Hong Kong Ghost Stories
“Hong Kong Ghost Stories” is a film which delivers exactly as its title suggests, serving up two short tales of spooky fun, directed by immortal Hong Kong schlockmeister Wong Jing and the prolific Patrick Kong. Mixing ghosts and gags, the film boasts a number of attractive young faces in its cast including popular starlet Chrissie Chau (“The Killer who Never Kills”), Jennifer Tse (“Bruce Lee My Brother”), Stephy Tang (“Let’s Go”), Carol Yeung (“Summer Love Love”) and many others.
The fun starts with an old school Hong Kong horror type framing device set in a funeral home, in which paper figures come to life and set about making their own film (working in a lame Wong Jing reference in the process). This leads into “Classroom”, directed by Wong Jing himself, with Jennifer Tse as high school substitute teacher Ling, who is given a particularly troublesome class to look after, with riotous students refusing to behave and engaging in after-hours compensated dating/prostitution. As well as having to deal with her own problems, namely a violent stalker ex-boyfriend (Pakho Chau), poor Ling is gradually driven over the edge by her pupils, the school harbouring a dark secret.
“Classroom” is fairly standard Wong Jing fare, being lowest common denominator stuff which aims for basic and familiar scenes and scares. The haunted school plot certainly doesn’t offer anything new, heading for a final twist that even genre newcomers will likely see coming, and most of the frights have been encountered in countless other films over the years, with walls bleeding, toilet stall doors banging, and Ling being menaced by a CGI air conditioning fan. Although none of this is even remotely frightening, it all moves along briskly, with Jennifer Tse likeable in the lead, if lacking in the emotional range necessary to pull off the role. The result is a short, moderately enjoyable piece of ghostly nonsense in the early 1990s Hong Kong style, which like most of Wong Jing’s output basically recycles elements of other films, though which passes the time inoffensively – even if this to a large extent comes from unintentional laughs.