Friday, January 11, 2019

Gui tai (1975)

... aka: ครรภ์ผี
... aka: 鬼胎
... aka: Fetal Ghost
... aka: Kun phee
... aka: Kun pi
... aka: Possessed, The
... aka: Pregnant by a Ghost

Directed by:
"Loong Shiao" (Lung Hsiao)
Li Wei

After credits and a Chinese scroll I couldn't understand, we meet up with a pair of young lovers out for a nighttime motorcycle drive through the country. He, Kuang Ta Pan (Lieh Lo), and she, Lei Ting Chou (Runglawan Sripatimakul), end up stranded after the bike mysteriously quits and then topples over. Unable to get it started, they decide to walk home but are forced to duck into a cave once it starts to rain. Since this is a 1970s movie cave, it's not only filled with old artifacts and skeletons but also with blue, purple, yellow, orange, red and green colored lighting for no apparent reason other than it looks cool. Only slightly creeped out by all of the scary-looking statues and human bones scattered about, the two decide to do another kind of boning that manages to disturb an ancient evil spirit hidden inside the largest of the statues. Unbeknownst to them, the invisible spirit then decides to join in on the action!

After their strange night in the cave, Kuang Ta and Lei Ting return to the city just in time to visit Lei Ting's wealthy father (Chao Klaewklong) on his deathbed. Lawyer Shek Chiao (Krung Srivilai), who used to date Lei Ting himself and is still in love with her, even reads the will while the father is just minutes away from dying. Pops wants to make sure it's clearly conveyed that he disapproves of his daughter's relationship to Kuang Ta, as he finds him lazy, unambitious, stubborn and his motives suspicious. Still, he leaves his home, his money, his lucrative property business and everything else to his daughter in hopes she'll ultimately make the right decision. Long story short: She doesn't.

Despite having a nice, loyal, kind, handsome, responsible lawyer who'd gladly marry her, Lei Ting breaks his heart and opts for the bad boy instead. The two marry and then, to the surprise of no one, things immediately turn sour. On their wedding eve, their first intimate night since the whole cave incident, Lei Ting finds herself revolted by the idea of sex with her new hubby and is unable to follow through with consummating their marriage. Kuang Ta calls her "disgusting!" and goes to sleep on the couch. He's also not particularly interested in filling in for his late father-in-law as managing director of his company either and is just fine with the business going down the tubes. He is, however, interested in his new personal assistant; the aptly named Secretary Ho. Frustrated by lack of sex, Kuang Ta goes to a "Turkish Bath and Massage" parlor and finds Ms. Ho also working there. The two become lovers.

Lei Ting, who's been suffering from debilitating stomach cramps and dizzy spells, goes to see her physician, Dr. Wu (Kun Li), and finds out she's three months pregnant. Strangely, she can't feel the baby moving. After having been pregnant for 14 months (!) Wu tells her it's "strange" but not to worry (!!) By this point, Kuang Ta has taken off for Hong Kong and abandoned Lei Ting, forcing her to make amends with people he has wronged. She has her father's loyal employee Mr. Mai (Ni Liu), who'd resigned due to Kuang Ta's behavior, start running the business and gets back in touch with Shek Chiao. But then the baby finally arrives to screw everything up again.

After going through a strenuous labor, Lei Ting gives birth to a baby that the doctor describes as a "fat daughter" but is about the size of a one year old. The baby girl also has a full set of teeth. She names her Sze Ta. Being the upstanding guy that he is, Shek Chiao steps up and offers to help raise the girl but Lei Ting refuses as she, God knows why, still pines for the asshole she was dumb enough to marry. Four years pass and the baby is now a bratty little girl being partially raised by a bespectacled new nanny named Miss Chan. After he unsuccessfully tries to rape Lei Ting, chauffeur Ah Wang (Luechai Natnat), is lured outside by a beautiful young woman wearing a sheer nightgown. She seduces him, turns into a clawed, fanged vampire and kills him. Police, led by Inspector Liu (Yau Fong), swing by long enough to collect the corpse but that's about it. Little Sze Ta asks mommy if his death has made her happy afterward.

Naughty nanny Miss Chan offers to massage and then makes a lesbian pass at an outraged Lei Ting, who responds by shrieking, "You are shameless! Unscrupulous!" But Nanny gets her way after blackmailing Lei Ting with a piece of torn nightgown found at the murder scene. Later, when Nanny Chan, who shares a room with Sze Ta, starts having an erotic dream about her mommy, the little girl starts having a seizure, lies on the floor and suddenly transforms into a fully grown adult woman i.e. the same vampire who killed the driver. She slips into bed with Miss Chan, starts feeling her up and then kills her. Police come to investigate her death, too, but leave empty handed yet again. They finally become more active in their investigation after the vampire pays the nice guy lawyer a visit and attempts to kill him.

Having become a success in Hong Kong as a "manager," Kuang Ta finally decides to bring his sorry ass back home. Instead of laughing and slamming the door in his face as most of us would likely do, Lei Ting welcomes him with open arms and is overjoyed her family is finally back together again. But Kuang Ta's back at a bad time as the police have tracked their possessed little girl to the same cave where she was conceived. As she's impervious to bullets, being a ghost / vampire and all, they call in a group of a Buddhist monks to pray.

Clearly made in response to the success of The Exorcist (1973), this title is seldom included on lists of Exorcist copycats made during the 1974 to 1975 possession movie heyday, though perhaps it should be. There's also some clear ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) influence going on, too, as well as a few elements that sort of predate the following year's The Omen (1976). This was a lot trashier than I was anticipating and there's just enough cheese and sleaze and fun elements to give it a passing grade. The actress playing the seductive ghost is วันทนา บุญบันเทิง. I don't have her Roman name (the translator gives back Wantana Boonpanang) but she was supposedly notorious back then for being the first Thai actress to do "erotic nudity" and was married to actor Lak Apichat, who also appears here playing a police officer.

A Hong Kong / Thailand co-production with top actors from each country in lead roles, many sources list this as being two different films. The first listing says it's a Thai film originally titled Kun pi (given the English title Pregnant by a Ghost) and released in 1975. The second listing is for a Hong Kong film titled Gui tai (given then English title The Possessed) and released in 1976. Nope, same exact film. The Thai language version is missing but thankfully the HK version in Mandarin received a VHS release (using the Possessed title) by Finest Productions. Even better, their release has English subtitles! Sure, some of those subs get cut off the screen but we should at least be thankful this wasn't an entirely Thai production or else it may have gotten destroyed like many of their other movies from this same time.

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