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A young scholar spends the night in a creepy temple that is said to be
haunted. He doesn't believe in the rumors, but after running into a Taoist
swordsman, he meets a beautiful lady ghost. She is forced by an evil old
witch to seduce young men, so the witch can kill them and drink their
This 1959 color production from the famous Shaw Bros. is finally available in a gorgeously restored version. By far the oldest movie I've seen from Hong Kong so far, this classic of the fantasy/horror genre, while very slow moving, is really charming and well worth watching after all these years. Like many Hong Kong movies, this one too is based on a story from famous Ching dynasty author Song-Ling Pu's collection of over 400 ghost and love stories. In 1987, the film was remade into one of the most popular and spectacular Hong Kong movies ever: "A Chinese Ghost Story".
Eversince watching the HK 1987 remake by Ching Siu-Tung, I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to watch this original so badly. So much had been heard about the famous actress who committed suicide at an early age. I find this version very different from the 80's version. I think fans of modern cinema will prefer the newer version as there are more fantasy, action and subplots but I find it difficult to compare which is a better movie. This version is more like a classical film and I find the direction and acting better. I find the horror scenes better too. The male lead is no Leslie Cheung and good too but appear over-aged as a scholar. The female ghost is much better and definitely better than the 80's version. I am totally enchanted by her look and acting. I cannot believe she is the same actress who played the female lead in Liang San Po and Chuk Ying Tai and the weak girl in another Chinese classic story, Dreams of the red chamber. She is so enchanting and sexy here. My vote here maybe overrated because of her.
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