Friday, July 17, 2009

Vamp or Not? Blue Jean Monster

dvdThis was a Hong Kong movie from 1991, directed by Kai Ming Lai, and it is one that finds itself gracing the occasional vampire filmography. As you can tell – by the very fact that it is being looked at as a ‘Vamp or Not?’ it is not your normal Chinese vampire movie.

It is a comedy action flick but the comedy misses more than hits – bad homosexual jokes that lead to the wife, Chu (Pauline Wong), of the hero of the piece Tsu Hsiang (Fui-On Shing) to believe he is gay and thus getting him a prostitute (Amy Yip) as she is heavily pregnant and sleeping with a woman is safer because sleeping with men will mean he'd get AIDS just wasn’t funny (in other words suggesting HIV/AIDS was a 'gay plague') – indeed it was downright offensive.

Tsu, Chu and Power SteeringAfore mentioned Tsu is a cop and, when we first see him, he is at a Buddhist shrine praying that his wife’s pregnancy goes well. She has him use a sacred cup to tell his fortune but it breaks – signifying very bad luck. A young man, known as Power Steering, lives with them – he is an orphan, Tsu feels responsible for the lad and Chu dislikes him. Power Steering tells Tsu that he has heard there is to be a bank robbery – he lets Chu attend the clinic alone as he goes to the crime.

Tsu killedCaught up in the robbery is Gucci (Gloria Yip), who seemed to be Power Steering’ s gal. Anyway, she is taken as a hostage but Tsu tracks them down. She manages to get away with a bag of money and Tsu captures most of the gang until the leader causes a crane full of scrap metal to fall on Tsu. He is trapped and dying, unable to call out for help.

cat energyThere is a storm. A cat sits upon his chest and power seems to leak into him and then lightning hits the metal. All this seems to revive him. Now a cat jumping over the corpse in coffin was a traditional way in which a vampire could be created in Eastern European myth. In the Japanese film Kuroneko a cat is involved in the reviving of our vampires. Lightning also revives the dead in Chinese cinema and we see such an effect in New Mr Vampire - in fact it was Pauline Wong’s character who was revived in such a way, though more than just lightning was involved and she was not the vampire.

reviving himselfEssentially we get a revived corpse who is trying to fulfil his two wishes – to bring in the bad guys and see the birth of his son. Unusually he can flag and die (or return to corpse state) and needs a new shot of electricity to keep him going – be it a defibrillator or a doctored iron. Too much electricity can send him off in a super fast mode. He can eat – but loses the food via a wound he gains in his stomach. We see no evidence of feeding off humans.

yellow eye syndromeIn life he was allergic to cigarette smoke and the smoke, in his undead form, sends him yellow eyed and crazy. When in that yellow eyed state we see, at one point, his rage being cured when his new born son pees on him – urine is a vampire/ghost/zombie deterrent in many Chinese films. However the standard vampire deterrents such as prayer scrolls and Taoist hexagrams have no noticeable effect on him. Light hurts his eyes and he has to wear shades.

stomach woundHe is named vampire once – ish – and that might have been bad translation (or just ignorance on the character's part). Gucci says he is “a ghost, a vampire, a monster, an alien or an ET” Given that an alien or ET or the same thing, as well as the impossibly wide range of her comment, we can put little stock in the V word. Is he a vampire by more tangible evidence?

Frankly no. He is undead – of some describe – but apart from being dead and sensitive to light I can see no reason why we would deem him a vampire. One to knock off the filmographies.

The imdb page is here.

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