Reviewed by: dan_gale
Summary: Groovy unofficial sequel
NEW MR. VAMPIRE (1986)
A category II film, not suitable for younger children.
Directed by B. Chan
Produced by William Chang
Designed by Hua Yao Liang
Scenario by Huang Ying
Unit Manager: Chung Chen
Chien Hsiao Hou (aka Chin Siu-ho)
Wang Hsiao Feng
This is to the Mr. Vampire series what Never Say Never Again is to the James Bond films an unofficial entry disguised as the real thing by borrowing actors and elements from the official series. It stars Chin Siu-ho from Mr. Vampire (1985), who later returned to the official series in part 5, Vampire Vs. Vampire (1989) and part 7 Mr. Vampire 1992 (1992).
The great Lam Ching Ying isnt in this film. The main vampire hunter in this one, the Taoist monk role, is called Chein and is played by Wang Hsiao Feng.
Heres the story. Its around 1900. Two rival Taoist monks, who are brothers, names Chein and Wu are asked by a Mafia boss if one of them will transport his dead brothers corpse to the desired burial ground without it becoming a vampire (being a mobster, hed done many bad deeds in his lifetime and is more likely to be refused entry to Heaven). Chein wins as he appears less incompetent and Wu gets jealous and tries to sabotage the journey by turning the corpse into a vampire, which he does.
Meanwhile a likeable grave-robber (Chin Siu-ho) enters the tomb of a beautiful, recently deceased young girl who is instantly struck by lightening along with Chin and the pair become walking reflections of each other; whatever he does, she does. They both meet up with the Taoist and capture the vampire and take it to a nearby hotel. A drunken army Marshal, grieving the suicide of his girlfriend, becomes suspicious of the monk and orders an investigation. He discovers the vampire and the girls corpse, who happens to be his dead girlfriend and they spend the rest of the film trying to revive her and destroy him.
Its a very fast paced film with as much comedy as the previous films, even down to the recurring stupid policeman role, something which appears in nearly all these films and appears to have been taken from Live and Let Die (1973) (remember Sheriff J. W. Pepper?). Horror wise, like all these films, its not in the slightest bit scary, but youre on the edge of your seat because of the suspense created by the situations; how will they evade the vampire if trapped in a lift with it etc.
The girls corpse that imitates Chin, whilst a very clever idea, completely disappears from the second half of the film and she really should have made a comeback to tie up the loose ends. The main vampire himself (which doesnt hop, by the way, one of the elements from the official series the film makers havent used) is quite impressive, screaming and waving its arms about like a banshee, its long hair flailing behind it. They continue to use the traditional Chinese vampire hunting elements, chicken blood, wooden sword, holy wire; but in this film a few more traditional Western conventions enter the mix. Moonlight awakens the vampire, sunlight weakens it. One soldier even waves a crucifix at it seconds before it devours him! As for the way its finally dispatched, well, its not something Ive ever seen in a Hammer Horror film, I can tell you that....youll have to see it to find out how its destroyed!
Its not in the same league as the original Mr. Vampire which had originality and beautifully choreographed fights and wire-work on its side, but as a follow-up, and a rival one at that, its pretty impressive and it delivers more of the same style of goods that the official sequel, 1986s Mr. Vampire 2 didnt deliver due to its contemporary, modern day setting.
I got this on VCD from a shop in Chinatown, London, UK. Its on 2 discs with both Mandarin and Cantonese audio on the left and right tracks (or you can pick stereo and hear both tracks at once, which is confusing to say the least!). As usual the white English subtitles are literally translated and make little sense; theyre also next to impossible to read over white on-screen objects. This was also a full screen transfer and it needed to be widescreen since the subtitles vanish often off-screen.
Recommended if you see it around, easily earns a 7/10.