Everybody is Kung Fu Biting in Ricky Lau’s seminal horror comedy Mr. Vampire.
Like a Taoist priest preparing a body for reburial, Eureka Entertainment have raided the crypts of Asian cinema to provide this cinematic classic with a special 2K restoration Blu Ray home release.
When the planned reburial of a village elder goes awry, the corpse resurrects into a hopping, bloodthirsty vampire. A Taoist Priest and his two bumbling disciples must stop the terror from threatening mankind.
This film kickstarted the Jiangshi genre that became hugely popular in the Eighties. Jiangshi, based on Chinese folklore, are reanimated hopping corpses that are a cross between vampires and zombies.
It is a tricky blend to get right. A slow hopping vampire, similar to a single shuffling zombie, might not appear very scary. It can appear comical even. Therefore Lau leans into the action comedy side of things, proving a wise choice. In addition, it plays to the strengths of his actors including veteran action star Ching-Ying Lam and comedian Ricky Hui.
The story does lag in the first act as it gets bogged down in exposition, character and plot development. However once the gloves are off and the killer razor sharp nails are out, the stakes are raised.
Whether the enemy is a hopping vampire or a sensual ghost, the fight scenes are superbly choreographed, energetically shot and breath new (after)life into the film.
As a result the film definitely doesn’t suck and it is easy to see why it spawned a franchise. It is fangtastically good fun.
Mr. Vampire is released by Eureka Entertainment on Special Edition Blu Ray on Monday 20 June.
Director: Ricky Lau
Stars: Ching-Ying Lam, Siu-Ho Chin, Ricky Hui, Moon Lee
Runtime: 96 mins
Country: Hong Kong