Friday, January 14, 2011

Vampire Family – review

Directors: Kin-Nam Cho & Eric Tsang

Release Date: 1993

Contains spoilers

It’s kind of hard to know where to start with Yi Wu Shao Ya Gui, as it isn’t your standard vampire flick. A light romantic comedy (with several pee and poo jokes) the vampire family, as it were, show very little vampiric activity. Indeed though this was much earlier, the nearest I can liken it to is the Korean series Hello Franceska as neither family particularly showed their vampiric side.

mom and dad with Jesus
So there is Grandfather, known as Master Man Vamp (Ka-Yan Leung), his son Chung-Ping Vamp (Eric Tsang) and daughter-in-law Chap-Lay Vamp (Sandra Ng Kwan Yue; Vampire Kids, Vampire settle on Police Camp and Chinese Vampire Story). Chung-Pin and Chap-Lay boast having seen many of the great moments in history – including meeting Jesus and thus there are portraits of Jesus and crosses around the house.

waking in sunlight
The last generation are the daughter Tong Vamp (Elvina Kong) and her brother David Vamp (Jimmy Lin). They are their apparent age and have no vampiric powers what-so-ever. It appears that the vampire bloodline has become weaker and weaker. Now the family are trying to assimilate; they are immune to sunlight (a fact Master Man forgets each day as he awakens in his coffin) and eat normal food. They just seem eccentric.

Athena Chu as Julie
Adding to their eccentric ways is the servant Wolf (Michael Chow Man-Kin) who is a wolf in human form – less a werewolf and more transfigured into that form one feels. He still has canine habits, such as cocking to go for a pee. David is a trainee doctor, along-side his best friend Delon (Dicky Cheung) and has fallen for a girl who works in the hospital kitchen, Julie (Athena Chu).

fangs appear
The main thrust of the film is thus David and his failure to get together with Julie and the resisted romance between Delon and Tong. The main vampiric element that we do actually see is the fact that during sex the vampire’s fangs lengthen. Thus when Tong loses her virginity she gains rather long sabre like fangs – that will eventually go away on their own.

Delon gets religion
Having seen that, Delon – who had been told by David that the family were vampires but never believed him – suddenly gets religion (and loses his job, having been set up by the elder family for blabbing to the hospital). Julie thinks that saying he is a vampire is an excuse David has given to not see her but, in truth, his mom has a secret and he may only be half-vampire anyway.

Over all this was a fun, quirky comedy. Not the best in the world but it did hold my attention. However, vampire fans beware, the vampiric elements are slight and as a vampire film it wasn’t particularly brilliant. 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


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