Hong Kong ,  1986
Directed by Ricky Lau Koon Wai.
Do you like little cute kids playing vampires? Do you like watching loud, whiny, fat children? Say no more! This is the film for you!
Here's a vampire movie that practically dares you to watch the whole thing. In this story, the director discards nearly all of the Taoist magic and divination we had come to rely on in Mr. Vampire, and in its place gives us one of the least funny horror comedies I have ever had the misfortune of sitting through.
Our story begins when the 'Professor' and his two bumbling assistants (because bumbling assistants always come in twos) are out searching for ancient relics which they can sell for a profit. They stumble onto a grave, which they begin to pilfer. The hijinks begin when one assistant gets a snake up his pants! The other assistant pulls it out and quickly cuts it open, and eats the snake's gallbladder for it's medicinal purposes. He's so wacky! Then they stumble upon three vampires with yellow papers attached to their foreheads, a man, a woman, and a child. They decide to take the vampires back to their workshop and sell them.
Soon enough, those fragile yellow papers attached to the foreheads of the vampires begin to blow off in the breeze. The child is the first to wake up, and he's oh-so-cute! Out on his own, he befriends a little rotund girl who mistakes him for an illegal child immigrant. The pudge ball and the vampire soon become the best of friends. She keeps him hidden from her father, yet somehow manages to introduce him to her profoundly fat brother and their friends. I stared at the clock in amazement as twenty minutes of fat kids with vampire footage rolled by. They play in the park, ride on the see-saw, and the boy corpse makes a stop at a blood bank. Wait a minute. A blood bank? In this movie, the vampires may look Chinese, but they act more like western vampires that occasionally hop.
Meanwhile, back at the workshop, action scene number one gets underway as one of the Professor's assistants, named 'Chicken' (the ever unwelcome Billy Lau), takes one of the yellow papers off the forehead of the female vampire. It's actually not a bad action scene, and since it was with such a minor character, I expected even better ones yet to come. After all, aren't Yuen Biao and Lam Ching-Ying in this picture? Wait a minute. We're already fourty minutes into the picture. Aren't they?
At last, Lam Ching-Ying and Yuen Biao arrive. Lam, playing a character of the same name, runs a medicine shop. Yuen Biao is Jen, a reporter who wants the hand of Lam's daughter, Gigi (Moon Lee), in marriage. Chicken arrives at the medicine shop, looking for something for his wound. He shows it to Lam, who instantly recognizes it as a Vampire bite. Lam perfunctorily prescribes a bandage covered with sticky rice and sends Chicken on his way. Then Lam, Gigi, and Jen spring into action, deciding to follow Chicken to the Vampires and destroy them!
It looks like things are going to heat up with action scene number two, which also takes place in the workshop, with Jen fighting both the adult vampires. Fans of Yuen Biao will rejoyce -- for about 10 seconds. It's at that point that he knocks over the big jar of 'sedative,' making everyone, vampires included, fight in slow motion. Gigi and Lam arrive to save the day. And they breathe the sedative, and fight in slow motion. The scene lasts ten minutes, easy. Never have I seen a joke so stupid get dragged out for so long, unless of course you include the Star Wars Christmas Special, or Ross Perot. Lam whips out his yellow robe in this scene, but then uses nothing more than a simple sword to try to stab the vampires in the heart. What a complete waste of a good Taoist priest. He didn't even bring the sticky rice! If you somehow end up watching this film, try fast forwarding through this scene. It makes everything appear to happen in normal speed! And if you get tempted to watch the rest of the movie on fast-forward, well, I won't blame you. Go ahead.
Jen, Lam, and Gigi temporarily subdue the vampires, only to have them fall into the hands of the police. They break the vampires out, and try to escape with them in a truck, but of course the vampires wake up and smash their way free. They run rampant on the streets, hopping from one car to the next, giving me hope that the movie will end with a bang after all.
Cut to the hope-crushing, fat-ass family and their kid corpse. The blue boy sees his parents on TV and cries for them. The adult vampires, nearby, hear his cry and come hopping. The climactic battle scene takes place in the Ho family's home, where the lard butt kids lose some pounds by running from room to room. Eventually Lam and Jen arrive to save the day, but who cares? At the end, Lam gives the child vampire an injection which makes it fall asleep, and he carries it over his shoulder. The kids beg him not to hurt the vampire child, tears rolling down their beefy cheeks. Lam says, of course, we'll take care of him. When they are out of earshot, Jen asks what they should do about the child vampire, and Lam says, "Let's help him into early, happy re-incarnation." Beautifully put. And I feel the same way about Mr. Vampire 2.
Looking back over the wreckage of this movie, I have to ask -- can I recommend it to anybody? Die hard Lam Ching-Ying fans - be my guest. You're bound to get some enjoyment out of Lam, at least, who puts in another competent performance. Yuen Biao fans? I'd avoid it, if I were you - too many bad Yuen Biao movies has a way of cooling your affection toward him, and besides, he doesn't have a single scene in this film which shows off his considerable talents. Moon Lee fans? Forget it -- it's like she's not even here. But are you a cute vampire kid fan? Do you like watching loud, whiny, fat children? Say no more! This is the film for you! Apparently there's such a huge market for this kind of thing that Aloha! Little Vampire Story was made shortly thereafter.
Check out the trailer, which makes the film look pretty decent, incredibly.
Posted by Peter Nepstad on March 25, 2004.