Return Of The Dead (DVD) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3
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YesAsia Editorial Description
Renowned filmmaker Li Han Hsiang jumpstarted the Shaw Brothers supernatural film tradition in 1960 with the eerie, elegant period piece Enchanting Shadow. He returned to the genre in 1979 with Return of the Dead, blending macabre thrills with his signature stamp of aesthetic erotica. Return of the Dead features Shaw Brother regulars Ngok Wah, Guk Fung, and Si Wai and softcore actress Chan Wai Ying who attracted quite a bit attention at the time for her daring, baring performance.
|Product Title:||Return Of The Dead (DVD) (Taiwan Version) 銷魂玉 (DVD) (台灣版) 销魂玉 (DVD) (台湾版) 銷魂玉 (DVD) (台湾版) Return Of The Dead (DVD) (Taiwan Version)|
|Artist Name(s):||Ngok Wah (Actor) | Chan Wai Ying (Actor) | Ku Feng (Actor) | Si Wai (Actor) | Chu Soeng Wan (Actor) 岳華 (Actor) | 陳維英 (Actor) | 谷峰 (Actor) | 思維 (Actor) | 楚湘雲 (Actor) 岳华 (Actor) | 陈维英 (Actor) | 谷峰 (Actor) | 思维 (Actor) | 楚湘云 (Actor) 岳華（ンゴッ・ワー） (Actor) | 陳維英（チャン・ワイイン） (Actor) | 谷峯（クー・ホン） (Actor) | Si Wai (Actor) | Chu Soeng Wan (Actor) Ngok Wah (Actor) | Chan Wai Ying (Actor) | Ku Feng (Actor) | Si Wai (Actor) | Chu Soeng Wan (Actor)|
|Director:||Li Han Hsiang 李翰祥 李翰祥 李翰祥（リー・ハンシャン） Li Han Hsiang|
|Subtitles:||English, Traditional Chinese|
|Place of Origin:||Hong Kong|
|Picture Format:||NTSC What is it?|
|Aspect Ratio:||2.35 : 1|
|Region Code:||3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?|
|Package Weight:||125 (g)|
|Shipment Unit:||1 What is it?|
|YesAsia Catalog No.:||1024879419|
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features
Professional Review of "Return Of The Dead (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"
This professional review refers to Return Of The Dead (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
The recent wave of Shaw Brothers horror releases continues with Return of the Dead, acclaimed director Li Han Hsiang's 1979 return to the genre following his 1960 classic Enchanting Shadow. Although the presence of Li, who won several awards during his career for the likes of Empress Wu, The Magnificent Concubine and studio productions, might seem to suggest another high brow period piece, the film is actually an anthology which offers modern takes upon a trio of classical Chinese supernatural tales. Strangely, the DVD cover seems to be pushing it as a piece of soft-core erotica rather than horror, which is a real shame, as although it does indeed feature a fair bit of nudity, sex is used in the film to reflect upon cautionary messages and to inspire gloomy meditations on the transient nature of physical pleasure rather than for mere titillation. Whilst this is perhaps fair enough, given that the scenes of naked flesh would obviously have been the main selling point, especially at the time of its original release when such content was considered quite daring, it does the film somewhat of a disservice, distracting from its real strength as a great piece of chilling and subtly moralistic storytelling.
The three sections of the film are woven together as stories told by inmates in an asylum, a common device used by a number of other horror anthologies. The first segment revolves around the dangers of wish fulfilment, an old Buddhist fable which will be familiar to Western viewers as 'The Monkey's Paw' - a man who is passed on a supposedly cursed statue of the 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' monkeys finds that the wishes it grants have a nasty habit of turning sour. This is followed by the sinister tale of a man who enjoys going for nightly rows on a lake which is said to be haunted and comes across a naked young woman in the water. After meeting the charming lass a few times, she shows a strange interest in a suicidal friend of his, and asks him to bring the gloomy man to see her - needless to say, with an evil purpose in mind. The final story is a period piece which begins with the death of a famous former prostitute, who supposedly expired as a result of exhaustion whilst being pleasured by her husband. She doesn't stay dead for long however, and is picked up a local rickshaw driver, whom she pays with her fabulous pearl necklace. The poor lad is a little slow, and doesn't quite catch on to the fact that she is quite obviously a ghost, even after a few meetings, happy enough to believe that she is in fact her own twin sister. Unfortunately, one night a greedy grave robber breaks into her tomb, awakening her vengeful corpse - naked, of course.
The three tales are oft-spun and indeed oft-filmed yarns which are likely to be familiar to most viewers, whether or not they are aware of their classical origins or not. However, in updating them to a modern setting Li does manage to freshen them up somewhat, and though they are essentially predictable they still grab the viewer, mainly due to his consummate skill as a storyteller. Certainly, it's interesting that the same moral messages of the past hold true today, and this does give the film the feel of a timeless parable, though thankfully without sacrificing the entertainment value of spine-tingling thrills, of which it does have its fair share. The main themes seem to be 'you can't take it with you' and that all earthly pleasures are but brief, and the stories are all quite grim, focusing on human weakness and sin. This does give the film more depth than the average scare show, and it has a thoughtful edge which further distracts from its basic predictability.
Although Return of the Dead is a different proposition from many other Shaw horrors of the same period, shying away from graphic shocks in favour of creepy atmospherics, it is by no means a quaint viewing experience, in part due to Li's interesting decision to spice things up with the aforementioned nudity. Whilst the first segment is a chaste affair, the second and third take place within the darker realms of aberrant human sexuality, dealing with betrayal and infidelity. The nudity actually works well, giving an added air of realism, and never threatens to push the film into exploitation territory, a rare feat indeed.
As such, though an entertaining genre piece in its own right, Return of the Dead also offers plenty of food for thought along with the usual chills. With a renowned director such as Li at the helm, this is to be expected, and he proves that horror films are perfectly capable of commenting on the human condition without skimping on the scares.
by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com