HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You Were Never Really Here
Lovely But Deadly
Unsane
Smithereens
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
   
 
  Mr. Vampire 3 Wicked Witches and Good Guy GhostsBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Ricky Lau
Stars: Lam Ching Ying, Richard Ng, Liu Fong, Billy Lau, Pauline Wong, Ho Kin-Wai, Teddy Yip, Wu Ma, Sammo Hung, Ka Lee, Corey Yuen Kwai, Ban Yun-Sang, Lee Chi-Git, Chu Tau, Gam Biu, Chow Gam Kong
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Martial Arts, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: After a brief jump into mid-Eighties Hong Kong in Mr. Vampire 2 (1986), the series went back to olden times with this superior third instalment. Charlatan exorcist Uncle Ming (comedian Richard Ng) has genuine powers, but prefers scamming gullible families with his “pet ghosts” Ta Pao (Lui Fong) and little Hsi Pao (Ho Kin-Wai). But when vengeful spirits gatecrash his bogus haunting, Ming and friends are forced to flee. They stumble across a town besieged by evil wizard-warriors led by the powerful Devil Lady (Pauline Wong), but defended by sagely Taoist master Uncle Nine (Lam Ching Ying, of course) and idiotic Captain Chiang (Billy Lau). Chiang falls foul of the Pao’s playful pranks, but his fumbled exorcism allows Devil Lady a chance to wreak supernatural havoc. It’s up to Uncle Nine and a redemption-seeking Ming to save the day, while the good ghosts prove their valour amidst the zany, inventive climax.

Part three got things back on track after the muddled, if hugely profitable second effort. Since the cuddly little vampire subplot proved popular last time round, this one features two wholly sympathetic ghosts but avoids cutesiness in favour of witty slapstick set-pieces and more interesting subtext. Keeping ghosts is tantamount to slavery in Uncle Nine’s eyes and he warns Ming that spirits and men cannot mix. “How about one country, two systems?” asks Ta Pao, in a gag reference to Hong Kong’s then-imminent handover to Mainland China.

By the time this film was in development, A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) was breaking box office records and you sense producer/fight choreographer Sammo Hung (who cameos as a waiter, alongside Wu Ma and Corey Yuen Kwai) and director Ricky Lau wanted to up their game. The action and special effects are more ambitious with several large scale set-pieces and some freakish gore. Vampires have extendable arms and inflatable necks. Magic mirrors shoot laser beams. Necks are snapped, evil wizards punch through spines. Devil Lady vomits maggots to heal gaping neck wounds and sends molten lava missiles shooting out of the ground. Arguably the unsung heroine of the Mr. Vampire movies, Pauline Wong really shows off her range throughout the series, going from supernatural sensuality in part one to slapstick silliness in two. Here she makes a vicious, cackling hag, truly scary as she spews cockroaches and vampire bats and returns after death as a hideous ghoul. She is even game enough to bite the head off a lizard - which somehow turns Tao Pao into a bloodthirsty fiend.

The comedy is a little blacker this time round, with series regular Billy Lau playing an absolute bastard. His cowardly antics cause half the trouble and he even seals Ming in a room full of vampires (“Better sacrifice him to save the village”). Still, the film features plenty of winning silliness, including a possessed Pao visualising Ming as a tasty giant chicken and the ever-popular “clowning around with frozen vampires” bit. Somehow that gag never gets tired. Also making a welcome return are those little insights into Chinese folklore. Here we learn that clay urns can trap restless spirits and urine has mystical properties, while coin swords and paintbrushes dipped in holy ink are added to the vampire hunters’ arsenal. Perhaps most intriguing: deep frying ghosts in a vat of oil is a sure-fire way to seal magic spells (and presumably, their tasty flavour!). Which leads to the unforgettable sight of the crispy-battered vampire chasing a naked Richard Ng around the room. Sure enough Mr. Vampire 4 (1988) soon followed.

Click here for the trailer


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2027 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Arif Kabban
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
   

 

Last Updated: