Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate
editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author
of The Hong Kong Filmography.
In 1980, a crack team of Taoists (garbed like ninjas!) successfully vanquish a mob of ghosts -- except for female demon Pinkish Red, who manages to escape. Six years later, Cici Shin (Charine Chan Kar-ling) and her cousin, Lily Li (Ann Bridgewater), open a boutique and need a mirror for their fitting room. The mall security guard finds one for them in the basement but, naturally, Pinkish Red resides inside it and, when Cici cleans the mirrors surface, the ghost is able to enter back into the real world. In between flirting with hair stylist Sheng (Mark Cheng Ho-nam) and his goofy sidekick, Rambo (Rambo Tung Wai-kwong), the girls experience a variety of weird occurences, until the ghost snatches Cici and takes her down to Hell. A former classmate of Lily, "paranormal teacher" Kang Yo-wei (played by the film's director, Peter Mak Tai-kit) has invented a machine designed to tap into the brainwaves of the dead. Unfortunately, it also has the unexpected side effect of reviving an entire cemetery full of corpses. Yo-wei's uncle (a cameo by producer Raymond Wong Pak-ming) reveals the reasons behind Pinkish Red's tragic history and the reasons for her current actions but it is up to Lily and company to enter the netherworld and rescue their friend.
From right to left: Ann Bridgewater, Rambo Tung, Peter Mak and Mark Cheng. Image courtesy WA.
This little known horror / comedy is a typical Raymond Wong production in most respects but has a bit more going for it than his HAPPY GHOST series. The film was co-produced with Long Shong Pictures of Taiwan and that apparently resulted in an extra infusion of cash, greatly enhancing the visuals, make-up, atmosphere, and special effects. The humor isn't really any more inspired than usual but ABRACADABRA ends up being amiable and brisk enough to be a pleasant diversion that is more successful, on its comparatively unambitious level, than Mak's tiresomely overproduced version of THE WICKED CITY (1992). Fennie Yuen Kit-ying has an unbilled, running cameo as a zombie bride trying to get Mak (and ended up being accidentally punched in the face by the actor / director in one of the outtakes running under the end credits).