You are currently displaying English
人嚇人 (1982)
The Dead and the Deadly

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/26/2012

After the success of Sammo Hung's supernatural comedy-action film ENCOUNTERS OF THE SPOOKY KIND, he teamed up with director Wu Ma and much of the same cast to make THE DEAD AND THE DEADLY - not a literal sequel, but a spiritual sequel perhaps. Some familiar elements return - Taoist rituals, cuckolded husbands, bodily possession and that mash up of genres, with more emphasis on comedy this time around.

Sammo plays a bumbling but brave Everyman who gets caught up in the supernatural world when he suspects that his friend's sudden death might not have been entirely natural. Lam Ching-Ying steps into the role of Taoist priest that he would come to make his own, whilst Chung Faat switches from good guy to bad but still gets plenty of chance to show off his skills and charisma (I don't know why he was never a star). Wu Ma himself plays the friend whose death is at the centre of events.

The film is a fine showcase for Sammo's prodigous talents, both comic and martial, and the creativity that Hong Kong cinema was quite rightly celebrated for around this time. The supernatural angle gives the team plenty of freedom for staging innovative scenes which give Sammo a chance to show off his physical talents. It's not quite as imaginative or as well executed as ENCOUNTERS, but it's another very enjoyable film.

The actress who plays Wu Ma's widow gives a particularly good performance - she looks familiar from Shaw Brothers, though I can't say exactly where, and HKMDB claims this as her only credit (hard to imagine!).

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/22/2009
Summary: solid

A good time at the cinema will be had by fans of these stars and this genre. Probably a bit too long in some sequences by 2009 standards, but this is a solid effort from underrated director Wu Ma.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 10/06/2008
Summary: SAme as everyone else

The movie had a lot of promise, but ends up being average.

The big problem is parts of the movie are just a lot more entertaining than other parts.

The action scenes and the part where Sammo Hung investigates the body of the supposive dead friend are really well done.

The last 15 minutes though go a little overboard and doesnt seem to fit and is just boring. The villians are not as strong in kung fu as the main character which leads to a thrashing!!

Im suprised i havent seen this movie before, Lam ching ying is a stand out as a very old taoist!! Worth a one viewing

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 07/29/2008

The Dead and the Deadly, like many Hong Kong films, is a mash-up of genres. This time out, we have the combination of action, comedy, and Chinese ghost stories. The trouble is, none of the elements are used all that well. The Dead and the Deadly isn't a bad picture by any means -- it does everything competently enough -- but it's pretty disappointing considering some of the cast and crew that were involved with its' production.

The film revolves around Chu (Sammo Hung), who is an assistant in a funeral home run by his uncle, Ko (Lam Ching-Ying). After Chu's friend Cheung (Wu Ma) dies suddenly, Chu begins to suspect foul play, and he's right to an extent. Cheung has teamed up with a hooker and her brother to fake his death, so that he can get into his family's tomb to steal some precious antiques. However, when the hooker finds out that the antiques in the tomb are actually worthless, she sends her brother to kill Cheung, so she can collect Cheung's estate via the baby she is about to give birth to.

Now a ghost for real, Cheung tries to get Chu to help by "donating" his body, so Cheung can take revenge. Chu reluctantly agrees, since Ko says he can put his soul back into his body if they are reunited soon enough. However, the plan goes awry, and Chu's body and soul cannot be put back together. Enlisting the aid of Chu's wife (Cherie Cheung), Ko comes up with a desperate plan to bring Chu back to life.

The above plot might seem goofy to some, but for those well-versed in Hong Kong films, it's not really all that strange, and actually might have provided the means to producing a solid movie. That is, if the film-makers didn't seem intent on squandering the talent they had to work with. Way too much time is spent on dopey comedy, most notably an over-long scene where Chu takes an aphrodisiac in a brothel and walks around with an erection. Sammo looks painfully embarrassed doing this type of toilet humor, and that sort of feeling certainly doesn't translate into laughs for the viewer.

Things do solidify in the last half-hour or so, which is kicked off by a very good fight sequence, and finished off with Cherie's confrontation with three demons (who strangely look like E.T.) guarding Sammo's soul. These scenes show off some great moves from the actors -- it's the sort of action that long-time Hong Kong film fans have come to know and love from movies of this period. If there was more emphasis on this kind of stuff versus lame dick jokes, The Dead and the Deadly could have been something really special, instead of the relatively minor entry in Sammo Hung's filmography it ends up being.

[review from]

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 02/24/2008
Summary: Crude, lewd, but occasionally entertaining...

A funeral director’s assistant (Sammo Hung) becomes convinced that his recently deceased friend Lu Cho (Wu Ma) has been murdered and takes steps to prove it. However, it turns out that Lu Cho, along with his accomplices, is faking his death in order to get his hands on a fortune. When Sammo starts getting too suspicious, Lu Cho “appears” to Sammo as a ghost, insisting that his death was by natural causes so that his friend will stop digging for the truth. When Lu Cho is then murdered by his co-conspirators, and the real ghost of Lu Cho appears to Sammo telling him this time that he met with foul play, Sammo doesn’t want to know. So the spirit of the dead man haunts Sammo until he agrees to help him bring the murderers to justice.

What sets Sammo Hung apart from all of his contemporaries is his work in the horror/comedy genre, a little sub-niche that he pretty much made his own and returned to regularly during the eighties and early nineties. While Jackie Chan was busy being the happy-go-lucky everyman hero, Sammo was messing about with chicken’s blood, body painting and Taoist priests. This Wu Ma vehicle is one of the odder entries in the genre, but it does have its moments.

The humour in the first hour of the film is extremely lowbrow and juvenile, something I’ve noticed in other Wu Ma films. There’s a scene where Sammo goes to a brothel and munches on some Qing equivalent of Viagra which is painfully unfunny. The only plus points are a couple of good gags involving an artificially aged Lam Ching-Ying, who needs others to help him with his dynamic showmanship. The scene with the apparent corpse of Lu Cho having his gold teeth removed is funny on first viewing but gets a little tired upon repeats.

Just when things start getting really desperate, a strange thing happens – THE DEAD AND THE DEADLY actually becomes quite entertaining. Things kick off when Lu Cho gets killed for real and starts haunting Sammo in a scene that feels like a dry run for the film that would be its spiritual successor – 1986’s WHERE'S OFFICER TUBA? Things get more frantic when Sammo gets possessed and the robbers are revealed and all manor of spooky goings-on start occurring.

As with other films in this genre, some knowledge of Chinese folklore is a definite advantage to getting the most out of the film. Although the special effects are very crude by today’s standard (and even by the west’s standard for 1983, to be honest) enjoyment isn’t hampered too much. While THE DEAD AND THE DEADLY isn’t anywhere near the top of my list of spooky comedies, it does have a few neat touches and, taken as a piece of superficial entertainment, may give some enjoyment. Personally, though, I’d say you can’t beat the sublime ENCOUNTERS OF THE SPOOKY KIND and the Sammo Hung produced MR VAMPIRE.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 04/04/2006

Pretty dull and silly comedy about a funeral director's assistant (Samo) who gets involved with a group of tricksters who fake the death of an associate. Mostly gallows humour, some ghost/horror stuff, somewhat offbeat, but it didn't hold my interest.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: ghostly oddness...

sammo hung stars in a rather odd hong kong ghost comedy; he suspects his dead friend has been murdered and starts investigating, but little does he know that his friend is merely playing dead as part of a devious plot...

entertaining on the whole, with a couple of quality sammo fights here and there - there could have been a couple more really. over simplistic subs were doing my head in a little. in a strange turn of events, there was an english dub on the hong kong dvd; it was dreadful though, sammo just sounded wrongy wrong.

Reviewed by: foleyisgravy
Date: 12/24/2001
Summary: O.K., nothing more

In my opinion, one of Sammo's lesser efforts. Has some good individual scenes (the teeth-pulling scene is a standout) but as a whole I didn't like it nearly as much as Encounters of the Spooky Kind 1&2. There are only 2 fight scenes in the whole flick. Wu Ma (blatantly doubled) acrobatically disposes of some thugs trying to kill him and Sammo has a real good, but too short fight against Chung Fat and a couple goons. This scene may just showcase Sammo at his very quickest though. He is remarkably fast in this scene.

Reviewed by: ElectraWoman
Date: 10/12/2000
Summary: 7/10-Fast moving fun

A little mindless trivia-the title of this film was something Sammo Hung said in "Close Encounters Of The Spooky Kind" :) Yes, I do have a bit too much time on my hands. This is something like an unofficial sequel, and another thing I noticed was that most of the actors who played good guys in "Close Encounters" are bad guys in this, and vice versa. Except Sammo, of course.

Sammo works for his uncle, played by Lam Ching-Ying, who owns a store selling things for the dead. Sammo is shocked to learn when his best friend, Wu Ma (by the way, his character's name means Fucking Big Dick), arrives back in the village, dead, with wife and baby. Becoming suspicious he decides to investigate, and satisfied nothing is wrong, he leaves things as they are, until Wu Ma comes back as a ghost seeking revenge.

There are some funny and inspired scenes in this, esp. the pulling teeth one-OUCH! However, while I understand this is a fantasy film, and there are liberties taken to reality, I thought having a living man pretending to be dead and then being prodded was taking it too far. Hell, IF he was living he would be warm, right? And it would have been noticable! Hell, but, who cares? This film moves fast enough for the viewer to not notice. This film quite amusing, with some great fight sequences.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/21/1999

A murderous plot to claim the fortune of a wealthy family is thwartedwhen the spirit of the victim enters the body of a young sorcerer to take revenge.

[Reviewed by Tai Seng Catalog]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Early supernatural drama/kung-fu/comedy with an excess of dated slapstick scenes, centering mainly on a disembodied "soul" which is seeking revenge for a murderous scam.

[Reviewed by Iain Sinclair]