Troublesome Night (1997)

Imagine my surprise as I started putting together anthology week to learn that there weren’t just a few Yam Yueng Lo or Troublesome Night movies. From 1997 to 2003, they made 19 of these movies and a 20th edition to celebrate the 20th anniversary in 2017.

The streets of Hong Kong are haunted, as we learn from four loosely connected stories in this film. It starts when several young people decide to camp outside a cemetery, which is never a good idea when you really think about it. One of them, Ken (Louis Koo, who was in the Hong Kong remake of Cellular that was entitled Connected), meets a mysterious woman (Law Len, the spider demon from the Journey to the West movies) who changes his life in a supernatural way.

His friends return to the city without him as Mrs. To (Christy Chung, who was born in Montreal and ended up in Hong Kong where she won the Miss Chinese International Pageant without being able to speak the language before becoming an actress in movies like The Bride with White Hair 2) waits in vain for her husband (Sunny Chan, Hold You Tight) to arrive for their anniversary.

This leads to a ghost story where Jojo (Teresa Mak, who is also in the eleventh and seventeenth movies in this series) falls in love with a spectral entity. This segment might not be frightening, yet it is steamy and nearly approaches art. That said, I’ve never seen someone have passionate sex with a ghost as blood streams down the walls all over their Mission: Impossible poster.

Finally, we catch up with the survivors joining Peter Butt (Simon Lui, who was in nearly every one of these movies) for a movie, but the restless ghosts in the theater go all Demons and trap everyone in a 60s world of endless hallways.

While a few of these stories were directed by Victor Tam Long-Cheong and Steve Cheng, The Untold Story and Ebola Syndrome director Herman Yau seems like the real force behind this. They made one or two of these movies every year, so some of the humor may be dated — and localized for Hong Kong, but when has that stopped us from enjoying their films — yet this movie is plenty of fun.

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