Sex, eroticism, or illicit nookie (if you're Talbot Rothwell) has played a potent part in Chinese ghost stories going back to their literary origins with scholar Pu Songling. Their bawdier aspects were emphasized in a run of saucy screen adaptations from Shaw Brothers auteur Li Han-hsiang, while a more elegant, if no less scintillating, sensuality characterized the celebrated supernatural romances of the Eighties and Nineties. For all its lyricism and artistry, people often forget that A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) has Joey Wong as a ghost who basically shags men to death. These films in turn spawned a more salacious string of Category III sexploitation ghost stories dragging the genre back to the down and dirty. Erotic Ghost Story (1990) was among the first, a vehicle for busty sex starlet Amy Yip with a plot that plays like a softcore variation on The Witches of Eastwick (1987): horny "god of lust" Wu Tung seduces three heavenly fairies who eventually rebel and end his wicked ways. Although the presence of Amy Yip gained the original some cult infamy, its sequel is superior, stranger and sexier. Part two reduces the Yipster to a small cameo (as a nun!) but plays like Hammer horror meets Emmanuelle as filtered through the deranged mindset of Ken Russell. The result is even wilder than that sounds.
Having been reincarnated for his sins, Wu Tung now inhabits the Earth as a horny, heavy metal demon called Chiu-Sheng (Anthony Wong). Snarling bare-chested in bronze shoulder pads with a shaggy white mane, making him look like refuge from glam rock band KISS, plus a phallic tail, he demands a virgin sacrifice lest he terrorize the local village. Each year the local lottery selects one unlucky lass for Chiu-Sheng to ravish back at his dry ice-and-red latex lair while his demon concubine (Sayuri Ichijo) cavorts about dripping candle wax over her naked body. Night upon night of non-stop shagging, soon turns the poor peasant girl into a zombified satanic sex slave.
One year on, winsome heroine Fang Yu-Yin (Charine Chan Ka-Ling) is mortified when her number comes up, especially since she has only just fallen for handsome fisherman Shan-Ken (Kwok Yiu-Wah), who has a sexy sister called Chan (Chik King-Man), a loincloth clad warrior-babe. Remember her, she's important. Unwilling to surrender his true love, Shan-Ken grabs an axe and hacks into Chiu-Sheng, just as the demon realises Yu-Yin is the reincarnation of his long-lost love from heaven, Hsiao Yen (Chang Siu-Yin). Small world, huh? While Chiu-Sheng retreats into a mystical cocoon to heal his wounds, his demon concubine sneaks into the village seeking vengeance. Her evil plan involves seducing Shan-Ken's lusty neighbour (Gwong Ting-Woh) and his nymphomaniac wife (Kong Hang-Ngai) via an astounding threesome wherein they go at it atop a bamboo jungle gym amidst billowing sheets and floating bubbles to the sounds an incongrous disco-reggae beat. Somehow this unholy union triggers a village wide outbreak of satanic carnality, sending the yokels into a sex-frenzy involving men, women and... what's that guy doing with that pig?! The randy neighbour is slain and his wife abducted and bissected by the newly-revived Chiu-Sheng, who sets to frantically screwing her lower half while her upper torso complains about a lack of satisfaction! Shan-Ken becomes a reluctant voyeur, imprisoned in a block of ice, prompting Yu-Yin and an axe-wielding Chan to set out and save him.
No less than six writers crafted this crazed concoction, among them the incredibly prolific Sze To On, who penned over two hundred screenplays including sleazy gems like Bewitched (1981) and The Boxer’s Omen (1983), both of which display a similarly lurid imagination. Produced by Golden Harvest, the sumptous cinematography and production values leave this a classier kind of erotica in spite of its rampant sweaty couplings and full-frontal nudity. The artful visuals have an abstract, almost avant-garde quality and the special effects are top notch. Beneath the lurid veneer of sex, gore and twisted strangeness, Erotic Ghost Story II spins a sweetly old-fashioned fairytale romance, one where true love conquers all. Its heroes and heroines are oddly childlike characters, earnest and pure-hearted in spite of their carnal urges. While the film flirts with hypocrisy in condemning wanton carnality as the root of all evil, sex equally proves to be our heroes' salvation. Yu-Yin thaws Shan-Ken from his cryogenic slumber using her naked body. And Chan saves the day by sharing a jaw-dropping, underwater kung fu sex duel with the raging demon!
Rather than merely stop the story for the next sex scene, the film keeps concocting ingenious and wacky new ways to integrate them into the plot. Of course, it still has its share of silliness: e.g. Chan distracts Chiu-Sheng at a crucial moment by miaowing like a cat (?!) and I haven't even mentioned the flying kung fu midget monk able to morph into a flaming fireball. Nevertheless, cinematographer-turned-actor Peter Ngor Chi-Kwan maintains a furious pace, in one of his three films as director. As an actor he also appeared in that other infamous Hong Kong sex fantasy: Sex & Zen (1991). The no less infamous Ivan Lai took over as director on Erotic Ghost Story III (1993) while unauthorized rip-offs arrived in the form of Erotic Ghost Story - Perfect Match (1997) and A Chinese Erotic Ghost Story (1998). All pale into insignificance beside part two, whose guilty pleasures include the sordid spectacle of future respected, award-winning actor Anthony Wong slumming it in glam metal drag, snarling and slobbering over beautiful women.