The Hong Kong film industry is one of the few film industries around the world that doesn’t have any sort of main government financial support. It’s also one the bigger and more productive film industries behind the U.S., India and France. In Asia it’s so domineering that it almost wiped out the Taiwanese film industry in the early 1990s.
Unlike mainland China, Hong Kong has been producing fantasy films forever. Wuxia or fantastical kung fu movies have been a staple in the industry since the 1940’s. Horror movies have been plentiful but they have also combined the genres to include kung fu with the genre.
The first film to do this was the 1974’s The Legend of the 7 Golden Brothers, a joint film that merged Hammer Horror with Shaw Brothers kung fu. It was an interesting experiment which leads to today’s movie, the classic Encounters of the Spooky Kind aka Spooky Encounters.
Sammo Hung wrote, directed and starred in this tale of terror, mysticism and kung fu. Hung is a hard worker who almost discovers that his wife is having an affair with his boss. His boss, worried about getting caught, hires a priest to curse and kill Hung. They trick Hung to stay a night in a haunted temple and the priest controls a corpse in an attempt to kill Hung. Fortunately the priest’s former partner has decided to help Hung leading to a big wizard fight between the two. The film is creepy and innovative. The opening scene, a nightmare where corpses are chasing Sammo is horrifying. The film lead to a sequel and an implosions of similar horror movies. Tsui Hark’s A Chinese Ghost Story being the most notable of them.