Sunday, 25 May 2014

REVIEW: Mr Vampire (1985)... Hopping Hong Kong Madness!! (May 2014)

If I was to recommend an obscure Kung Fu horror comedy - rarely seen by mainstream audiences - it would definitely be Mr Vampire (1985). The film stars the late, Lam Ching-Ying (1952 - 1997) who plays a vampire-busting, Priest and is aided by two comical assistants, Chin Siu-Ho & Ricky Hui. A corpse (played by Wah Yuen) has been reanimated from the dead and seeks revenge on a rich business man where Sifu (Lam) is framed for his murder by the law. It is up to Chin to free master from a prison jail where the body of the business man has come back to life as the walking dead. Now, with the law on his side, Sifu must track down the original dead corpse whilst Chin falls in love with a ghost in the village (Pauline Wong), whilst Man Choi (Hui) is poisoned by the corpse and is close to becoming a vampire himself! And don't forget about the beautiful love interest heroine, Moon Lee. Sound fun? Hell yeah!

The film is set in the old days of China where superstition and magic plays a BIG part in this film. Lam uses magic mirrors and string/wire and swords to combat the Living Dead in the form of Hopping Vampires! Hopping Vampires? Yes, Hopping Vampires! The dead are ridged and must be burnt or stopped by magic charm paper spells stuck to their heads. One must also hold their breath around the Vampires so they can't detect the living and turn them into the undead, too!

Mr Vampire is produced by action legend Sammo Hung and is directed by Ricki Lau. It features brilliant set pieces and glossy-looking production values. It also featured many spin-offs and sequels and type-cast Lam as the serious monster/vampire/ghost-busting priest in many roles to come!

Mr Vampire (1985) - poster!
I grew up watching this movie one chilly Christmas time in 1990. Channel 4 in the UK would play A Chinese Ghost Story season - another season was the Godzilla creature Feature - and was introduced by Jonathan Ross in his glory days - see clip, HERE! Mr Vampire was in widescreen and subtitled, so NO digital remastering audio tampering was present - unlike the 2002 remastered dvd! The best and original version I had of this film in in the late 90's on VHS - sadly, my copy went missing! The 2002 dvd also includes a humorous, if not unfaithful English dub track, changing names and breaking the forth wall - for example Man-Choi (now, Malcolm) telling the audience that he is "the hero of this film"??? In my opinion, more horror & non-horror fans should check this movie out! Simply, Enjoy! Great humour, great comic timing, nice ghost-story sub-plot and unbelievable martial-art action blend with horror. It's genius! It kicks ass!


2 comments:

  1. Great Blog Page John!
    Keep up your good work and always honour and love your critical Reviews of Dvds..Movies old and new! Have A Horror fantastic Biteing Time :)

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  2. TY, Clive... Top Support! I Thank you... Cheers for the comment, glad you like Mr Vampire, also! Amazing film! :D

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