Twist and turn your English exploitation and Category III rated titles and you have confusion. Well, Dick Cho's Chinese Erotic Ghost Story doesn't claim it's part of the Erotic Ghost Story trilogy made between 1990 and 1992 but it's part of the commercial belief that mixing the erotica and the ghost story is a good starting point. Add unique Asian goofiness and my personal cake would be sufficiently filled. For Dick Cho's second Category III outing in 1998 (the other being the rather excellent and disturbing A Chinese Torture Chamber Story II), he sets in tone the trademark I'd like to have associated with him. I.e. a conveyer of equally tough to take gore and sadism in a period Cat III movie as well as a conveyer of cheap, juvenile, comedic shenanigans with somewhat uniqueness. Heck, it's all in the name of sex and fun here in a story that merely takes a FEW cues from A Chinese Ghost Story and instead adds great fun with bodyfluids!
Chu Er Dan (Oscar Lam, the lead in The Forbidden Legend Sex & Chopsticks I & II) is a poor debt collector that is stuck with a no brain, constantly sleeping pig of a wife, is bullied by his boss Wang who even sends him to a haunted temple to retrieve a statue (before serving him a bowl of noodles with a cat head in it). Chu Er Dan is successful in retrieving it, the statue comes to life (played both as a statue and alive by Elvis Tsui) and grants the poor man what every man wants. A chance at wealth, revenge and a magic dick (played by Ronald Wong. Yes played)...
Nothing is good in Chu Er Dan's world, not even his urine and his timid self as a debt collector doesn't do him any favours either. The pig of wife actually is revealed to have pig parts by the statue known as Master Judge and it's these low-brow, juvenile moments that contributes to the film's success... and there's more to come. Essentially it's a well costumed and shot Category III period sex movie of the cheaper kind because yes, even the cheapest often had access to the grand costumes. Dick Cho thankfully also relegates the theft of the beats from Ching Siu-Tung's Tsui Hark produced classic A Chinese Ghost Story to a relative minimum before he launches Chu Er Dan onto the good paths of life. It's a clear moral and it's clear the character is going to enjoy the life a bit too much as he and dick chase pussy. And that marriage is of course going to get an overhaul and is going to viewed with a fresh pair of eyes come ending time as well. Very much an echo of the Ximen Qing character from Jin Ping Mei and one lead Oscar Lam would go on to portray in The Forbidden Legend Sex & Chopsticks I & II. Lam also is the type of lead you could easily dismiss and while clearly an uneven performer, he rolls along nicely with the material with a fair take on a dopey charm that switches to sex crazed with way too much power.
What's going to make or break Chinese Erotic Ghost Story is very much connected to its low budget origins that still means Dick Cho and company are trying out elaborate outrageousness, primarily represented by a hilarious Ronald Wong as the magic dick. Yes, it speaks back to Chu Er Dan, it looks like a buddhist monk and when in action, Wong is throwing himself around various pieces of cloth meant to represent a vagina and spurts milk meant to represent semen. It's a joke on repeat, very childish but the package doesn't work without it. It's infectious and when revealed the dick also can leave Chu Er Dan to pursue its own needs, you can't help but to laugh at the absurdity. Not so much at the creativity visually and filmmaking-wise because those means aren't available to Dick Cho here.
Also tapping into actor Elvis Tsui almost looking like he's going to burst when acting big, it's a further trademark to Chinese Erotic Ghost Story that is almost reassuring. It's a genre movie delivering, if only a fair amount of what can be delivered by Hong Kong filmmakers when working in this area but it's incredibly fun, at times sexy but mostly disgustingly goofy. Dick Cho found a trademark over 2 movies in 1998 and yet again proved there was life in the III rating and that the stamp is a mark of rude quality too.
The DVD (Mei Ah):
Video: 1.70:1 non-anamorphic widescreen.
Audio: Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.1 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.1.
Subtitles: English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.
Extras: Trailers for Chinese Erotic Ghost Story and Ringo Lam's The Suspect.
reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson