Title: Beauty of the Haunted House

Also known as:
Hung Jaak Yin Ji

Year: 1998

Genre: Comedy / Erotica / Horror

Language: Cantonese

Runtime: 88 min

Director: Ka Ka

Writer: Ka Ka

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0344906/

After being blackmailed into selling his family's villa, Mr. Ai sends his son, Eddie, along with two other employees to the villa in order to help convince Eddie's Uncle into selling as well. Upon Eddie's arrival, he begins to have a strange feeling of deja vu and it isn't long before he's visited by the spirit of Chanel. A lonely ghost who was once the lover of Eddie's grandfather but died under horrible circumstances. Before they can sell the property, Eddie must uncover the dark and horrifying secrets of his family's past and solve the mystery as to what happened to Chanel.

Our thoughts:
After the borefest that was "Deadly Camp" I decided to plunge into my collection of bootlegs (shhh! don't tell anybody I said that) to try and find a Hong Kong film that could redeem my day. There had to be some unwatched Hong Kong fried gold in my pile of crap! What I ended up grabbing was "Beauty of the Haunted House"; some random title I picked up some odd years back that I knew nothing about. However, "Beauty of the Haunted House" didn't salvage my day like I had hoped but it did leave me hopelessly confused as to what I had just watched.

A dumpling of a Chinese business man, Mr. Ai, is caught in a 4-way tryst with some lovely ladies on a boat and is soon blackmailed into selling his family's villa to a Japanese corporation. Not wanting the images of his high seas orgy getting out, Ai sends his son, Eddie, and two other employees out to the villa to convince Eddie's Uncle to sell the property. While there, Eddie learns of his grandfather's indiscretions when he is visited by the spirit of a woman who use to be a whore and was his grandfather's lover. Soon Eddie is sucked into the spirit world and begins to uncover the horrifying past of the villa and the dark secrets that are hidden below.

"Beauty of the Haunted House" isn't nonsensical to a point that you can't follow the plot -- although it does get quite convoluted at times -- but rather it's confusing because the movie is so many things at once. More often than not the movie plays for laughs; there's more sex than horror but each element does what it can to try to make the audience laugh. Whether it's watching Mr. Ai getting beat viciously in the face with the breasts of his mistress to the point that it leaves welts on his face. Or the over-the-top martial arts battles between the living and the dead. Sadly though, there are no hoping spirits ("Mr. Vampire" anyone?) in "Beauty of the Haunted House". That seemed to be the only thing missing from this schlock-fest.

Even though movie is clearly intended to be a comedy it some how manages to cover a spectrum of genres by going from comedy to horror, romance to exploitation and even softcore porn to kung fu. Yet some how, SOME HOW "Beauty of the Haunted House" was still as boring as "Deadly Camp" was. The only reason it managed to hold my attention for as long as it did was due to my attempts at trying to make sense out of the genre-mutt of a movie. The plot is easy enough to follow but it's hard to know where the movie was going between the sex, slapstick and political/social commentary -- another element that gets thrown in at the end.

The entertainment from the insanity only last for a short while though and soon "Beauty of the Haunted House" becomes another monotonous 'wacky' Hong Kong flick. I think fans of the more unusual and comedic Hong Kong films would probably enjoy this movie because of how ridiculous it is. There's not much here for anyone else though as it only does just enough to keep ahold of your attention.

Positive things:
- It's ridiculous and random enough to be somewhat entertaining.
- Realizing by the end that this movie was made as an anti-Japanese propaganda film. Making the whole movie one giant, "what the fuck".

Negative things:
- Random to the point that it's often nonsensical. Not in a good way either.
- White subtitles!
- The English subtitles don't make any sense and are often quite insane.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 2/5
Story: 2/5
Effects: 1/5
Comedy: 1/5

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