Although Halloween has passed, some people still miss the amusing festival. And a thriller The House That Never Dies (京城81号) can help them experience the horrible atmosphere again.
With famous Hong Kong actor Wu Zhenyu and Taiwan actress Lin Xinru among its cast, the film has already attracted much attention since it began shooting.
In the early period of the Republic of China (1912-1949), a rich family—Huo lived in an old house in Beijing. The third young master Huo Lianqi fell in love with a prostitute Lu Dieyu. With Huo’s efforts, his first brother finally agreed they married. But on the wedding day, Lu found the bridegroom was a dead man – Huo’s second brother who just passed away, while her lover disappeared. After that night, Lu got pregnant. The whole family were all terrified about the eccentric thing. Soon after the baby’s birth, Huo family members all died, except for the baby and the first master. One hundred years later, the family’s descendant returns to the old house. But some strange things happen at the same time.
The main reason that people focus on it is not these famous stars, but the old house itself.
In Beijing, the place in which the story occurs really exists. It is a deserted house which is called as the first of four ghost houses in the east, and many horrible stories about it have circulated in Beijing for years. The House That Never Dies derived from one of those strange tales.
“The film subject has much commercial value,” Chen Hui, the producer of The House That Never Dies said, “The title ‘the first of four ghost houses in the east’ is enough to attract people’s curiosity.” Except for the terrifying building, the film is filled with many eastern horrific elements like ghost marriage, bright red wedding dress and golden coffin.
However, because of Chinese film censorship, Chinese thrillers are restricted in the ghost subject. One of results brought by these restrictions is that many Chinese thrillers end with such kind of explanation of mysterious cases – these horrors are imagined by the protagonist, because he is drugged or has mental illness, and the thriller always is turned into comedy under the influence. To the criticism about the film, the chief actor of the film Yang Youning replied in an interview, “To those audiences who mistake the film for romantic one, I am sorry it frightens you; to others who mistake it for thriller, I am sorry it disappoints you.”