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Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Mr. Vampire (1985) - Ricky Lau


Jiangshi is a genre of horror from Hong Kong made popular in the mid-eighties. It focuses on Vampires and Zombies based in Chinese culture. This movie was an intrical part in that popularity. Mr. Vampire, or 暫時停止呼吸, is a horror comedy that's directed by Ricky Lau and produced by Sammo Hung. It has a big emphasis on slapstick humor and creative stunt elements.

A village plans to rebury an elder. However, after the body is exhumed it's discovered that the corpse is a reanimated, blood-thirsty, hopping vampire. Three guys that work at the local mortuary are tasked to save the world and stop the small vampire outbreak. Oh, there is a succubus in there too. She is running around doing her thing.

The horror portion is actually pretty fantastic. I really like the lore here too. They have Hopping Vampires that can be constrained with wards that you past to their foreheads. The vampires can also smell you when you breath. Needless to say, its a far cry from the past incarnations. It's kind of a breath of fresh air compared to the countless Dracula remakes. There isn't really any gore. It's mostly replaced with heavy makeup and implied elements. The comedy breaks things up. For what it has. It's great. Definitely not scary. But not tame either.

I love the style of this movie. The quick witted pace and slapstick action is perfect. It's something that dredges up a great deal of nostalgia. The acting leaves a lot to be desired. But it works for the time and it works for this movie. I wouldn't change a thing. The showdown at the end with the succubus works really well. It's a really decent Kung Fu/Horror movie.

Director:  Ricky Lau
Producer: Sammo Hung
Writers: Sze-to Cheuk-hon, Barry Wong and Wong Ying
Starring: Ricky Hui, Moon Lee, Chin Siu-ho, Lam Ching-ying
Studio: Bo Ho Films Co., Ltd. and Paragon Films Ltd.
Release Date: 7 November 1985
Country: Hong Kong
Did ya know: The scene were the body was being exhumed was filmed just outside of the New Territories in Hong Kong. The background had been used in such movies as The Young Master (1980) and The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) (during the end fight). Also filmed in the New Territories was the scene where the police investigate in a cave and the scene in where a body was being burned.




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