omasato bought "Encounters of the Spooky Kind 2 (Remastered Edition)"
on our website
06/12/2017 - 02:33:50 AM
Worth the wait
I must say, I had been surprised to hear that there was to be an English dubbed version of this film. Even the original subtitled version was something of a surprise if you have looked for this movie, you would know what I mean but to sum it up, there had been an English subtitled VHS at some point, a French subtitled DVD release and Chinese dubbed and subbed copies aplenty.
The menu screen is a choice between the English dubbed with subtitles version, the original Chinese with English subtitles and finally the theatrical trailer.
The picture quality overall I would say is a pretty good transfer, I have two other copies from China that I cannot honestly say are visually worse as they are both on discs with multiple other films on them which honestly makes most of the videos on said discs a bit dodgy.
The subtitles are far from the worst I have ever seen, I would say that they don't interfere with the movie itself, are all centered nicely-I have seen plenty of movies where it was formatted wrong and would get cut off or-be too large as to envelope the screen, which I can say that wasn't a problem here.
As for the dubbing, I would say it was pretty good. Just kind of drives me nuts as I am sure I have heard all those voices before and this was honestly the first time I ever bought from this website. I know the person I had been in contact with through the site told me they were working on the dub-job, so I have to imagine it was a commissioned work through the site. Either way though, would and indeed will be interesting to go over my other films and compare voice actors. Imagine that since a lot of the actors were recycled in similar films with often similar roles, maybe the voice dubbers would get recast again as well?
The disc itself has a nicely one print job on the disc itself and not some magic marker title on the top, has that purple-hued bottom half that usually is seen with DVD-r ed films and was itself inside of a paper sleeve inside of a typical DVD case with some nice artwork. I cannot say for sure where the artwork originates from though nor the synopsis, not for certain. I know the artwork doesn't match what I have seen with the VHS edition from the united states though the synopsis does perhaps-never had my hands on one to be able to say for sure. In all, a pretty good purchase-made even better as it happened to have come out around the same time as a recent sale even that I was therefore able to take advantage of, but, even then $10 for this is more than reasonable. I would say quality-wise, probably at least as good as what you would get from a Tai-Seng film released through Amazon.com's DVD-r program. Not sure they are still going which is a shame, though I do seem to recall, you would get a bit less content-wise, artwork-wise and I believe they were at least $5 more.
But oh,that synopsis on the back. True to form with Chinese films, I find. I imagine its more a matter of what is really lost in the translation process than anything, but still. To say that it is a bit off would be an understatement. Though I do suppose I would say that it is a part of the charm of these films. I own many Tai-Seng releases and they all tend to have the original Chinese script as well as the English translation alongside it, so, makes this DVD feel that much more authentic.
My synopsis and to be clear, there will be spoilers so, yeah. Maybe stick with the one on the listings' description if that is a problem.
Abao. He wakes up from a dream wherein he and his fiancee are apparently fleeing from their families with plans to elope. They hide away in a house that is apparently abandoned that houses two coffins that wind up containing a male and female hopping vampire. The male vampire ends up sharing a opium pipe with Abao and then tries to get Chu-the fiancee involved, which she isn't interested in. There is a fight, the female vampire wakes up and attacks Chu as well though seems rather interested in Abao.
Why is that important? Well, while it isn't ever said outright, Abao and Chu may be Fiancees, promised to each other before they were born even, but it would seem at least that Abao is broke. Chu's father owns a nice enough restaurant, complains that Abao starts fights with patrons-mostly ones that try to cat-call Chu, and finally lays down the law that, should Abao not be able to come up with ummmm.... Top of my head I cannot say, but it did sound rather expensive. Lot of chickens and so forth. Gives the impression that money and a lack thereof might be more at the heart of the issue here and why they eloped in the dream. Honestly though, not sure where the tea-house worker bit comes in.
Abao is a student under a Taoist priest played by Lam Ching Ying. Some say Lam was rather pigeon-holed into such roles for most of his later career. Not wrong, but hey-he was good in most everything I have seen him in. Lam, hearing of his student's troubles lends him enough money to rent a food cart from a local business owner to try and make his fortune. No one really seems all that interested in his food though until late that first night... When he is visited by a GHOST... Glazing over a few details that I could very well provide here, but I won't, he helps her.
Abao's fellow student suggests that the ghost can help him build his fortune faster since he has been helping her out, which she does try. Things don't work out so good though on that end. Wondering about that other guy in the main synopsis-Master Shi? One of very few names listed here and I haven't mentioned him even once. Well, I am getting to him. He does obviously play something of an important role after all.
Master Shi is a womanizer. I doubt that he honestly has any romantic intentions for Chu, but he certainly doesn't want Abao to get her either. Though he might maybe be interested in her father's fortune... Anyway. he either has recently or has for some time now, had employed a dark magician. An evil priest, a 'nega-lam' if you will. I say this as the other synopsis seems to indicate that he only hires him on more recently to assist Shi fight against Abao though, I honestly get the impression that he might have had more to do with Shi's wealth as it is said at one point in the film that Shi has no problem with walking over others, exploiting weaknesses and such. Even had aspirations of raping the female ghost at one point so, yeah.
Wonder what the cover art is though, as in, why is Sammo Hung naked like that? Well, Shi and Nega-Lam use ark magic to scare Abao bad enough that his spirit leaves his body behind. Not dead mind you, just soulless. Shi wanted to let Chu's father see him like this to presumably call off the engagement. Things don't quite work out for them though, Abao does get his soul back but in the spirit of escalating things beyond the point that most would just give up, Shi and Nega-Lam invite Chu's father over to their place, feed him a drink that places him under their control. What looked like a mixture of frog caviar, sesame seeds and milk though I am sure the seeds and milk were something else-the frog bit looked about right. This drink however proves to be poisonous...
Several fights into the film and we see Lam fighting Nega-Lam, the two of them some distance away from each other, both using magic. Lam wins and Nega-Lam retreats a ways to gather strength and wait for Lam, Abao and the other student to arrive to fight for the medicine to save Chu's father. There is a film called 'Brutal Sorcery,' not a terrible film but I think that the end of that movie kind of shows what Chu's father would be in for should he fail to get the medicine he needs. He starts to swell up and a plant begins to sprout from his navel. Explode? Maybe. But, in the end, the good guys fight and win and the medicine is ummmm... Available. Bit of a joke about that that literally ends the film though. I won't ruin that, but lets just say, Shi was fed the medicine at some point and they need to get it from him. Though not how you would likely imagine.
Special effects were pretty good overall, practical and not digital. I wouldn't say this was a lower end of the budget spectrum film. No, those were really more of the mid 90's that things would usually get cheaper. Multiple locations, costumes, filming outside and not in a enclosed environment. Questionable employment of livestock and other animals that, like with the dogs we see, I suppose could still qualify as livestock. Though a couple we see did look more like blood hounds... Ah, whatever.
As far as complaints about the film itself, well, one things I generally tend to notice in such films is that there is usually its and pieces of information that are left out. How long had Shi been keeping Nega-Lam? Why didn't Abao just marry Chu if he didn't want people eyeing her day and night as a waitress? I am so sure that would have ended though after they had gotten married, I mean, no one would possible chase after her then, right? Finally, the title itself. I believe the original Chinese title translates to either Ghost Bites Ghost or Ghost Vs. Ghost. A lot of the characters who appeared in this film were in Close encounters of the Spooky Kind part one, though the two don't have anything else to do with each other apparently. I wonder if 'The dead and the Deadly' would be an appropriate sequel to either film then(Sammo's character's wife was cheating on him with a wealthy guy-politician type. Also the only one of those 3 titles where his character is already married and not engaged).
Only thing I might suggest for the company responsible for putting all this together, might be to include a tacked on credit role for the dubbing and subbing jobs. Oh, also, might recommend including lists of other films the actors in the movie were in-possibly in the form of shameless product placement. Wink wink, nod nod, nudge nudge and so on. The kind of thing that Joe-average who enjoyed the movie might actually click on themselves. Either way.
Thank you and take care...