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John’s Horror Corner: Seeding of a Ghost (1983; aka Zhong gui), a Chinese horror-fantasy revenge movie about sorcery, a sex ghost and a revenge baby.

October 3, 2020

MY CALL: After an unexpected sexy crime thriller opening (and middle), this eventually mutates into something disgusting, exploitative and utterly ridiculous. To be clear, I liked it. Sure, it starts slow. But it reaches full-tilt bonkers by the end. MOVIES LIKE Seeding of a Ghost: If it’s Chinese sorcerers you want, then look no further than this James Hong double feature: The Vineyard (1989) and Big Trouble in Little China (1986). For more dark sorcery, try Viy: Forbidden Empire (2014), Mystics in Bali (1981), The Devil’s Sword (1984), Conquest (1983), Black Magic (1975), Black Magic 2 (1976), The Boxer’s Omen (1983), Devil Fetus (1983), Devil Fetus 2 (1984) and Thinner (1996).

Shortly after Hong Kong taxi driver Zhou (Phillip Ko; The Boxer’s Omen) hits a scrappy sorcerer (Hussein Abu Hassan; Centipede Horror) with his car, his wife Irene (Maria Jo; Lethal Panther) goes from thoughtful, loyal and affectionate to a sultry adulteress giving in to Ming’s (Norman Chu; Black Magic, The Web of Death) advances at her workplace. Irene is subsequently raped and murdered by two young criminals. Seeking the sorcerer who was the cause of his curse upon his life, Zhou begs for help at any cost to turn the curse to his enemies. That’s the premise. And while it may sound straightforward, director Kuen Yeung (aka, Chuan Yang; Ghost’s Lover) had some interesting ideas as to how to bring this story to life on screen. And few of these ideas are… classy.

For example, this film features what could only be described as the absolute longest slow-motion topless running scene in cinema history. It’s like the filmmakers wanted to give your mother or spouse every possible opportunity to walk in on you while watching this scene. Even clothed in bathing suits, Baywatch doubtfully ever featured such a lengthy and breasty slow-motion run on the beach. And, now that we’re on the topic, there’s quite a bit of nudity, feisty bedroom flirting and sex (and sexual assault) scenes in this movie. You’d think you were watching a sexy thriller movie; something you’d find showing on the Hong Kong CINEMAX channel after midnight.

After Irene is raped and murdered, the movie shifts into an action-crime thriller loaded with police interrogations and long street fights. There’s street brawling martial arts and everything is told with a straight face. It’s as if a completely new director was telling the middle of this movie’s story in a completely different genre.

Then we shift into the third act when Zhou pleas with the sorcerer who created all of his bad luck and the sorcerer offers to lead the ghost of his murdered wife to her killers. It’s not until this point that Chinese mysticism and black magic run amok as the sorcerer conjures her naked mummified remains and slowly turns them into something more zombie-ish and deliciously gross. Now this is the movie I’ve been waiting to see.

This vengeful black magic is quirky. Starting off rather weak, it induces the vomiting of worms, various hallucinations, and irritable bathroom plumbing. But it soon graduates to possessing naked wives and incestuous siblings to exact Irene’s dirty work from the grave. I’ve gotta’ say it again, there’s a lot of nudity. And now for a sentence I never thought I’d write… Eventually Irene’s spirit (i.e., her mummy-zombie body) has spectral sex with her victim’s ghost and becomes pregnant with a spirit of vengeance. It’s… weird.  And it gets weirder.

So after impregnating Irene’s corpse, the revenge baby subsequently forms in the belly of Ming’s recently possessed and exorcised wife, from whose full-term stomach EXPLODES a gory pulsating glob in a horrific birth scene. As if inspired by The Thing (1982), it forms a mass of malformed bloody tissue, teeth and lashing tentacles and attacks Ming’s guests, who had arrived to enjoy a Couples Game Night. A human head even emerges from this aberration’s mouth and “projectile bites” like the inner mouth of an Alien (1979) xenomorph.

Nice little surprise. After this monster is finally killed… the movie just ends. Like, freeze frame on the dead monster, and cue the credits.

After an unexpected sexy crime thriller opening, this mutated into something grossly satisfying and utterly ridiculous. The corpse, monster and gore effects were all ambitious, impressive (on a budget) and very disgusting. Sure, it takes a while to rev up. But once it does, it’s full-tilt bonkers and well worth the wait.

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