Thursday, March 19, 2020

Use of Tropes: Hex

The film Xie was released in 1980, directed by Chih-Hung Kuei and was a Shaw Brothers production. The plot was a mystery with supernatural notes that sees Chan Sau Ying (Ni Tien) as the last of her familial line. Her parents married her to Yeung Chun Yu (Jung Wang) but then the parents fell on hard times and both died of consumption.

As the film proper starts, she is in her sickbed, with the one remaining servant looking after her, whilst Yeung has proven himself to be a drunk and angry man, quick to violence. His behaviour around the house causes the last servant to leave. A woman, Leung Kei Wah (Szu-Chia Chen) then comes to the house, telling Chan that she is the daughter of an old servant and offers to help until the Mistress’ health improves.

after death, with fangs
She is soon the subject of Yeung’s violence, including an implied sexual assault, but she has more moxy than the previous servant and is willing to argue back and eventually, during a storm, she and the reluctant Chan drown the brute and put his body in a nearby pond. The Mistress is filled with guilt and it appears that his body has vanished (when the pond is drained) and he is haunting her, until she dies of fright.

using a cleaver
It quickly becomes apparent that he didn’t die, indeed he was in cahoots with Leung, who he marries and they uncover the funds and jewellery that Chan had jealously guarded. They are now haunted by Chan and she is referred to as a ghost. However, she certainly can be corporeal and there are a couple of tropes we recognise. The first being that she is seen to have fangs – not a normal look for a standard ghost (Chinese or western). The second is that, when exorcising her, a wise woman uses black dog blood – normally associated with kyonsi.

behind you
And that’s it. Not a vampire but a couple of genre aspects used. The film is worth an initial watch – however whether it stands up to repeated watches is debatable. The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Blu-Ray/DVD @ Amazon UK

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