Seeding of a Ghost (1983)
Directed by Yang Chuan
Starring Man Biu Baak, Jaime Mei Chun Chik, Norman Chu, San Nam Hung, Maria Jo, Philip Ko, Sha-fei Ouyang, Mat Tin
Back in the late 90’s, Hong Kong films started to make their way into the American cult market, while it would be a few more years before Hollywood took notice of the likes of Jackie Chan and John Woo. At that time, while I was diving head first into the action stuff, I was also discovering the horror flicks coming from there as well. Just like they did with their action titles, some of their horror titles were like nothing we’d seen here in the states. For those who might not be familiar with Hong Kong horror, some may be more fantasy based, and even had some strange humor about, there were more than a few titles that you better have a strong stomach! When you get to hear about a sub-sub-genre of films referred simply as “bug-barfing movies”, you kind of know what you’re getting into.
Out of all the films that came out in the early ’80s, I feel that Seeding of a Ghost is one of the best then and still remains today. The story is about a cab driver who seeks revenge through black magic on the ones responsible for the death of his wife. He’s not sure who it was, but he wants them to pay, no matter what the cost. He runs across (literally) an old sorcerer while working who tells them he could help him, but the cost is high and not in the monetary sense. As the sorcerer starts to work his spells, the guilty start to suffer, from coughing up real worms and maggots to one of them having his wife become possessed. And it only gets crazier as we go, with an ending you’re not likely to forget.
With this having a very raw and unpolished look to it, it has more of a gritty feel to it. This is definitely not a film for the youngsters, since there is a lot of full frontal nudity and a rape sequence. Some of the gore is over the top for the time and more than a little bloody, but a bit cheesy at times. Either way, it is still damn entertaining! There is some early optical effects, but for the most part it is all practical effects and are pretty well done. I mean, how can you go wrong with a rubber corpse floating in the air, having sex with an animated lover?
A lot of the HK horror films had themes of black magic, along with the white magic used to defeat it. Some of it can be a bit hokey at times, but I’ve always enjoyed the mythology with the different spells and rites to them. They are also big on getting revenge for whatever or whoever has wronged them, even if it cost them their lives.