Film Review – Encounter Of The Spooky Kind (1980)

Bold Cheung (Sammo Hung) is suspicious of his wife (Leung Suet-mei) because of her unusual behaviour, then one day he catches her in the act with another man and furiously accuses her of infidelity. Little does Bold Cheung realise though, but the man that he caught making love to his wife was none other than Master Tam (Ha Huang) who is his boss.

Frightened that his reputation may be ruined if his secret affair were to get out, Master Tam decides that he must stop Bold from ever finding out, meaning that he must do whatever he can to kill him. So, Master Tam hires Priest Chin Hoi (Lung Chan) to use his supernatural abilities in order to make sure nobody ever finds out.

However, Priest Chin Hoi’s junior disciple, Priest Tsui (Fat Chung) is outraged because using such powers is against all he has been taught, however he is promptly thrown out and realises he must seek out Bold Cheung. After finding him, Tsui tells Bold about Master Tam’s plan and with his knowledge, he and Bold go up against Priest Chin Hoi to fight off the evil forces.

Close Encounters of The Spooky Kind is a supernatural horror comedy from writer/director/actor Sammo Hung. Long before his success with Project A and Winners and Sinners alongside Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung was a force all unto himself and showed himself to be a competent director, writer, actor and of course a skilled martial artist.

This is where Sammo had established himself and his particular brand of martial arts is highlighted throughout his work. However, although the focus is on the supernatural and the comedy, there’s plenty of fighting.

Sammo Hung continues to be a likeable and charming lead although the image of the fat, gullible husband may be a bit dated by now. His on-screen partnership with Fat Chung also works well as they fight off ghosts, ghouls and vampires which culminate in a literal battle between the master and his apprentice.

Also, the unique styling of the Chinese ghosts pulled straight from myths and legends give the film a side of Chinese cinema that is rarely seen in the west. Close Encounters of The Spooky Kind may be a product of its time and the ending is rather abrupt, but it’s a worthy addition for those looking to collect Sammo Hung’s work.

Action, Comedy | Hong Kong, 1980 | 15 | Blu-Ray | 21st June 2021 (UK) | Eureka Classics | Dir.Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Fat Chung, Lung Chan, Ha Huang, Baio Yuen, Wu Ma