HK Cinema - 1985

And then there came the hopping vampires. They are among my favorite HK innovation. Though there were a few precedents such as Encounters of the Spooky Kind, Mr. Vampire began the hopping vampire craze of the 80’s. Once again this was an inspiration from Sammo. He didn’t act or direct this film, but he was the creative mind behind it. A film full of wonderful action, comedy and scary hopping vampires was a sure fire hit and it lead to a few sequels and many other hopping vampire films.

Tombs related in Mondo Macabro that hopping vampires are part of Chinese folk lore. They are not vampires in the same sense as those in the West - Dracula etc. - but that they are in fact reanimated corpses. In order to get the dead back to their ancestral burial ground, a Taoist priest would put that yellow paper on their forehead (as we see in many of these films), tie them together and lead them back. The hopping motion is caused by their feet being bound together.

It also made a big star out of the lead actor – Lam Ching-ying. Lam Ching-ling was born in 1951 and studied in a Peking Opera school. Later he became a stuntman on the Bruce Lee films and then became a member of Sammo’s fight choreography team.  He had appeared in a number of films, but it was his role as the Taoist vampire hunter that made him a favorite of many. He went on to play basically the same character – either fighting vampires or ghosts in many films – but also was in films such as Millionaires Express, Eastern Condors, I Love Maria, Painted Faces, Pom Pom and Hot Hot and many more. Regrettably, he died at a young age from cancer in 1997.