Monday, November 12, 2012

Mr. Vampire

Mr. Vampire Directed By Ricky Lau. Starring Lam Ching-Ying. 1985
            I saw the English translated one first along time ago (at least 7 years) and I remember the dialogue being more outlandish in an Umberto Lenzi type way. This is the original Mandarin version. The only way to keep a Chinese vampire out of commission is it to hang a sacred scroll over his hat. Actually there are many ways to defeat a Jing Shi (or Hopping Vampire) read about the folklore here.
 This is the greatest hopping chinese vampire film ever made and there are over 5 sequels. There are tons of Chan-esque marial arts comedy fighting. Mainly because this was produced by Sammo Hung! It's less of a horror movie then an all out comedy with the undead.The unibrowed actor that plays master Kau is Lam Ching-Ying he’s in a lot of the sequels and other kick magic related monster battles, defusing the unholy with flying light up swords and chicken blood.
            The bowl cut shrimp (whose name is MAN played by Ricky Hui) and his master are so retarded that they don't know how to fix up a cup of coffee (there's the caste system at work)! They slurp each one individually (black coffee, milk then sugar). There's a lot of wacky misunderstandings going on like a Chinese Threes company with vampires! They don't have time to figure it out coffee, they are too busy battling the undead.  
            Something sinister is going down at the Dragon Fly Plot, pissed off ghosts seek revenge like the ones in Poltergeist. Incense is used a lot and sacred rituals (like the catholic ones in Hammer Films). The fire, chicken blood ritual is pretty bad ass! An attractive ghost hitches a ride on a bike, she took a shine to one of the main characters after he took care of her grave at the Dragon Fly Plot.
The piece of yellow paper with Chinese characters on it is magic and when shrimp bowl haircut (Man) swallows it he can control and humiliate a high society character. The light up grid on the wooden coffin holding the vampire in check isn't enough to keep him locked in. They place the unibrowed master in jail without a trial because he has long nails and is a suspect in the murder of the uncle character. Raw sticky rice, chicken blood and yellow paper are the garlic, holy water and crosses of Mr. Vampire! Also if you hold your breath a vampire cannot see you, these are helpful tips if you ever find yourself in an Asian vampire invasion! There's flying, crotch biting and well choreographed fighting. There's a wire contraption that fries vampires that reminds me of the tennis ball inter-dimensional hijinks in Poltergeist! A snake’s gall bladder is mushed into a mortar and pestle to prevent a vampire bite (see Calamity of Snakes & Killer Snakes for more reptile remedies). A cheap rice salesman almost kills the vampire busting team by mixing in inferior rice! I saw this before Chinese Ghost Story and Close Encounters of The Spooky Kind, so this was my first entry into pretty female ghosts seeking mortal men to fall in love with. They are pretty on the outside, but mean one-eyed headless bitches on the inside!
            Mr. Vampire is more of a Sammo Hung haunted comedy then perverted Jing Wong/ Shaw Brothers and It should be appropriate for kids, but what do I know?

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