HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Mr. Vampire Hopping Mad Chinese Bloodsuckers
Year: 1985
Director: Ricky Lau
Stars: Lam Ching Ying, Chin Siu Ho, Moon Lee, Ricky Hui, Pauline Wong, Billy Lau, Huang Ha, Anthony Chan, Yuen Wah, Ho Pak-Kwong, Ka Lee, Wu Ma, Wong Wan-Si, Tenky Tin Kai-Man, Yuen Biao
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Martial Arts, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: In turn of the century Hong Kong, if you’ve got problems with ghosts or ghouls you go see Taoist Master Kou (Lam Ching Ying). Kou and his bumbling assistants, sex-happy Chou (Chin Siu Ho) and klutzy Man Choi (Ricky Hui) wield a unique arsenal of wacky spells ready to hold off hopping vampires, who look like Christopher Lee trying to play Dracula, Fu Manchu and The Mummy at the same time. When local business tycoon Mr. Yam (Huang Hua) inadvertently defiles his grandfather’s grave, the vampirized ancestor rises to menace Yam and his dainty, westernized daughter Ting Ting (kung fu diva Moon Lee). Pretty soon it’s murder, but clueless Police Captain Wai (Billy Lau) arrests Master Kou, while poor Man Choi swallows vampire blood and Chou receives some unwanted amorous attention from comely ghost girl Jade (Pauline Wong)…

Why do Chinese vampires hop? Because a walking corpse sounds stupid, right? Ask a silly question… Produced and featuring action choreography by Sammo Hung, Mr. Vampire followed his earlier hit film Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980) with a trailblazing combination of supernatural horror, acrobatic action and Three Stooges style slapstick comedy. It’s a formula that eventually reached Hollywood and morphed into the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996-2003) and Blade (1998), but here proves eye-opening and fresh.

Most intriguing to western eyes are its insights into Chinese folklore. Here we learn how a mixture of chicken’s blood and sticky rice makes a handy potion to ward off evil and holding your breath makes you invisible to the undead. Kou and company wield an amazing arsenal that includes paper spells, wooden swords, and death-ray spewing magic mirrors, while a series of tense, witty set-pieces show off the amazing martial arts skills of Chin Siu Ho and Lam Ching Ying. Lam had been around for years, delivering solid, sometimes outstanding performances in movies like Prodigal Son (1981). The blockbusting success of Mr. Vampire led him to become the genre’s Peter Cushing, reprising his Taoist sifu act in several sequels and zany spin-offs like Crazy Safari (1991), One-Eyebrowed Priest (1987) and his self-directed Vampire vs. Vampire (1991).

With the first Mr. Vampire, a turn of the century setting marks a clash between the old world and the new. Here, the living are literally haunted by angry ancestors. Disreputable, westernized Captain Wai - who has the hots for cousin Ting Ting - disdains traditional beliefs and makes things worse with his clumsy detective methods. Ting herself eventually ditches her lovely pastel frocks for traditional Chinese attire and becomes a humble assistant to Master Kou. Whether or not there’s a message there is uncertain, but it remains a slight disappointment the gifted Moon Lee doesn’t get a chance to show off her formidable kung fu skills.

Director Ricky Lau remained at the helm throughout the Mr. Vampire series, save for the fifth instalment Magic Cop (1990). Having worked as a cinematographer and actor, he keeps tight hold on the disparate elements, ensuring the vampires stay scary rather than lapse into figures of fun. The makeup is suitably eerie, while future superstars Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah do most of the stunt-doubling. Like Lam Ching-Ying, Ricky Lau became rather typecast in this genre, but contributed offbeat movies like Where’s Officer Tuba? (1986) - a bizarre HK variant on Randal & Hopkirk (Deceased), the serial killer comedy-thriller Nocturnal Demon (1991) - legendary for Moon Lee’s kung fu roller-derby routine - and the oddly brutal Romance of the Vampires (1994).

The film musters some sympathy for Pauline Wong’s lonely lady ghost, who has her own catchy theme tune (“The lady ghost looks for a lover. Who would take a bride so shady?”) and a soft-focus supernatural love scene with Chou (“Lucky for me you found out she was a ghost too late!” quips the randy hero to his master), before she morphs into a fright-wigged phantom with a hideous detachable head. It builds to a fantastic, slow-motion free-for-all finale that will leave newcomers to Hong Kong horror slack-jawed with awe.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4425 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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: