A whole collection of hopping vampires! Enjoy!
These rips are x264 with AAC sound using the matroska container. Sorry for the strange format, but this is how I found them. VLC should be able to play the files and if you use another player make sure you have ffdshow installed.
Mr Vampire (1985)
Story: When a Taoist priest is called on for advice on how to re-bury a rich man?s father, bad omens suggest that something is terribly wrong. The dead man has become a Vampire, and before long, he attacks his son, leaving the Taoist and his incompetent assistants to do battle with the two Vampires. One of the assistants is feeling less than helpful because he is possessed by a beautiful female ghost who is slowly sapping his life away.
Review: In 1985, Sammo Hung struck upon the idea of a Kung Fu movie with vampires. Acting as producer, he employed Director Ricky Lau and an all-star cast to produce this classic horror-comedy which spawned many sequels and imitators, which can be traced up to the more recent ?Blade? movies with Wesley Snipes. In the first few minutes we are given a crash course in how things work in the world of Mr. Vampire. This is a Chinese vampire, and the rules of battle are a little different from the comparatively fruity Western creatures. The opening struggle to sedate the undead is a defining moment in HK movie history, and a wonderful little set piece. Adamm?s Family style music plays as our heroes use martial arts to get the hopping vampires under control. There is an easy test for those new to HK Vampire films ? If this scene entertains you, then you?re in for a wild ride, right through to the later movies in the series.
Things slow down a little for the next half an hour, as monsters give way to some character development and comedy, but don?t worry, it?s the kind of universal comedy that Westerners can still appreciate.
After a while things pick up again, and once they do, it?s a wild ride right through to the closing credits. There is an energy running through Mr. Vampire which is contagious, and the mix of palpable tension and comedy is always pitched just right. Imagine a combination of Evil Dead and The Keystone Cops, with beautifully energetic Kung Fu, and you have an idea of the kind of level we are on.
The cast are perfect. Lam Ching Ying is the main man, and became synonymous with the Taoist Priest role. He stars in most of the sequels, many similar horror movies, and even a couple of Chinese TV series based on the Mr. Vampire series (surely the West deserves to see the series on DVD). Chin Siu Ho is handsome enough to interest the ladies, and displays some fantastic martial arts for the men. Ricky Hui is also brilliant, and proves that there?s nothing funnier than an ugly guy. Even his spoken performance is animated enough to stop the language barrier from being a problem, the man is just inherently funny.
If you haven?t seen Mr. Vampire yet, then you really must get hold of a copy. Funny, scary, original, and by far the best of the series, it deserves it?s place amongst international horror-comedy classics such as ?Ghostbusters? and ?The Evil Dead?.
Mr Vampire 2 (1986)
Story: Lam Ching Ying returns to kick some vampire ass, this time in 1987 Hong Kong. A professor leading an archaeological dig uncovers a family of three vampires, and the only thing on the professor?s mind is profit. Lam Ching Ying knows that the vamps need to be exorcised, and a tug of war between the two develops over the corpses. The child vampire, ?OK Boy? escapes, and is found by two children, who believe him to be an illegal immigrant from mainland China.
Review: Mr Vampire was a classic, destined to reincarnate again and again, but this atrocious sequel nearly cast the series into the abyss forever. Set in the 80?s, the film lacks the fantasy elements of the original, and changes so many key elements that it barely even feels like a Mr Vampire movie.
Lam Ching Ying is the star, naturally, but neither his actual physical abilities nor his character?s usual magic bag of tricks are used to good effect. The absence of Ricky Hui and Chin Siu Ho is a dissapointment, so the decision to compensate with Yuen Biao is baffling considering that Yuen is capable of so much, yet here he does so little. Even his main action scene turns out to be an initially funny spoof of slow motion fight scenes, which overstays it?s welcome for far too long. Moon Lee returns from the original, but as usual, she does nothing but look cute.
The most obvious problem here is the budget, which is too small to compete with the original movie. The 80?s backdrop is blatantly a money saving exercise to begin with, but then other problems begin to show. The make-up is poor, swapping decomposing vampire flesh for white face paint, and there are barely any special effects. There are none of the imaginative ghouls, ghosts and goblins present in the other Mr Vampire movies, just vampires. The usual juggling of chickens, dog?s blood and magic string is missing from this movie, and a lot of the action often takes place in what looks like a house owned by one of the production crew.
With a cinematic culture as wildly imaginative as Hong Kong?s, even the worst films often still contain a number of great ideas that could have been so much more, and Mr Vampire 2 is no different. The introduction of a child vampire could have been extremely creepy, but instead we are forced to sit through an embarrassing subplot ripped straight out of ET, as a bunch of fat Chinese kids befriend the ?cute? undead ankle-biter.
They take him out to play in the park, and name him ?OK Boy? when they should have named him ?plot padding? and burned the little bastard at the stake. Later in the film, two vampires go on the rampage in a busy Hong Kong street, but again, a good idea is not explored in an entertaining way.
The vampires here just fail to scare. In the other films, they present a real danger, and the comedy being played out by the living as they avoid the growling, snarling decomposers is what makes it work so well.
What we get instead are female vampires that blow kisses, montages of ?OK Boy? dressed up in shades and a headscarf, and the realisation that vampires love their families as much as you and I. Truly horrific.
So, the story sucks, the vampires are misunderstood rather than scary, and this film should never have been made. It?s a good job that by the third installment in the series, everything turned out just fine.
Mr Vampire 3 (1987)
Story: Uncle Ming (Richard Ng) is a Toaist priest who, with the help of two friendly ghosts, cons money from those with haunted houses. He meets Lam Ching Ying?s Taoist ghostbuster, and the ?Captain? (Billy Lau), and helps them to capture a sorcerer who is terrorizing the town.
Review: After the disappointing Mr Vampire 2, the story is taken back in time to the good old days of the first movie and sticks closer to the original formula. It?s a good job, too, because Mr Vampire 3 manages to save the series from joining the ranks of the undead.
Lam Ching Ying is here, of course, and is joined by Billy Lau as the competent Captain, but it is a shame that Chin Siu Ho, Ricky Hui, or even Yuen Biao couldn?t join the party. To compensate, there is a large
supporting cast, including cameos by the likes of Wu Ma and Sammo Hung (creator/producer of the series).
There is certainly a lot happening, and the pace is kept frantic throughout. Quite a few supernatural beings float in and out of the film, some of them for no more than a few minutes, while some stick around to hinder our heroes. Female ?fox spirits? put in an appearance, a whole family of spooks gives Richard Ng the runaround, and vengeful spirits possess good guys.
The main source of trouble is a local bandit who uses witchcraft to cause lots of aimless trouble. In fact, the bad guy in this movie has no main objective (taking over the world and the like), which means that the film as a whole lacks any direction. Stuff happens, chickens get bled, ghosts are captured and recaptured, fun is had by all, but there is no real plot to speak of. It doesn?t really matter when you realise that it?s hard to list all the cool things that you?ve seen. One battle early on in the film is particularly cool, and Lam Ching Ying does a great leap over an enemy, before back-kicking him in the head in lovely slow motion.
Even the great Lam Ching Ying seems at times confused by what?s going on, and a couple of times he just seems to wander off during moments that would be better with him in the frame, He?s still the star of the show, but is supported well by his co-stars. Richard Ng is as funny as always as Lam Ching Ying?s bumbling opposite number, assisted by an undead duo who dress as vampires, but have more in common with ghosts. Billy Lau is equally amusing, resurrecting the possessed ?human puppet? routine from the original, and camping it up nicely, but sadly lacking a lot of the vindictive qualities that made his character in the original so great.
Mr Vampire 3 is a fair apology for the first sequel in the series. It?s lively, imaginative and moves along at an insane pace, but something is missing. Under the final credits runs a montage of madness collected from key scenes, and despite reminding us of how much fun it?s been, there is still an uneasy feeling in the bottom of your heart (and the heart of your bottom). Then it hits you, cold and hard, the one thing that stops Mr Vampire 3 from really reaching the dizzy heights of the first film ? shouldn?t there be vampires in this?
Mr Vampire 4 (1988)
Story: A Buddhist monk (Wu Ma) and a Taoist priest (Ricky Lau?) have been rivals for decades, but when a vampire being transported nearby escapes it?s captors, they are forced to team up and save the day.
Review: Four films in, a slight title change (it?s a saga now, apparently), and the Mr Vampire series is still going strong. Lam Ching Ying is absent, and the series? lesser players step forward to centre stage. Anthony Chan plays the same part as he did at the very beginning of the first movie, and Wu Ma plays an all new character, which just about makes up for change in cast. Sure, it would have been good to have the original cast reunited by now, but this is still has the soul of a Mr Vampire film, and proves to be rewarding viewing.
Early on, some nice kung fu sets the pace, and Anthony Chan shows off some nice Taoist moves, transporting hopping corpses through a forest, and then fighting off a fox spirit?s alluring advances. It?s familiar territory for the series, and feels good to be concentrating on the Kyonsi after Part 3 of the series concerned itself mainly with ghosts and ghouls.
The plot hops off in a different direction for a while, though, exploring the rivalry between the two holy men. They spend some time casting spells on each other, having food fights and falling over a lot, but just as this gets worrying, the vampires show up again and things really pick up.
One thing missing from part 2 (terrible) and part 3 (much better) was the Kung Fu displayed by Chin Siu Ho, who provided a lot of the action. Well, in Mr Vampire Saga 4, Chin Kar-Lok fills that gap, and his scenes are the best in the film. Trapped in a house with 4 vampires, he leaps about the place like a madman, displaying excellent ability as he fights off the vampires. Filmed with plenty of wide shots, the action is fast, fluid, and funny as hell. The vampires are as scary as they are funny, and just like the first film, we meet clownish vampires, before building up to the decomposing daddy of them all.
The cast are obviously having fun, and even Yuen Wah contradicts his usual bad guy image, and shows up as a gay vampire (it?s not your neck he wants to suck). Rachel Lee is cute and holds her own against the rest of the cast, and Wu Ma is as brilliant as ever. Lam Ching Ying really should have been here, especially considering that it?s such a good movie, but the film?s cast still stand up strong.
After part 3 in the series left the vampires to rest in peace for a while, Mr. Vampire Saga 4 brings things right back to the source and concentrates on the Kyonsi. While none of the series could possibly recapture the genius of the first film, this addition to the series is definitely worth checking out
Vampire vs Vampire (1989)
Story: The One eyebrow priest faces more ghosts and vampires. The local water supply is being tainted, and bad omens are manifest around the village. His neighbours, a group of young Chinese Christian nuns
(hooray!) are being hunted by a snarling Western vampire (boo!), and as usual only one man and his young assistants can save the day.
Review: Despite not really being an official Mr Vampire movie, this is effectively the fifth movie in the series. The presence of Billy Lau as the Captain, Chin Siu Ho as the bumbling assistant, and most significantly Lam Ching Ying as the One Eyebrow Priest ensure that this certainly looks like the roll call of a Mr Vampire film, but somehow, things just didn?t work out as well as expected.
From the start of ?Vampire Vs Vampire?, things seem promising. Despite the inclusion of another child vampire (just like in Mr Vampire II), it is familiar territory, with lots of spells and incantations to keep a ?female palm ghost? in check. It?s another Chinese ghost that looks lovely and wants to seduce young men ? far better than the Western variety that wear sheets and go ?Wooooo!? a lot. Awful animated special effects aside, this is typical Mr Vampire stuff, and fits like silky panties.
Then the most promising twist of all - A Christian Church is being rebuilt nearby, and before long a Western vampire is causing trouble. This should have been a real trump card for the movie, but for reasons best known to Lam Ching Ying and scriptwriter Sze Mei Yee, it behaves pretty much the same as it?s Chinese counterpart, and the East versus West clash of the corpses promised by the movie?s title never happens. In fact, the child vampire is the only Kyonsi in the film, and it eats tomatoes instead of people.
For an 83 minute movie, it often seems a lot longer. There are problems with pacing, and for a large middle portion of the movie, lame comedy takes over. Even though it is nice to see the notoriously stoic (in real life) Lam Ching Ying showing his funnier side, it?s just not very amusing to see him acting shy in front of girls, or losing his trousers while tending to the chickens. The Mr Vampire series has had much funnier moments than this, and that?s probably why Ricky Hui is so conspicuous in his absence from many of the films. He was hilarious in the first movie.
Vampire Vs Vampire isn?t a really a bad movie, and it does have it?s moments, but it?s a tragedy to see such a wasted opportunity. Lam Ching Ying is capable of far more as a director, martial artist, and fight choreographer, and there are virtually no martial arts in the film. Chin Siu Ho is also capable of great things (see the first Mr Vampire), but appears to have been told to stand still and keep talking. The head-to-head promised by the title never materialises, the comedy is largely unfunny, and none of the cast really get a chance to shine.
So, to conclude, this is an unofficial Mr Vampire movie that tries to emulate the official films by trying to bring some new ingredients, and fails. It?s not a bad movie by any means, as there is a lot happening, and the last 20 minutes is great fun, but lack of direction leaves the viewer confused, and on occasion a little bored
Magic Cop (1990)
Story: Lam Ching Ying is a modern day Hong Kong cop with extensive knowledge of Taoist rituals and superstition. His expertise is required when a drug bust turns to chaos, and a suspicious woman at the scene turns out to be a reanimated corpse. Lam Ching Ying is teamed up with two junior police officers who find his ways stubborn and old fashioned, but they are forced to share his beliefs as the investigation leads them into battle with an evil Japanese sorceress.
Review: ?Magic Cop? is an interesting and worthy addition to the catalogue of movies and TV series to cast the iconic Lam Ching Ying as a Taoist ghost buster. Initially it feels very similar to the below-par ?Mr. Vampire II?, but it soon becomes apparent that this is not only a superior, but more perimental take on the genre.
For a start, there isn?t a traditional ?Kyonsi? vampire in sight, which is unusual for a Lam Ching Ying fantasy movie. LYC himself doesn?t once wear his famous yellow robes, and instead of playing a curmudgeonly priest, plays a curmudgeonly cop who just happens to have a few tricks up his sleeves. In ?Magic Cop?, more emphasis is put on the magical rituals that LYC so often performs in these movies, so expect to see all kinds of strange spells being cast as he juggles incense, magic string, mirrors, and even his fellow cops.
The enemy this time around comes in the lovely shape of sultry Japanese siren Michiko Nishiwaki, who spends a lot of her time lounging around on blocks of ice in a kimono and reanimating corpses. One of those corpses is ?Frankie? Chan Chi Leung (not to be confused with Frankie Chan Fan Kei), playing a body builder zombie, and in attacking our heroes, gives the movie it?s most ?Mr Vampire? like scenes. Also of note is the actress who plays Lam Ching Ying?s na?ve young niece, a role usually reserved for Moon Lee. The actress here (Wong May Wa?) not only looks like Moon, but her mannerisms are very similar. There are also small roles for Wu Ma and Billy Chow.
?Magic Cop? shares much with the Mr. Vampire series, but is a genuinely individual movie in it?s own right. This solid fantasy movie does slow down a little at times, and there is a small amount of animal cruelty which will distress cat lovers, but apart from that, it?s a lively and inventive adventure.