Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vampire Controller – review

Directors: Kuang Hsiung & Tony Leung Hung-Wah

Release date: 2001

Contains spoilers

Back to the world of the kyonsi and a period set Hong Kong movie. Although this one had some unusual lore added in, the basic premise that featured corpse herders was fairly familiar territory.

Unfortunately, despite the unusual lore that I have alluded to, it did nothing particularly exciting or outstanding – though it has to be said it did nothing particularly bad either.

illicit love
The film begins with a black robed (rather ninja-esque) man, Wong Ching (Jude Poyer), headed to a building. A young women, Jenny, hears something and is soon face to face with him but he removes his mask and they embrace and begin kissing. However he has been followed by not one but two similarly clad persons. To cut a long story short, as they are slowly revealed, one is Kindaiichi (Yee-Man Man) and the other is Cheung. They are both agents of rival princes.

Yee-Man Man as Kindaiichi
Wong Ching and Chueng fight and, during this, Chueng manages to poison both Jenny and Wong Ching. The next day he poses as the man’s cousin for the coroner. Both agents have been looking for a secret letter but it doesn’t appear to be on either corpse. Chueng’s cousin is Professor Mao (You-Chueng Lai) a corpse herder whose master has just died. He is herding corpses, including his master, with the help of the Master’s son, John (Gallen Law).

vampire fangs
After an altercation with ‘rival’ corpse herder, Old Ma, and her apprentice Tien Gee (Kathy Chow) – during which Tien Gee is bitten by a snake and John saves her life – the two corpse herders and their charges end up staying in an abandoned building as it is the three day ghost festival and thus to dangerous to have their charges on the road. One of the unusual bits of lore was that the corpse herders can only escort the dead of one gender. If the genders mix then the spirit that remains in the corpses could cause them to have sex and produce a ghost baby – a bloodthirsty supernatural critter.

Chueng, to buy time, asks his cousin to escort the two new corpses – a request made possible to fulfill by the presence of Old Ma and her female charges. Interestingly Mao had his male corpses hop but Ma’s female corpses walked with a bow-legged, rocking gait. Of course much goes wrong and this leads to Chueng being bitten by a disturbed corpse who develops fangs. He has the presence of mind to put sticky rice on the wound but it is too late and he turns.

ectoplasmic baby
We also end up with Wong Ching and Jenny placed together and them having sex. They subsequently grow fangs and wander off. They are recaptured but Jenny’s belly swells, releasing an ectoplasmic goo that takes over another corpse. This then is the baby ghost and it proves to be rather dangerous.

stretchy mouth
It manages to behead a meddling black magician (Wah Yuen) with one blow and, despite being comparatively docile for the first two nights (they are only active at night), it reveals a deadly and stretchy mouth. To be stopped a baby ghost must either be poisoned before the first two days are over or its parents must reincarnate and calm it with their love.

lost his head
The acting was ok in this, there was a little bit of martial art but the direction was average, the story didn’t particularly wow and it felt a little drawn out in places. All that said it wasn’t a bad film – just not a brilliant one either.

An average 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: