Encounters of the Spooky Kind

Sammo Hung’s Encounters of the Spooky Kind AKA Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980) is considered by many to be the first Hong Kong kung fu horror comedy, and as such it influenced a lot of subsequent releases. The opening is remarkably similar to low-budget American splatter fests of the same period, and features some mediocre comedy which inevitably includes the central character Bold Cheung (played by director Hung) being subjected to a prank that functions as a prelude to the ‘real’ horrors he will encounter later in the movie. That said, once Bold Cheung accepts a wager to spent the night in a haunted temple the film really takes off. Here we have possibly the first example of a hopping vampire in Hong Kong cinema, and this is definitely a groove sensation. Bold Cheung is even tricked into spending a second night in the temple. There are also some far-out possession scenes and very funny fights (choreographed by director Hung). The plot, which revolves around the attempts of Bold Cheung’s love rival to kill him, doesn’t do much for me and is mainly an excuse for a series of very good set pieces. Despite a slow start, Encounters provides non-stop low-brow fun once it finds its groove. While not quite reaching the same heights as some of the films it inspired-  such as the first flick in the Mr Vampire series – this one is definitely worth revisiting. I also loved the copy on the Hong Kong Legends DVD reissue of the film: “Generally recognised as one of the possible inspirations for Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series…” Well, with a caveat like that you could put almost anything at the end. What about ‘Encounters is generally recognised as one of the possible inspirations for Britney Spears’s personal and professional struggles of the 2006/7 period’? That said, if you like the Evil Dead comedy horrors, then you will probably dig Encounters of the Spooky Kind.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Colours of White on 2009-04-22 12:57:16 +0000

As you said, it’s such a shame that most people in the mid to late 70’s dug pub rock so, so much — Wearing a shining silver crash helmet and holding his guitar ready to play, Robin waited a few moments before flinging it onto the stage and kicking it into the audience, along the aisle and down the steps into Dover Street — but then went on to let it go in place of punk rock, which most of us at the time saw as “the real thing”, whilst pub rock was, by the time early 1977 came round — typically seen as grubby, and old man’s music , viewed as taking too much from r n b, and with a poorly defined image. The night sky was lurid with flashes of lightning.
More fool us !And of course, Lydon is a lot to blame for creating a false “year zero” around the Pistols. Lydon himself clearly took so much from Ian Dury’s image in the High Roads, which Dury asserted plainly, causing Lydon to resent him.
Of course, Stewart Home never dealt with the problem of exactly who the audience should be for these performances. Perhaps the performer acted out the script for their own, rather than anyone else’s, amusement
The night sky was lurid with flashes of lightning.To begin with transformations. I decided to throw away my own rules. I planned lurid flashes of lightning against grammar by immersing myself in the grammar of the sun itself.

Comment by The Real Bruce Lee on 2009-04-22 13:27:27 +0000

Forget Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung is my real heir!

Comment by K Mail on 2009-04-22 14:23:24 +0000

We’ve gotta stop Trippy watching these kung fu flicks coz he seems to dream about them afterwards and as he thrashes about he belts Tessie and me and whoever else we’ve been shagging in his sleep.

Comment by Michael K on 2009-04-22 14:50:59 +0000

I wish people could get this straight, Michael K is a multiple identity but K Mail is for my own private use. So would the clone who left the comment above please desist!

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-04-22 15:20:18 +0000

I’d just like to point out that the person who left the comment above obviously knows nothing about the Michael K Project, and that is a groove sensation because it means that they can add to “the great confusion” without even knowing they are doing it. Michael K is always a multiple identity, and K Mail is during certain phases of the moon (but obviously I’m not going to reveal which phases those are). If Michael K didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent him! And since he didn’t we did!

Comment by Michael K on 2009-04-22 16:06:42 +0000

BTW: Sammo Hung is also a multiple identity project… It is actually 3 different people doing the direction, lead actor and choreography on “Encounters of the Spooky Kind” but they use the same name because they wanted to further the Sammo Hung Project. All part of the ‘great confusion’, an idea that originated in Hong Kong as an outgrowth of the cultural revolution in mainland China.

Comment by Anna K on 2009-04-23 05:00:01 +0000

I’m going to kill you

Comment by The Other Angela Mao on 2009-04-23 10:12:56 +0000

If you try to kill Lady Whirlwind you’ll end up reaping what you sow…..

Comment by I Was Sonny Chiba’s Sex Scene Double on 2009-04-23 11:04:51 +0000

I can dig Sammo Hung. “Encounters of the Spooky Kind” is a groove sensation!

Comment by I Am Not Jimmy Wang Yu on 2009-04-23 11:45:19 +0000

Sammo is a two-fisted Hong Kong legend, and I was very proud to appear in his movie “Shanghai Express”.

Comment by Michael K on 2009-04-23 12:23:00 +0000

I’d just like to point out that although I don’t actually exist, I always find there’s nothing like a good session in the dojo followed by even more fun in the showers as we get ‘cleaned up’ afterwards…..

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-04-23 12:48:13 +0000


Comment by Tessie, The Dutchess of Kitsch Herself on 2009-04-23 14:51:26 +0000

The so called ‘Real’ Tessie is clearly a fake, I am far too lady-like to use a word like cock. Indeed the use of such a crude term by this obvious imposter creates the impression that the entire comment thread on this blog is “cock”.

Comment by Michael K on 2009-04-23 14:52:37 +0000

Coke, did anyone mention fat lines of coke?

Comment by Anna K on 2009-04-23 20:52:03 +0000

Knowledge of the brand influenced preference and activated brain areas including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus.
These areas are involved in recalling cultural influences and modifying behaviour based on emotion and mood.
‘Branding power’
Dr Montague said: “We live in a sea of cultural images.
“Everybody has heard of Cock and Pussy, they have messages, and…those messages have insinuated themselves in our nervous system.”

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-04-24 05:15:27 +0000

I’ve only seen one Sammo Hung flick, Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon, which I enjoyed. This film sounds interesting, I’ll have to track it down.
I love how the copy reads “… one of the POSSIBLE inspirations for Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series…” They don’t quite commit to the film being AN inspiration, or THE inspiration for Evil Dead. Wonderfully vague and open-ended. BTW, the Evil Dead series is a definite groove sensation!

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-04-24 05:16:03 +0000

Michael K. exists only in our imaginations!

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