When I was researching my most successful blog to date- the Top 12 Weirdest Japanese Movie Monsters- I stumbled across this movie. I did not use it there since, well, it is Chinese. Even so, it is really odd and definitely needs some attention. It is mostly a horror film, but with some regional comedy and fantasy elements thrown in for good measure. It came out quite a while ago, but still hold up pretty well. Well, unless you look at the clothes. Before I get into my dissertation on anachronism in clothing, let's jump right into...
The film begins with some construction workers doing what they always do: desecrating landmarks. I know that we would not have buildings without them, but look at all the trouble they cause! Anyhow, a digital effect escapes some sort of seal, which upsets an old man looking on from a distance. This strange spirit travels to a large business office and decides to wreak havoc. It kills one guard and haunts an entire floor. The fact that said floor is coated in red light is just a bonus. The lone businessman around gets attacked by the spirit and becomes its vessel. That night, the police investigate the scene. The lead detective gets a visitor during her look-over of the building. That man: her father. He tells a tale of an evil cat spirit that has returned after fifty years of hibernation and must be killed. As he explains it, the beast has been killed by the males of the family in the previous eight appearances and that now is the time to strike. Once its ninth life is over, the family will be freed. She kindly tells him that he is crazy, a fact that he does not completely deny, and that he should be in the hospital. You see, he has terminal cancer, which just drives him to complete his mission. Time for a new helper, guy.
*As he goes hitchhiking, the man is almost run over by a man chauffeuring a pop starlet. They are both annoyed by her complaining, so they decide to tie her to a light pole. Ha ha ha...she'll surely catch hypothermia! They get chummy, but he too refuses to believe the man's story. Well, that is until he gets attacked by his rabid, cat-like boss. He narrowly escapes with his life- but not his car- and goes to see his mother, only to find his boss there again. After a long comedy bit (which still translates pretty well), the boss reveals himself and makes everything float around the room Yoda-style. Mother and son narrowly escape and the latter seeks out the old man in earnest. He agrees to take on the young man as his pupil, which does not please the daughter. She goes along with it begrudgingly, mostly because she wants to spend some time with her dad in his last days. The hunters attack the boss in his office, but the police arrive to find a wounded man and his attackers- oops. This brings us the return of our comedic relief character in the form of a pasty cop who has the hots for our heroine. He is not all that funny and adds nothing, so let's move on.
The real power of the evil cat creature is its ability to jump into any body that it chooses. In the climactic battle near the end, it manages to possess the man's daughter. What are they to do? After all, one of them is related to her and the other has begun to court her (FYI she goes all the way). The answer is to let the demon take over the dad instead and let the trainee do all the work. Maybe you should try a different...oh, never mind, he's dead now. Unfortunately, the girl is still possessed by the powerful spirit and chases our wussy heroine. The tension is built around the fat cop trying to get the magical arrow down to our hero through a grate. Of course, a lot of this tension is killed by the woman turning into a reject from 'Cats.' The man faces his fears and stabs the cat creature with the arrow, causing him to lose the love of his life (or rather, this week) and kill the creature. Oh wait, it is actually in the fat guy now. Thanks for the upbeat ending, movie. The End.
The movie is pretty good, but definitely has some odd tonal issues. The comedy comes out of nowhere and distracts from the overall story at times. To be fair, the comedy is not all that bad, which is a blessing considering my experience with Hard Gun. The special effects are not that bad, especially given that it is low-budget film made 22 years ago. I still say that the make-up work done for the finale is ridiculous. Who approved that?!? Mind you, the people acting like cats and hissing is already a little silly to begin with. The whole thing can be fun if you turn off your brain for a little while and want to have fun. If you are a picky critic, you may hate this movie. I fell somewhere in-between, to be honest.
*Pakistan brings us another film, this time from the modern era. Unfortunately, their modern era is the 1980s. Stay tuned...