Vampire Vs Vampire (1989)

Lam Ching-Ying and undead friend
Lam Ching-Ying and undead friend

The local priest, played by Lam Ching-Ying (who also directed the movie), has his hands full with bat infestations, ghosts and vampires in his neighbourhood.

The Taoist priest hero and his two disciples
The Taoist priest hero and his two disciples

Okay, there isn’t really a central plot-line to VAMPIRE VS VAMPIRE. Rather, it presents us with a series of occult happenings for our hero Lam to deal with.

She's a vamp!
She’s a vamp!
You can always rely on Lam Ching-Ying to play a stoic, no-nonsense priest
You can always rely on Lam Ching-Ying to play a stoic, no-nonsense priest

An early set piece involves a ‘palm tree spirit’, which is enticed from it’s green-leafed abode by tying some string to the toe of one of the priest’s disciples.
Once attracted to the disciple’s room, the spirit is revealed to be a red-garbed woman, who can become an animated red shadow. The spirit is dealt with, but more headaches lie ahead for the one-eyebrow Taoist priest.

A ‘palm tree spirit’ hovers over one of the priest's disciples
A ‘palm tree spirit’ hovers over one of the priest’s disciples
So Yip plays the ghost in red
So Yip plays the ghost in red
Don't mess with this priest...
Don’t mess with this priest…

A withered corpse becomes a western-style bloodsucker once the ruby hilt of a sword that transfixes it is removed. Gulping down the blood of a girl (there’s a close-up shot of the corpse’s Adam’s apple bobbing up and down that is a novel-looking special makeup effect), the dried-up cadaver rapidly transforms into a fanged, caped European vampire. Lam gets involved, of course, and gives the undead dude a battering. He jams a coin sword into its eye socket, burns it with a flaming log, boots it… and then lobs a large nun onto the bloodsucker, so that it will get forced under the surface of some oily quicksand!

The long-haired resurrected vampire
The long-haired resurrected vampire
This dude obviously doesn't floss
This dude obviously doesn’t floss

Together with the westernised vampire (played by Frank Juhas), this Hong Kong picture adds several other Hammer-esque elements. For instance, a group of Christian nuns are introduced, living in a church. There are bats too, of the Hammer hanging-on-a-wire variety. 

Nuns!
Nuns!

Actually, though most of the bats are obviously fake, there is a well-mounted bat siege on the nuns in the old church. Trapped in the room, the nuns must block off a doorway with planks, as the flying fiends attempt to bite their way in. Individually, the set pieces are actually quite novel and enjoyable but, as stated earlier, the film is too haphazard, lacking a central focus to the story.

Nuns in peril!
Nuns in peril!
Sandra Ng
Sandra Ng

About the only on-going narrative thread is the continuing reappearance of a ‘good’ hopping vampire child, who regularly helps out Lam and his two pupils, although this kiddy-corpse only really serves as light relief.

Hopping vampire kid
Hopping vampire kid
Jing Wang Lam plays the little vampire
Jing Wang Lam plays the little vampire

Watchable fun while it’s on, VAMPIRE VS VAMPIRE is not in the same league as other Hong Kong vampire flicks, such as MR. VAMPIRE (1985).

Thai poster
Thai poster

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