Evil Cat is a Hong Kong horror comedy, or at least I think it’s a comedy. It has slapstick elements, like comedic running and comedic fearful panting. The cops comedically puke when they find a dead body even though we don’t see a lot of gore, that kind of thing. It’s often hard to tell what genre you’re watching with a Hong Kong movie. But this one is definitely horror slash something. Actually, for a movie of this type it’s kind of a straightforward possession flick, and not as batshit, or catshit, as it could be.
Synopsis: the males in a family have been defeating an evil cat demon every fifty years for generations. The problem now is that the last surviving man only has a daughter, and he himself is dying of cancer. He must find a guy to adopt as a son to pass on his demon-fighting knowledge, and it would be even more helpful if the guy falls in love with the daughter and becomes a son-in-law. I won’t even get into the subtext about needing to have a son or a cat demon will swipe left on all of Hong Kong as that’s above my pay grade.
Other than the meet-cute during which the demon fighter meets his successor while the younger man is driving his boss’s luxury car with an annoying prostitute in the car, and the demon fighter is lying in the road, and the two of them end up leaving the woman tied to a pole somewhere because she’s annoying, the two male leads are likable. They do some martial arts archery that’s pretty badass, especially the older dude who looks like he’d break you in half.
But better than that, there’s a lot of the old Taoist priest supernatural horror hokey pokey, which I can’t get enough of. I’m spellbound every time I see it in one of these movies. If Methodists had awesome rituals to defeat the dark center of the universe involving burning up yellow paper and then kicking ass for the Lord I’d be in church more often. (But not now, because I’m not about to sit in a room full of people singing and shaking hands during the pandemic.) I think watching the sorcery part of HK horror/horror comedies appeals to my ASMR centers in my brain, much like watching people do Tarot readings on YouTube just because I like to see them play with the cards.
Anyway, there’s a demon manifesting as an animated cat that jumps from host to host, and someone gets their tongue ripped out, and one of the hosts fights ALL the cops in the cop shop and knocks one of their heads clean off. Because it’s fun to play spot the reference, I will tell you Evil Cat has clear visual references to Ghostbusters, Nosferatu, and Hausu. I will admit I didn’t much care for the ending, and it was frustrating that every time our heroes killed the demon’s host with an arrow, the possessed person just exploded and the demon showed up somewhere else. It didn’t seem to fit with the whole “we defeated this thing every 50 years for centuries” thing. Also, there were actual transformations into a cat person, wearing makeup that wouldn’t have been out of place in the musical Cats, that were just ridiculous. The sheer entertainment value and perfect pace made up for any shortcomings in the plot, however.
But my favorite part is, as usual, a throwaway line. As a doomed pop star is being spirited away from his adoring fans by a sexy cat-possessed woman in a fancy car, one of said fans cries out, “I’ll never forget you, bitch.” And true to her word, she doesn’t forget her, and when he’s killed by the demon lady the fan is able to give a description of the car to the cops. If watching tons of movies where people get murdered has taught me anything, it’s that you should write down the license plate number of every car you see.
Do you know the new number one rule of 80s movies that have any kind of action sequence? The villain will own a large fish tank, which is going to get smashed.
P.S. I just now realized the main police inspector was played by the writer, Jing Wong. I love the ending now instead of hating it.