HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
Anbessa
Man in Grey, The
Harakiri
Way to the Stars, The
Man Who Skied Down Everest, The
Bottoms Up!
   
 
Newest Articles
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
   
 
  All New Human Skin Lanterns Slip me some skin
Year: 1993
Director: Andrew Lau
Stars: Tony Leung Ka Fai, Chingamy Yau, Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung, Roy Cheung, Kingdom Yuen King-Tan, Ronald Wong Ban, Dion Lam Dik On, Teresa Ha Ping, Joe Cheung Tung Ho, Lok Wai
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Romance, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: As the title suggests, this is a remake of the Shaw Brothers horror classic Human Skin Lanterns (1982) though it bears little resemblance to its source. Shifting the action away from the original period setting into the twentieth century, the plot concerns Tong Fai (Tony Leung Ka Fai) an uncouth street punk plagued with a seemingly endless run of bad luck. Acting as an informant on behalf of bullying police detective Kwong (Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung), Fai bumbles into the middle of a gang war between established triads and wealthy and powerful boss Hung (Roy Cheung), who is secretly skilled in black magic, but is rescued by a ghost maiden named Yung (Chingamy Yau). Driven to consult sagely medium Granny Four (Teresa Ha Ping), Fai relives his past life in 1963 when he was a lawyer working for none other than Boss Hung and in love with Yung, an aspiring actress bullied by bitchy opera diva Sister Wai (Lok Wai). Sister Wai’s psychotic jealousy coupled with Boss Hung’s own lascivious interest in Yung result in the lovers reaching a tragic end. Now to break his streak of bad luck and redeem Yung’s soul, Fai must retrieve the bones of his earlier incarnation and steal back the lantern made from his lover’s skin.

This was an early collaboration between cinematographer-turned-director Andrew Lau and schlock writer-producer-director Wong Jing who went on to redefine the Hong Kong blockbuster with Storm Riders (1998), A Man Called Hero (1999) and The Duel (2000), and is yet another vehicle tailored around Wong’s then-girlfriend, comely Category III starlet Chingamy Yau. All New Human Skin Lanterns - also known by the less cumbersome variant title: Ghost Lantern - opens unpromisingly with a surfeit of the usual gleefully lowbrow comedy for which Wong Jing is famed. However, those who bear through the avalanche of vomit, piss and knob gags that comprise the first ten minutes, will be rewarded with a surprisingly engaging and poetic supernatural love story.

Rather than mount a straight remake, Wong has the grisly skin-stripping premise serve as a bridge between one plot styled after a contemporary triad crime thriller and flashbacks paying tribute to the classic Cantonese love stories of the Sixties. It is possibly Wong’s involvement with Chingamy Yau influenced the atypically sensitive and affecting tone of the flashbacks, although the film also packs a few solid jolts when it shifts into horror. Notably an unexpected moment where one character morphs into a fright-wigged, crimson-clad ghost. Andrew Lau’s restlessly inventive and often beautiful camerawork shifts from blue tinted present into lustrous gold for the flashback scenes and brings a lot of energy to Wong’s admittedly cluttered script.

In a typically tasteless Wong Jing twist, Fai discovers the gravesite of his former incarnation is now located beneath a disgusting public toilet behind a notorious gambling den. Having Yung inhabit Kwong’s body so that the star-crossed lovers can enjoy a slow dance together, allows for all manner of cross-gender gags reminiscent of All of Me (1984) while the finale is best surmised as John Woo re-imagining the climax of A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) by way of The Terminator (1984) in a police station besieged by triads. If that makes any sense. It is a testament to the charismatic performances of Tony Leung Ka Fai and Chingamy Yau that the film remains so watchable despite these jarring shifts in tone. Still, Wong’s hand is evident in an endearingly surreal gag wherein Fai’s right hand man (Dion Lam Dik On, also the film’s action choreographer) rides to his rescue along with gun-toting members of the Dutch football team. Only in a Wong Jing movie.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3507 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Andrew Lau  (1960 - )

Hong Kong director and cinematographer responsible for some of the biggest hits in recent HK cinema. Born Wai Keung Lau, he photographed classics such as City on Fire, Curry and Pepper and Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express. As a director, Lau brought a flashy, commercial style to films like Naked Killer 2, Modern Romance and To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui, all produced by the prolific Wong Jing.

In 1996 Lau directed the hugely successful gang movie Young and Dangerous, which he followed up with four sequels and a prequel. His other notable films include the effects-laden fantasy epics Storm Riders, A Man Called Hero and The Duel, as well as co-directing the hit cop thriller Infernal Affairs and its two sequels. Not to be confused with actor Andy Lau.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: