I also enjoy watching the creepy sequence set in one of the large glasshouses in Kew Gardens (which is not far from where I live!)
The triffids themselves are often criticised for being pretty sub-par, but I think they work well individually, and their mobile, stubby roots and clicking stalk-heads look fine in close-up. The triffids work less well when required to be seen in larger numbers, where it’s obvious many of them are guys in plant costumes. Even then, there are some good moments, such as when Howard Keel turns a fuel truck into a DIY flamethrower to torch rows of triffids.
There wasn’t enough footage of the main story to make a full length film, so extra scenes were shot, by an uncredited Freddie Francis, of Kieron Moore and Janette Scott in a lighthouse, which provides the movie with the memorable sequence of a dismembered triffid piecing itself back together. These scenes in the lighthouse definitely have more tension than some of the other portions of the movie.
THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS doesn’t effectively deal with the catastrophe-induced collapse of law and order like the novel, but it is a colourful, watchable, relatively big-scale killer plant flick!
Some newspaper ads…
Here are some great posters for the movie…
Finally, here’s the luridly wonderful art for THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS American posters, by illustrator Joseph Smith, who also painted posters for GORGO, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and THE GIANT BEHEMOTH…
This Hong Kong horror flick was directed (and written) by Dickson To, stars Gigi Lai, Anthony Wong, Shirley Cheung and Law Lan, and was produced by Wong Jing.
Journalist Gigi (Lai) goes back to her family home in Hong Kong’s Yuen Long District with her cop husband Fai (Wong), to help her mom (Lan) and sister (Cheung) deal with various problems, including hauntings and several attempted acts of sabotage perpetrated by lowlifes working for Mr Chin, a shady businessman.
Starting out promisingly with a dead dog being strung up outside the mom’s home and a guy getting transfixed by a television aerial, the movie unfortunately soon becomes a rather pedestrian, underachieving affair, lacking suspense or any sense of dread. The plot seems content to plod along with scenes of Gigi and Fai’s easy-going, unexceptional marital life, interspersed with the occasional glimpse of a creepy kid or similar underwhelming incident.
Gigi becomes increasingly concerned about what is happening at the family home and is given various snippets of advice and pearls of occult wisdom by one of her work colleagues, Uncle Ming, which includes his theory that the weird phone calls she’s been getting in the middle of the night are from ghosts that are ‘on the same frequency’ as Gigi.
Events become stranger when Fai’s soul is trapped in an endless Mahjong game and the ghostly young girl becomes more of an ongoing presence at the property. Gigi, with the help of Uncle Ming, eventually gets to the bottom of what is happening, after her mute mom’s soul is released from her body (thanks to the application of electricity!) so that she can explain everything. The mother’s soul reminds Gigi that she’d had an abortion several years earlier… and the spectral girl is actually her unborn daughter’s spirit, which is causing Fai and Gigi’s sister Fen to become possessed by other ghosts.
Gigi allows the ghostly girl to stick her hand right through her body, but this doesn’t happen in reality, and Gigi’s willingness to sacrifice herself placates her aborted daughter’s angry spirit. Now Gigi teams-up with her wraith daughter in an attempt to extricate Fai’s soul from the ongoing ghostly Mahjong game…
HAUNTED MANSION does improve towards the end, but it suffers overall from poor plotting choices, including sidelining Anthony Wong’s interesting, slightly loutish & clumsy character for a large chunk of the second half of the movie, and never explaining the reason why Mr Chin, the businessman villain, is so desperate to get hold of the property that he’s willing to kill for it. There’s a jarring shift in tone, too, when the film momentarily veers into Cat III territory, as Mr Chin’s wife gets stripped and assaulted in their office by an unseen entity. Chin is then attacked and strangled by the possessed wife, leaving his whole subplot hanging.
A decent moment involves the blue-lit, long-nailed ghost girl jumping onto the back of one of Mr Chin’s minions when he attempts to burn down the house, plus there are a couple of scenes featuring cut-out figurines from the mansion’s elaborate shrine that seem to move around of their own volition, though this cool concept is soon forgotten, which is a shame, as they added a novel visual aspect to the story.