Directed by Jeff Lau (A Chinese Odyssey
, All for the Winner
), this 1995 film features Chow at his most wild and wacky as a mental patient who battles ghosts. Chow is Leon, a black-clad, sunglasses-wearing ghostbuster who arrives at a high-rise Hong Kong housing estate in time to save the locals from some pissed off ghosts. But more ghosts will be arriving soon, so Leon must train the security staff in his wacked-out spectre-battling ways - which include tools like a slingshot, candies, plastic wrap, and a ghost-sensing plant. His plans work, putting the ghosts on the ropes, but once Leon himself is possessed by a particularly malicious ghost, will anybody be able to stop him?
Co-starring Karen Mok, Out of the Dark has earned a reputation as Stephen Chow's darkest film, adding brutal violence, copious blood, and scads of black humor to the nonsense jokes, movie parodies, and toilet humor that fans of his early work expect. Aside from the obvious nod towards Luc Besson's Leon (a.k.a. The Professional), Chow and company skewer Highlander, Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels (Karen Mok does the honors by parodying her own award-winning role), and even director Jeff Lau's long history of successful horror comedies, including The Haunted Cop Shop, Operation Pink Squad 2, and Mortuary Blues, among others. Breathlessly-paced and outrageously off-color, Out of the Dark is easily one of Stephen Chow's most hilarious (and notorious) works.