House of the Damned (1999)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2009-07-07
In “House of the Damned”, Teresa Mak keeps most of her clothes on and is raped by a demon; Yeung Faan and Lonel (Lonely) take most of theirs off and are raped by the same demon; Chapman To is a an obnoxious, horny and generally unwanted guest and Helena Law is a crazy old lady who casts spells and who has an evil secret. There is a very nonfrightening and barely repulsive undead corpse, a Taoist practitioner who Lam Ching Ying would cross the street to avoid and a purse snatcher who clearly wasn’t cut out for his chosen career.

Teresa Mak wears a black sports bra and white knickers under most of her outfits—or at least those that are removed by the invisible demon. In one scene she is saved from ravaging when the ghostly rapist realizes she is menstruating. Teresa explains that the demon can’t deal with a woman’s period but without explaining how she happened to know that or why she wasn’t concerned about the next visitation.

The movie opens on an appropriately spooky note as we watch a provocatively dressed and attractive young woman stumbling through a dark, unfamiliar alley with only the flame from her cigarette lighter to show the way. She is headed for apartment where she sublets a room from a creepy old lady in a wheelchair. The landlady uses candles for light and likes to wait up in the semi-darkness to yell at her tenant for staying out late. The tenant yells back. Meet Aunt Nan (Helena Law) and May (Yeung Faan) her newest tenant.

May spends the next few scenes getting undressed, putting on a robe, taking it off to get in the shower, soaping up and then being frightened by an unseen being that pulls back the shower curtain. This is the ghost who will cause so much trouble for the rest of the film and its manner of manifesting itself allows the director several points of view to show Yeung Faan naked and wet. We follow her into the bedroom where may prepares for bed then smokes marijuana while talking on the phone to another lady of negotiable virtue comparing notes on customers they had that evening. May has been established as an attractive drug using prostitute and so is marked for death. May’s last scene in which she is raped by the ghost is leering and voyeuristic but so badly done by all concerned (although Yeung Faan seems to put all of her slender talent into it) that it is goes on much too long perhaps even for the trenchcoat brigade.

Next we see Kate (Teresa Mak) and “Big Bust” (according to the subtitles) checking the classifieds and finding a great apartment. They are so excited that they miss the front page article on how a young woman died after falling from a window from that apartment. Kate and Big Bust (Lonel) are actresses working on a nearby shoot where Chapman To is a very annoying extra. Chiu (Eric Wan) is also affiliated with the production or maybe just hangs around, but he is in most of the “backstage” scenes.

Everyone is in place for the rest of the movie which plods along to its inevitable and not at all frightening end. The climax occurs when Aunt Nan (deranged and deadly), her son (dead and not happy about it) and Kate (possessed and brandishing a huge knife) have Chiu pinned to the ground, attempting to kill him. They don’t but by then it doesn’t really matter.

Dull and not recommended.
Reviewer Score: 3