Encounter Of The Spooky Kind (HK 1980)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 12/26/99
Director: Samo Hung
Cast: Samo Hung, Lam Ching Ying, Wu Ma

Samo Hung is generally considered responsible for creating the hopping vampire horror genre with this pioneering effort. Courageous Cheung (Samo Hung) is a poor pedicab driver who is always down on his luck. To make matters worse, his bitch of a wife constantly berates him and is having an affair with Cheung's boss, the richest man in town. When Cheung nearly catches him in the act, the bad guy decides that the only way he can continue screwing Cheung's wife is to kill Cheung. Hiring a bunch of thugs to murder him would be far too simple, so he instead hires a Taoist sorcerer to kill him with black magic. Poor Cheung is terrorized by hopping corpses and all sorts of sorcery until he teams up with a rival sorcerer and a grand wizard's duel takes place. Samo's fighting is at its blistering best, with several amazing displays of kung fu mastery. There's also a lot of head scratching Taoist mysticism going on, along with the nasty animal brutality that often accompanies it. Many useful things can be learned from this film. For instance, if you happen to reanimate a corpse with your own body heat, it will copy your every movement. But if a black cat crosses its path, it will turn and try to kill you. Now you know. Good stuff, and Samo's "punchline" at the end of the movie is alone worth the price of admission.