Saturday, October 8, 2011

Movie Review: Till Death Do We Scare

Her name is "Irene Leen."  An old, Chinese-movie-style fortune teller proclaims this to be a very unlucky last name indeed.  She should have picked a different one.  With a last name like "Leen," she is destined to always be a widow.  After all, it’s the same last name as JFK’s famous widow.  "You know," he says. "Jacqueline!"  Amazing.

The Gweilo's Movie Ratings for Till Death Do We Scare
The Chinese movie review continues below this info box!
Category Rating
WTF Meter 2.6 out of 5
MST3K-Ability 2.7 out of 5
OVERALL QUALITY 1.2 out of 5
Chinese Movie Till Death Do We Scare

Director Lao Kai Wing
Actors Olivia Cheng, Alan Tam, David Chiang, Wong Ching, Raymond Wong
Year 1982
Format Viewed VCD (Media Asia/Megastar MS/VCD219HK)

This is a ludicrous premise, and it leads to a satisfyingly silly Chinese movie.  From the Gweilo's perspective, it seems as though nobody was taking Till Death Do We Scare seriously at any point in its creation.  Which frees up the director for some amazingly absurd scenes.  For example,
...the cursed woman marries three men in rapid succession in the early part of the film, leading to some amazing Rube Goldberg Death Scenes.  For example, Husband 2 (a cartoonish Mob Boss) sends a hit man to kill Husband 1, a B-Movie Actor, at the first wedding. The hit man does end up killing the actor, but not how he was planning.

The mob boss then dies... Actually, I don't think it can be explained in words.  You'll have to see it.

The third, instantly dead husband is the priest who oversaw all the other weddings and funerals.  At one of the funerals he tells her "May the lord be with you.  But if the lord isn’t with you, there’s always me.  Hubba hubba!"

A little tacky?  To be fair, most of the courtship in this film happens at funerals.  That seems to be the norm in the world of this film:
Dearly Beloved, I've come a-courtin'!
The other way courtship happens in this film is through stalking.  Actually, the level of creepy stalking in this film is far more unsettling than the rubber mask monsters of the "ghosts," "werewolves," and "draculas" we see later  (Most of Lao Kai Wing's special effects budget seems to have been spent in a joke shop or novelty store!)
This "Ghost King" looks more constipated than terrifying, in my opinion.
So, stalking:  Love interest number four breaks into Irene's house with a baseball bat.  Good thing she's got one too:
Bats:  Perfect for stalkers and stalkees!
She knocks him out, thinking he might be a burglar.  But the next morning it's all good, because it turns out he's just a creepy stalker/rapist!  Well, apparently that's just fine:
Sorry for knocking you out last night.
I thought you were a burglar
You're here because you fancy and adore me!

Yes, that really happens.

Even weirder, this is followed up by a Stalking Montage!  If you're used to Hollywood films, I'm sure you've seen plenty of training montages.  I'm sure you've seen montages where the heroes are building something, or planning something, or traveling somewhere. But I challenge you to find a Stalking montage with upbeat, happy background music in any Hollywood film, ever!

A compliment:
Let's hope something was lost in translation
So, the plot basically involves the ghosts of her first three insta-dead husbands as they get involved in her current (fourth) relationship.  They are kind of like the Three Stooges of ghosts:
Larry, Curly, and Moe
They spend most of their time just goofing around, "haunting" things like this chair, so that it requires kung fu to sit in it:
Kung Fu Sitting
Or haunting the fourth guy's pants, so he can't take them off.  Serious, classy, high-brow humorous stuff like that.

Oh, and the ghosts go around singing the movie's theme song from time to time too:
Bottom Line of this Chinese Movie Review:  OK, if I'm going to be honest, this is a terrible film.  It's bad no matter which way you look at it.  But, from the Gweilo's perspective, there's a really playful freshness and originality to it that you'll never see in a Hollywood movie.  So, in spite of its obvious flaws, recommended.