Tag Archives: Hungry Ghost Festival

Hungry Ghost Festival 2022. Something Old and Something New in Movies That Chew Up the Concept.

20 Aug

Hungry Ghost FestivalSome years seem less spirited when films released near Hungry Ghost Festival offer nothing new. In entertainment, producers aren’t obligated to make a film during this time, as we get to see them year-round. Now that we are a week into this event, it’s time to consider what is available to watch–a mix of old and new. In the past two years, Ghost Lab (Thailand), and Irul: Ghost Hotel (Malaysia) and Umma (Korean-American) are three works worth checking out. The links providedd here go to their respective trailers on YouTube.

I won’t say too much about them, as what I’d reveal would be laden with spoilers. They are worth the time to catch, and they certainly had me considering going to sleep with the lights on. Thankfully they have a State-side VOD/Streaming release. Ghost Lab and Umma are on Netflix, and Irul is on Amazon Prime USA.

To round out this spooky list of four titles to check out, what I offer is a fond look back at an old, underappreciated Stephen Chow film, Out of the Dark, which deals with problematic ghosts. I feel this film truely represents everything the Hungry Ghost Festival is all about–placating and respecting those entities said to wander our world. When these spirits are out for vengence, just what can mortals do to turn things around? In this film’s case, turn to Leon (Chow), and hope this “professional” can bust some ghosts! Unfortunately, he’s a few cards short of a full deck, and he’s not quite the expert everyone makes him out to be.

Here, Mr. Li (Chi-Fai Chow) is scared that his late mother (Suk-Mui Tam) will return to haunt him. She blames him for her death, and that’s everything someone hoping their elder’s spirit is at peace doesn’t want! Add on top Kwan (Karen Mok) and some inept security guards who hire Leon to deal with this haunting, and everything that goes wrong will!

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Honouring the Dead with Top 5 Picks During South Asia’s Ghost Month

23 Aug

Hungry Ghosts (TV Mini Series 2020– ) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Ghost Month is now upon us, and people in South Asia are honouring their ancestors lest they become hungry. The lore about making them happy in this afterlife is just one of at least three traditions that we practise throughout the year. And for those who are looking for a good spooky tale, trying to find something recent isn’t always there. That is, the output has not been the same as those movies set in or close to Chinese New Year.

The classics include Chinese Ghost Story, the Eye, Ju-on and so forth, but they’re too time-honoured to be cool anymore. When going through my collection and scouring the Internet, I offer my top five picks with the tough criteria in what to love from each country. Also, this list is not restricted to just film:

Topping my list is:

Hungry Ghosts (2020)

Australia
TV Drama 4x50min
Available on SBSOnDemand

When a powerful amulet is broken on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Festival in Melbourne, a vengeful spirit is unleashed, bringing the dead with him. As they wreak havoc across the Vietnamese Australian community, reclaiming lost loves and repaying old grudges, a young woman who’s never taken responsibility for who she could be, must finally step up and accept her destiny.    

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How to Celebrate Hungry Ghost Festival Aug 15th

14 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Ghost Month will reach its perigee on August 15th. At the Hungry Ghost Festival (盂兰盆节), these once human souls are permitted to visit the living world and some may visit their descendents to see how they are doing. On this day, we venerate them with happiness and acknowledge their existence. We save the first row in any performance venue for them to sit there. Anyone who tries may well feel a chill!

This time of the year is a different sort of Halloween. As for what believers can do in preparation is to beware of certain practices lest the spirit attaches itself. This can range from avoiding wearing clothing that is red or black to not killing insects crawling around–they may be someone’s grandparents reincarnated. The best thing to do with the latter is to catch and release the critter outside.

Superstitions aside, some fans of horror cinema may opt to get into the mood. Instead of scaring ourselves silly, we may opt to look at supernatural comedies. My choices have to fit the criteria of how the spirit world interacts with reality. Instead of a top five, I have six on my list. In my culture, we consider this number lucky. Amongst my favourites that are distinctly Asian and PG-13 in tone are:

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