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Film Review: Seeding of a Ghost (1983)

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SYNOPSIS:

Chau is out driving his taxi one night when he accidentally runs over a man – a sorcerer being chased by a mob of angry villagers for his graverobbing shenanigans. Chau takes him away from the scene, but the sorcerer warns him that once black magic has entered his life, his destiny will be marred by bad luck. As if on cue, his sexy wife starts seeing another man, and is later raped and killed by a pair of oversexed young thugs when she is dumped by her lover. Chau enlists the help of the sorcerer to get revenge on the three men responsible for her death, despite the warning that the consequences of this course of action would be disastrous.

REVIEW:

Seeding of a Ghost is one of a handful of Hong Kong films that was rated Category III retroactively, after the rating was introduced in 1988. While it is infused with supernatural fantasy and the plot hinges on the effects of an evil curse, it also incorporates more reality-based horrors, such as rape and revenge. Throw in some regurgitated worms, a killer fetus and some ectoplasmic shagging, and the signs are clear – this is another Hong Kong hybrid (courtesy of the Shaw Brothers, masters of the game) that draws its influences from a number of sources, yet manages to churn out something that reaches dizzying creative heights.

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After the opening scene, which introduces the black magician, the film begins to relay an innocuous tale of a love triangle. Taxi driver Chau’s wife Irene, a dealer at the local casino, is seduced by suave customer Anthony Fang. Eventually this tail of two lovers is shunned by her new boyfriend, who refuses to leave his wife. He abandons her on a dark road in the middle of nowhere, and before long she is chased into a derelict mansion by a couple of horny delinquents. After the less inhibited of the two rapes her, she tries to escape but falls to her death from a balcony in the process, receiving her second impaling that night.

The film shifts gears when Chau, disillusioned with the inability of the cops to handle the situation, goes back to the hermit-like sorcerer and unwisely gives him carte blanche to even the score. He invokes the dead Irene’s spirit (the first “seeding”), leading it to her killers, who then suffer terrifying hallucinations. The rapist is drawn to the sorcerer’s lair, and the second meaning of the title becomes apparent when he informs Chau that his wife’s spirit (in the form of her rotting corpse) is going to shag the young guy.

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The scenes involving Irene’s corpse take place in a setting straight out of an old-fashioned horror comic. The sorcerer’s smoky and eerily lit man cave, filled with candles, masks, skulls and statues, resembles the haunted house or ghost train of a common amusement park. The production design and special effects here manage to be both tacky and intoxicating. The corpse is animated in various ways, breathing and moving its eyes and limbs – even levitating in one striking scene, where it is screwed and impregnated by the spirit of her rapist, who even in death is easily aroused.

The effects team really goes full throttle at the climax though, after a battle between priest and warlock involving a stream of fireballs (on strings). Irene’s lover Fang is attacked by his own wife, sporting eyeballs seemingly lifted from the prop department of Cat People. An unsuccessful exorcism results in a belligerent fetus bursting out of the wife’s belly, first affixing itself to the doctor’s face, then growing rapidly and sprouting tentacles, teeth, and even a humanoid head – recalling similar monstrosities from around the same time, such as John Carpenter’s The Thing, or the much less accomplished The Deadly Spawn. The beast’s anguished screams are lifted directly from The Oily Maniac (1976) – another amusingly absurd Shaw Brothers production.

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The climactic bloodbath is both puzzling and outrageous, ending the film on a deliciously inconclusive high note. It’s such a far cry from the early scenes of young lovers revelling in their romantic entanglements, replete with sultry saxophones, windblown hair in the bedroom, and the obligatory run along the beach in slow motion. In fact, Seeding of a Ghost is crammed full of gratuitous female nudity (probably to justify the saxophones) – between the sheets, in the shower, at the beach and during an exorcism. Even when reduced to decomposing skeletal remains, Irene isn’t afraid to exhibit her bony bosom – although viewers who remain turned on by the sight of her in these scenes are advised to seek help from their local black magician.

One comment

  1. Watched this last night. The music that plays over the monsters rampage during the finale, is lifted straight from the movie Alien. Yes, Scotts movie! LoL.

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