殭屍翻生
New Mr. Vampire (1986)


Reviewed by: dan_gale
Date: 03/12/2001
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

Starring
Chien Hsiao Hou (aka Chin Siu-ho)
Wang Hsiao Feng
Lu Fang
Huang Ha

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 isn’t in this film. The main vampire hunter in this one, the Taoist monk role, is called Chein and is played by Wang Hsiao Feng.

Here’s the story. It’s 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 brother’s corpse to the desired burial ground without it becoming a vampire (being a mobster, he’d 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 girl’s corpse, who happens to be his dead girlfriend and they spend the rest of the film trying to revive her and destroy him.

It’s 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, it’s not in the slightest bit scary, but you’re 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 girl’s 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 doesn’t hop, by the way, one of the elements from the official series the film maker’s haven’t used) is quite impressive, screaming and waving it’s arms about like a banshee, it’s 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 it’s finally dispatched, well, it’s not something I’ve ever seen in a Hammer Horror film, I can tell you that....you’ll have to see it to find out how it’s destroyed!

It’s not in the same league as the original ‘Mr. Vampire’ which had originality and beautifully choreographed fights and wire-work on it’s side, but as a follow-up, and a rival one at that, it’s pretty impressive and it delivers more of the same style of goods that the official sequel, 1986’s ‘Mr. Vampire 2’ didn’t deliver due to it’s contemporary, modern day setting.

I got this on VCD from a shop in Chinatown, London, UK. It’s 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; they’re 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.

Dan Gale