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種鬼 (1983)
Seeding of a Ghost

Reviewed by: Masterofoneinchpunch
Date: 11/02/2011
Summary: We must reap what we sew

I have been putting this off for a few years (I have had the DVD since 2009) mainly because I thought it was going to be shockfest that outdid The Boxer’s Omen in gonzo-style horror. Well it was not even close to The Boxer’s Omen which still holds a place deep in the suppressed subconscious of my cranium (actually it is more weird and gross than actually scary). In fact this has to be one of the most overstated and overhyped horror films of Hong Kong though this is not a horrible film.

Chow (Phillip Ko: The Boxer’s Omen, Shaolin Intruders) interrupts black magic by inadvertently saving the life of a black magic priest who is being chased down by an angry mob. Because of this the priest says at best he will get very sick and at worst his whole family will die. Since this is a horror film we know which scenario is going to take place. A film with him just being sick would not be as fun. But it is especially hilarious that it seems that the angry mob gets off clean and that he picked up the priest far from where the incantation went awry. I am probably over-thinking this.

Chow’s wife Irene has been cheating on him because of his lowly taxi driver job, taxi drivers are a deranged lot (ask Anthony Wong), and his hair (seriously one of the worst wigs I have seen, worse than a Sammo Hung haircut). She is enticed by playboy Anthony Fong Ming (Norman Chu Siu-Keung: Bastard Swordsman) who visits her job of dealing cards and showers her with money, gifts, better hair (to be fair to Phillip check out Norman’s perm in Hong Kong Godfather) and affection. One night those two adulterers have a fight and she gets out of the car and goes off by herself. Never good to be alone late at night when ruffians are about. She is confronted by two young hooligans who chase her down, one rapes her and ultimately she gets killed (why she runs into an abandoned house I do not know, why there would be an abandoned house in an abandoned area Hong Kong I also do not know).

When Chow finds out she is dead, he is ultimately a suspect for about 15 seconds. Fong is another suspect and despondent Chow finds out about the affair. He gets bad ideas in his head and wants revenge at all costs for those involved and goes to the black magic priest (still dressed like a shirtless jungle native; I wonder if he goes to the store like that) to seek revenge. This requires that they dig out his wife’s corpse and he is warned that his monomaniacal revenge will likely result in his demise as well. The corpse is used quite effectively and it is creepy, the most scary aspect of the film. You can see it on the cover of the DVD and poster.

Fans of horror could do worse by seeking this out. I do not think it is as unique/interesting/gratuitous as Black Magic or The Boxer’s Omen out of the Shaw Brothers horror oeuvre and I would suggest seeking those out first. This film overdoes the sleazy exploitation aspect of it, elongates the nudity and the film comes off more as a voyeuristic exercise especially in the beginning which starts to drag on. The slow motion topless running scene becomes almost absurd in its length and its use of the zoom lens. But you do get the benefit of a few fight scenes decently done involving Phillip Ko (still mad about the outcome with Norman Chu) who proves once again that you should not mess with taxi drivers or Phillip Ko. You also get a variety of gross out moments, Taoist priests, scares all done better in a variety of Hong Kong films. However, when the ghost is seeded there are plenty of horror elements, while keeping the exploitation element alive, especially towards the finale that will be of interest to viewers. There you get to witness a creature that seems inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing while a segment from the soundtrack from Alien is played.

I have the R1 Image release and it has English and Spanish subtitles. It comes with the Mandarin mono dub only. The R3 IVL release comes with both the Cantonese and Mandarin dub. At the time of the Hong Kong audience would have heard the Cantonese soundtrack, but most of the transnational audience would have heard it in Mandarin. Since at the time post dubbing was the norm and multiple dialects were often used on set it does not matter as much to me. However, this is a controversial topic where some have to have the “preferred” dub. I personally would like a release from this time period to have both the Cantonese and Mandarin language, but I will take what I can get. There are plenty of the Image released Shaw Brothers trailers (not the original trailers) on this release, but no trailer for the movie.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 03/12/2010
Summary: Quite odd, yet compelling.

This film might hurt your eyes or twist up your brain into something you might not be able to control. Don't miss it.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 08/15/2008

Trashy and only vaguely entertaining, until the final scene which is amusingly batshit :-)

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 01/01/2008
Summary: Got a Black Magic Woman...

Chow (Phillip Ko) is a taxi driver whose wife Irene (Maria Yuen) is having an affair with a casino gambler named Fong (Norman Chu). When Irene is raped by a pair of youths and dies in an attempt to escape, Chow summons her spirit with the aid of a mono-brow Black Magic priest to exact revenge on all guilty parties. But the ultimate revenge is hinted at by a prophesy of a son carrying out the final justice, and as no one involved has offspring, the warning is not heeded. But they had reckoned without the seeding of a ghost...

Reported to be the third and final film in the BLACK MAGIC series (although it shares none of the cast and has a different director, leading me to think it might be a spurious claim), it cannot be denied that SEEDING OF A GHOST is a pile of utter trash. But it can also be an entertaining pile of utter trash.

The film starts out hinting at trouble ahead when Chow knocks over a priest in his taxi, only to find the old guy is safe and well in his back seat and eager for a ride home. We then forget all about that and the focus shifts to soft-core pornography for a while. Quite a while, in fact. Irene gets her kit off at the drop of a hat in some of the most gratuitous nude scenes I’ve ever seen. For example, she’s shown playing about with Norman Chu on the beach (I think it was him and not Phillip Ko, but to be honest I wasn’t paying too much attention) when her top gets ripped off and she playfully runs after him in slow motion. And just so you get the message, we zoom in on her bouncing breasts for a few seconds. Now that scene could possibly be defended (except for the boob-zoom shot) as showing the blossoming of her illicit relationship with Fong but a little while later we see her starkers in the shower. Accompanied by sleazy sax muzak, we watch her wash and zoom in yet again on her boobs and...well, there’s a fair bit of full-frontal nudity in the film. This kind of thing elicits many reactions in people, but to be honest I thought it was just funny. Not the actual nudity itself, but the way in which it is so desperately and cynically used – a hallmark of late-era Shaw Brothers productions, sadly.

With this in mind, it is somewhat surprising that the rape scene that follows is not as exploitative as it could have been. True, her assailants do smack her around considerably (and would probably prevent the film getting an uncut release in the UK, I suspect) but this is not in the same ballpark as Sammo Hung’s IRON FISTED MONK, whose rape scene was purely meant to titillate viewers. This sets up the revenge plot for the second half of the movie when Chow seeks out the priest he knocked over at the start of the film to get revenge on the killers.

All manner of nastiness follows, such as people vomiting worms and unwittingly eating brains and drinking blood. Fong’s wife becomes possessed and needs the help of a Taoist priest (while she’s naked, obviously). The effects are obviously low budget, but as with most things of this nature, there are one or two cool effects in with all the cheap make-up and puppetry. The “creature” effects (inspired, no doubt, by John Carpenter’s THE THING) are particularly poor and I suspect that the DVD age hasn’t helped matters very much by showing all the limitations so clearly. The animation sequence for the “seeding” is quite good, however, and is similar to the effects in Wu Ma’s DEAD AND THE DEADLY from the same year.

From all the buzz surrounding the DVD release of SEEDING OF A GHOST, it is evidently a much-loved piece of eighties Asian horror. I have no doubt at all that in its day it would held its own with many other similar films from the lower end of the genre, and it is certainly still watchable if you can turn a blind eye to its faults. One final note: I would recommend watching this film with the Cantonese audio track, as the Mandarin track seemed dull and lifeless.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: cpardo
Date: 07/14/2005
Summary: ICK!!! But...

I read a lot about this movie, and I thought "it couldn't be that nasty, could it?" So I watched it...

This tale of revenge a la voodoo spells, with people spewing worms, faces being torn off and alien monsters bursting from an expectant mother's belly, only to be blown away in the end, left me disturbed and with understandably a bad taste in my mouth. I only watch really good horror movies and nothing else, so this isn't up my alley. I haven't watched it since, so it's more disgusting than scary to me. But I wanted to see it, so... It's amazing this yucky movie came out in '83 when there were no Cat. III ratings. So it may satisfy a curiosity, but you may regret it!

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Boring and stupid. Everyone talks about how extreme this film is and yet nothing happens in the first hour. . . Nothing! When the finale does come it's all very cheesy and I kept going, "so what?" The only way the finale is scary (or even over the top) is if you don't watch horror films. For the rest of us it's too little way too late.

[Reviewed by John Robert Dodd]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

A cuckolded husband asks a witchdoctor to help him avengethe rape and murder of his wife. The spell turns her into Plazawa, a living mummy who possesses several women and finally enters an expectant mother, whose fetus explodes Aliens-style and becomes a tentacled Thing-like killer. Blood, guts, and gross-out effects (some good, some not) carry the day.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6