Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Corpse Master- review

Release Date: 1987

Director:  Lau Bing-Gei

Contains spoilers

The reason this film has no director listed is because I can find no corresponding film on imdb to the title, nor can I find a similar film listed on there starring Bill Tung (who is listed as being in the film on the DVD box). The film is somewhat confusing and it is one in which reading the DVD blurb will throw you a complete blind curve as it seems to have been written for a different film! EDIT (24/9/16): details added iro Magic Story (1987) on the HKMDb as this seems to be the actual film.

The film starts with a vampire rising and it is of the kyonsi variety, in other words the traditional Chinese hopping vampires. Two more rise, a female (Lam Sau-Kwan) and an old lady (Benny Lai Keung-Kuen). They look into an empty coffin. Now this is important plot wise (having sat and thought about it, as the film tries its damnedest not to give away anything that might be construed as a plot).

Anyway, as I say these are Kyonsi and the rules for dealing with them are entirely different than the rules for dealing with Western vampires. Those rules were fairly much definitively defined in Mr Vampire. This film does seem to curiously mix the traditional rules with western vampire rules. At the end of the scene, the three kyonsi jump in the air and turn into animated bats that fly out of a cartoon castle.

The plot exposition is poor, to say the least, but it seems that in the town there is Ahua, who works for a Doctor (Bill Tung) and is in love with Ahua (Gei Fong-Ling), the Doctor’s daughter. The Doctor wants to get hold of a vampire to do research on and has Akui stood in a box (!), waiting to trap a vampire. Strangely the young man holds a stake and mallet, tools taken directly from the western tradition.

He is approached by a child Kyonsi, but doesn’t realise it, believing the child to be mortal. He sends the child, who we later discover is called Ding-Dong (Siu Kei-Kei), away and the child drops a watch. A worker picks the watch up and is then attacked by the three vampires.

Meanwhile the corrupt police captain(Mai Kei), his aide and a Taoist priest, Mao Shan (Mars), are conning folks out of money for charms and trying to capture a vampire for a $500 reward. Mao Shan uses mainly traditional Chinese methods, except he also uses garlic from the western tradition.

Ding-Dong befriends Akui and it seems for awhile that the child only believes he is a vampire. There is a really strange moment where he finds some red cheeked children (ghosts?) and plays with them whilst a pop song plays. As things progress, however, we discover that Ding-Dong is Kyonsi and he almost dies because he sees the sun which starts the decomposition process. The Doctor saves him by electrocuting him via Akui.

Throw in some hopping martial arts and a lot of slapstick and that is about the long and short of it. The vampires keep attacking anyone with the watch, it acts like a beacon, there is also a remote control Kyonsi constructed by the doctor and very little that makes any form of sense.

We get more turning into bats later, but they are rubber rather than animated with glowing red eyes and some discussion that if a bat flies over a corpse the electromagnetic forces create a vampire bat – hmmm…

It was only towards the end, when the female Kyonsi is trapped and killed that I put two and two together. I suddenly remembered the empty coffin from the film’s introduction and realised that the three vampires are looking for their child. The film does not tell us this, it was a look the female kyonsi gave that made me think it. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it gave the film a little shape to believe this was the plot.

For that is the biggest problem, along with poor acting and unfunny slapstick. The film as it stands has no real plot. This is a sub-Mr Vampire rip off, with the addition of a child Kyonsi. Lost to imdb and with an unrelated blurb on the DVD, it was a bizarre experience altogether. 1 out of 10.


Anonymous said...

Contact me I have some news about this film for you, Like the real title etc, Maybe even know the directors name drop me a line.

Unknown said...

whats the real title of this movie ? i really wanna know pls.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Syahirah - I had been unable to contact Al Santo, however - following your post - I did a google and discovered this is likely Magic Story, 殭屍少爺, and details have been added into the review.

This also means the 1993 date the DVD box gave is incorrect.