Comparison between the theatrical version on the German DVD by e-m-s and the extended version on the Taiwanese VHS by New Ship Film Enterprise Co. Ltd
A few additional master errors with a duration of less than 0.5 sec each were not listed in the report.
The 1987 release of A Chinese Ghost Story by producer Tsui Hark and director Ching Siu-Tung is without question a milestone in Asian cinema. The colorful genre mix of swordsplay, fairy tales, love and horror films can of course only be found in Hong Kong. With Joey Wang and Leslie Cheung perfectly cast, the viewer gets to see some charmingly quirky ideas, and their frequency has been increased in the sequels.
Besides the internationally common theatrical version, a 2 minute longer version can be found on a rare VHS from Taiwan. This is probably an early version of the trilogy, as they often came onto the Taiwanese market. Admittedly, it is mostly redundant material: slightly longer shots, 1-2 sentences more here and there. Only one longer sequence with Wu Ma stands out a bit. A yellow fade-in is fixed in the upper left corner of the picture, which is also zoomed and has burned-in subtitles. All in all, this is only something for hardcore collectors.
Runtimes are ordered as follows: Theatrical version on German DVD in PAL / Taiwanese VHS in NTSC
Alternative logos to start with.
Taiwan-VHS 5,5 sec longer
21:00-21:01 / 21:58
Lip's foot comes into the picture on DVD a little earlier from above.
Reel change, as you could guess from the white dots on the Taiwanese VHS.
+ 1 sec
23:22 / 24:26-24:29
Ling is still wondering how Lip can suddenly show up like this.
23:24 / 24:31-24:34
After Lip has asked in both versions why Ling follows her, Ling has an explanation only in the Taiwan version.
23:38 / 24:49-24:52
Between the shots of Lip and Ling on the ground, the pursuers swirl through the air in short shots.
25:15 / 26:33-26:34
When Lip holds Ling on to the arm again, a few frames are lost in two shots.
25:17 / 26:36-26:39
It takes a little longer until she asks him for the name.
29:30 / 31:03-31:10
Yin (Wu Ma) comments a little at the end of the shot. Ling says he should sit down.
30:09 / 31:51-31:54
Before Ling asks Yin to show the spirits, he says a first sentence. Unfortunately, the subtitles are cut off.
30:50 / 32:36-32:38
After Ling is included, the first shot of him starts a little earlier.
35:51 / 37:50-38:04
Ling leaves the store for a longer time and wonders who the girl could be. When he takes a step out, the owner apparently finds the picture Ling is looking for in the background. But then it is probably not the right one after all.
36:58 / 39:15-39:17
Lip turns around again in additional shot and grins.
37:05 / 39:24-40:11
Ling continues to stray with the lantern and meets a ghost - which, however, only turns out to be Yin. Yin wants to throw Ling out of the temple, but he is not intimidated. During the discussion, Yin accidentally knocks a bees' nest to the ground. They both take cover from the bees and Ling looks determined.
40:38-40:39 / 43:53
The walking around of the women in dresses is shown a little earlier on DVD.
Again reel changes, as can be seen as white dots as well as damages in the shots before.
+ 1.2 sec
44:18 / 47:41-47:51
Lip can be seen longer. She states here that she is the one in the picture.
44:26 / 47:59-48:00
After a re-cut to Ling, the follow-up shot of Lip starts a little earlier.
44:57 / 48:33-48:36
Two shots a little longer as Lip is criticizing that Ling is only after her money.
45:08 / 48:47-48:51
Ling hesitates a little earlier before he throws the picture to the ground.
45:31-45:32 / 49:15-49:23
At the end of the scene, a soft transition is made to the shot of the rainy alley in the familiar version. The Taiwan version shows Lip longer and then a hard cut to the shot outside, which starts a little earlier.
Taiwan-VHS 6.9 sec longer
51:44-51:51 / 55:51
Lip says in the familiar version that she is not human. Then there is a gust of wind outside and Yin runs inside. Finally, Ling turns Lip back to herself at the beginning of the shot, and shortly after that the Taiwan VHS starts again.
+ 7 sec
54:31 / 58:38-58:40
Ling comes from a little further back.
54:42 / 58:51-58:55
The shot starts earlier with a first short dialog.
55:23 / 59:39-59:40
Again you see the judge a little earlier.
55:45 / 60:03-60:06
The judge yawns and Ling gets a few more strokes.
56:56 / 61:21
After Yin has said that he is innocent, we see him insignificantly longer.
57:06 / 61:32-61:33
Also shortly after that, a shot with Ling starts much earlier.
57:21 / 61:48-61:49
When the judge complains that he was not bribed, a few frames are lost again.
Also with the shots on it you will find more insignificant single images, but there each one is < 0.5 sec..
62:13-62:14 / 66:54
Next reel change: Ling closes the doors a little earlier on DVD
+ 1.4 sec
79:55-79:57 / 85:19
The last reel change: On the DVD, Yin comes into the picture from the left.
+ 2.6 sec
80:13 / 85:35
The smoke is different. In the theatrical version an almost fixed fade-in that slowly closes. In Taiwan, smaller swaths fly around.
90:22 / 96:10-96:17
As Ling sits on the horse, there is some additional dialogue with Yin at the beginning of the shots.
90:29 / 96:24-96:27
The last shot with the rainbow a little longer.
The credits are different. In the theatrical version, there's above a review of scenes from the film, in Taiwan, it's on a black background.