Directed by Chiu Lee [Other horror films: N/A]
Probably best known under the colorful title Kung Fu from Beyond the Grave, Yin ji is decently fun, though perhaps ends up being a bit longer than necessary. Still, the movie ends up around average, I’d say.
The story was simple and to the point, with not much really going on. A son seeks revenge for his father against a tyrant who rules with the help of a black magic sorcerer. There’s plenty of zombies/ghosts (technically, I guess they’d be jiangshi, or hopping vampires), dark magic (with beautifully ridiculous effects), and even an appearance from Count Dracula (who apparently knows kung fu).
The movie’s about as ridiculous and entertaining as you could probably imagine. The multiple fight sequences are all pretty fun, and there’s even a few creepy graveyard scenes (though the lighter tone the movie has doesn’t make tension or thrills the main point).
As far as the cast goes, there were mostly all solid, with the main character, played by Billy Chong, being the one most standing out. The over-the-top acting and kung fu sequences were all done well, though, so pretty much no one in the film was particularly bad. The somewhat atrocious dubbing helped also.
I’ve not seen that many kung fu films. Of the ones I can name (with the help of trusty IMDb), I’ve seen The Deadly Breaking Sword (or Feng liu duan jian xiao xiao dao, from 1979), Killer Constable (or Wan ren zan, from 1980), The Kid with the Golden Arm (Jin bi tong, from 1979), and, if you want to count it, The Sword of Swords (Shen dao, from 1968). I’ve seen some actual Hong Kong horror films, but none that have mixed in martial arts as heavily as this one.
Kung Fu from Beyond the Grave is pretty goofy at times, and it’s more light-hearted fun than anything really terrifying. It probably could have been cut by ten minutes, perhaps fifteen, and I think they could have given off the same effect. But it is a fun movie, so they certainly got that down. If you’re into this type of Asian horror, it may be worth a look.
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