Spooky, Spooky (1988)

Directed by
Nothing special
Reviewed by Simon on 2020-09-04

Alfred Cheung transfers to a police station in West Bay, where Wu Ma has been holding down the fort for 20 years. Wu tells him there are only two rules for a policeman to get along in this little backwater - don't be curious, and don't talk about ghosts. He immediately breaks both.

Some decades ago an adulterer was sent to his death at the bottom of the bay, and since then his spirit has haunted the area. When a class of teenagers arrive at West Bay on a school trip, the spirit stirs.

SPOOKY, SPOOKY was one of the first films from Sammo Hung's independent movie company Bojon Films, which also produced Pedicab Driver and SPOOKY ENCOUNTERS, along with some other notoriously hard to find films. It's not particularly connected to his other two "Spooky" films and doesn't star the big man himself, but it's in the horror comedy genre Sammo was often involved in (and largely created, with the sublime Encounters Of The Spooky Kind).

SPOOKY, SPOOKY feels like a bit of a trial run for the newly formed company, a low risk project that presumably didn't require much investment. It's basically fine, for what it is, but it's decidedly non-essential, and is certainly no Mr. Vampire.

There are no Gyonsi present here, just the water ghost (referred to in the subtitles as a Nix, not a term I'd come across before) and another ghost played by Pauline Wong who takes a bit of a shine to Alfred.

Joyce Godenzi livens up the screen a bit as a black belt sergeant who arrives from the city, and Chung Faat is bizarrely amusing as a coroner named Quincy who seems to be getting fashion tips from BACK TO THE FUTURE. Particular mention must be made of a star turn from Tina Lau, who I've never seen before but who is charming and entertaining, and probably the most memorable part of the film.

It's immediately obvious that this was an indie production without the kind of budget that Sammo could command when directing films like Eastern Condors for the big studios. Despite the budget limitations there are a couple of creative scenes, and the film is at times kind of scary (I guess?) and sometimes quite funny. There are stretches where the film is lazily plotted, though, falling back on "people doing the thing they've been told not to do get in entirely predictable trouble".

I'm curious as to why Sammo decided to go independent, as his career seemed to be at an all time high with Dragons Forever coming out in the same year. Perhaps he just missed working on cheap, cheerful and quickly produced films like this.

Spooky Spooky 037