The Ghost Snatchers (1986)

Directed by
Who you gonna call? Not these guys.
Reviewed by Simon on 2020-08-28

Wong Jing is a loser, whose uncle (Stanley Fung) manages to get him a job as a security guard, which happens to be in the building where his girlfriend (Joey Wang) works. Unfortunately the building is cursed, having been built on the site of a Japanese torture chamber, and Wong, his uncle and his girlfriend all have horoscopes that bode ill for the coming weeks.

THE GHOST SNATCHERS is all over the place, tonally and as a story. The fusion of horror and comedy elements was by no means unusual in Hong Kong films, but multiple scenes feel like they belong in a different movie - or like Lam Nai-Choi left it unfinished and Wong Jing shot some filler to get it closer to 90 minutes.

Ghostbusters was obviously an influence, with Hsu Shu-Yuan channelling Sigourney Weaver in her haunted skyscraper, but it is far less coherent and doesn't have the likeable characters that made that film a hit.

The humour in the film is fairly typical Wong Jing territory, even though he's not actually credited as a writer. Most of it revolves around Stanley Fung being a sex pest and is quite distasteful, but Wong Jing playing a rather sweet and virginal character in a wholesome relationship with Joey Wang can be genuinely quite charming at times.

For the most part the film is pretty lousy, but it does have a few moments of WTF that are entertaining, and a finale set in the spirit realm which prefigures that of A CHINESE GHOST STORY ... though with a fraction of the style (and budget). Also Wong Jing is kind of adorable in it.

I seem to like it less than most though.