Candle in the Tomb 鬼吹灯之精绝古城

Candle in the Tomb (鬼吹灯之精绝古城) follows a recently retired army man on dangerous tomb raiding adventures through snowy mountain of Kunlun to desert of Xinjiang. Zombies, ghosts, critters, 80s hairstyles, quotations from Chairman Mao, you name it, we got it.

I have reasons to believe this show passed the stringent Chinese censorship unscathed solely on their strategic placement of Mao and Deng. No self-respecting CC bureaucrat would take a scissor to a show that quotes the little red book and displays a healthy respect for local officials who voluntarily surrender ancient treasures to the government. We, the audience, understand perfectly the show is in no way mocking the establishment. And, it is most definitely not doing verbal eye rolling every time the characters express their patriotism to the motherland.

Now that we got the disclaimer out of the way, we can move on to the show itself.

To truly appreciate the show, one must watch the first 5 episodes in one sitting. The first 2 episodes build up your tolerance for crime against fashion and political brainwashing. The 3rd episode introduces you to the eeriness reserved for places devoid of human activity. The 4th episode scares you into turning on all the lights. I did not scream when I watched the scene-that-shall-not-be-named. At most, I yelped then politely invited my mom to watch the rest of the episode with me. The 5th episode brings you back to the wonderful land of open space and bright sunlight.

For the scene-that-shall-not-be-named, I will not post any picture or give any description because that is the only thing in horror films that unnerves me. A survey on weibo showed most viewers chose that scene as the “most memorable” scene in the first 6 episodes. You will not miss it when you see it.

Gui Cui Deng

Moving on…

Ying Zi is an awesome guide and a great hunter. She maybe young. She maybe a girl. But when Hu Bayi and Wang Pangzi need saving, she is there cover their backs.
Gui Cui Deng Candle in the Tomb

Yet, she still retains the vulnerability of a little girl. Things in the dark scare her. Throw her a wild boar or a mountain cat anytime, but she will say no thank you to zombies and dead bodies.
Jing Jue Gu Cheng Candle in the Tomb

She had signed up to take them through the woods, not into a tomb. She was ready to cut off Panzi’s hand for refusing to give up the jade that would’ve jeopardized their chance of getting out the tomb alive.
Gui Cui Deng Candle in the Tomb

Should have, could have, and would have are the most unproductive phrases in the human language. What is done is done. The 8-foot giant zombie is awake and he wants them to keep him company.
Candle in the Tomb Gui Cui Deng

But what scares me is the not the 8-foot zombie. It is finding a metal door in an ancient tomb. It is very disorienting. Since it blocks out the slow moving zombie, so we are all good… For the moment. Turns out, they finally found the place they were supposed to find when they set out: The WWII Japanese military base. You can feel their collective relief when they turned on the generator. Let there be light! And weapons!
Gui Cui Deng Gui Cui Deng

For every base, there is an exit. Hopefully, not one that is blocked by a zombie.

Unfortunately, luck was not on their side. They were attacked by bats and had to shoot their way back into the bunker.
Candle in the Tomb

So they tried door number 2. Since the door wasn’t on the map, they took precautions and wore gas masks before going through it.
Candle in the Tomb
Are you my mummy?

Well, well, well, it was another branch of the tomb. The military base was built along side the ancient tomb and the Japanese had already raided the place and all its contents. However, there appeared to be one coffin that hadn’t been opened. They lit up the candles and cracked opened the lid, which led to the scene-that-shall-not-be-named.
Jing Jue Gu Cheng Candle in the Tomb

With no way out of the base, the team back tracked to the 8-foot zombie burial room. Fights ensued with guns blazing, grenades exploding, ax chopping. The zombie was unstoppable. Then, Hu Bayi shot at the ceiling and acid fire rained down burning everything in the room. And I mean everything.
Candle in the Tomb Gui Cui Deng

They escaped the burning inferno by a hair’s-breadth. Boy, were they glad to be back to the land of living! Hence it concludes their first amateurish tomb raiding adventure.
Gui Cui Deng


2 thoughts on “Candle in the Tomb 鬼吹灯之精绝古城

  1. Timescout December 27, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    That was a fun and informative read. XD

    So it was Mao and Deng the guys were quoting, LOL! I didn’t understand a word on my 1st watch but I was sure they were quoting someone as they adopted that ‘lofty’ style that’s catgorically reserved for quoting them revered persons.

    I had no idea wha the ‘scene-that-shall-not-be-named’ was about so I had to go back and rewatch that part. Apparently I don’t scare easy as I went past it without even batting an eyelid, twice.^^ And the giant zobie only managed to make me giggle. So far Candle has been interesting more than scary.


    • kumaxell December 27, 2016 / 3:55 pm

      I agree the scene-that-shall-not-be-named is not scary at all. However, it played to my primordial fear, and I couldn’t shake off the lingering terror. I blame it entirely on the Japanese/Hong Kong horror flicks I watched growing up.


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