Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters

  • 2002
  • Movie
  • R
  • Horror, Martial Arts

There are vampires and then there are hopping vampires, a staple of Chinese horror movies as different from the suave, aristocratic bloodsuckers who haunt Western European tradition as it's possible to be. This period martial arts-horror hybrid pits four 19th-century vampire hunters who call themselves Wind (Ken Chang), Lightning (Chan Kwok Kwan), Thunder...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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There are vampires and then there are hopping vampires, a staple of Chinese horror movies as different from the suave, aristocratic bloodsuckers who haunt Western European tradition as it's possible to be. This period martial arts-horror hybrid pits four 19th-century vampire hunters who call themselves Wind (Ken Chang), Lightning (Chan Kwok Kwan), Thunder (Michael Chow) and Rain (Lam Suet) against a powerful vampire king and an army of hopping zombies preserved with wax, and it's just as goofy as can be. To be sure, certain traditional horror tropes are in order, albeit with an Asian twist. There's a worm-faced vampire lurking around an isolated graveyard, and the four vampire killers and their martial arts Master (Ji Chun Hua) track him to his lair, only to be thoroughly routed. When the dust clears, their master is missing and presumed dead. Some months later, the quartet stumble upon the spooky and isolated compound of the immensely rich Jiang family. Local rumors have it that the household is cursed by vampires, though some say the story was concocted by the Jiangs to deter bandits with designs on the family fortune. Vampires or no vampires, something odd is going on: Giggling young Master Jiang (Wang Zhen Lin), who's already lost several brides to mysterious wedding-night mishaps, is getting married to the lovely Sasa (Anya) in what must be the gloomiest ceremony ever. And old Master Jiang's (Yu Rong Guang) silent wife looks awfully, well, waxy. The supernatural exterminators infiltrate the compound in the guise of servants and quickly uncover plots, counterplots and a slew of dead Jiangs preserved in wax in accordance with an old family tradition. Giving the general level of free-floating spookiness, it's a safe bet that those waxed corpses will soon be hopping around in search of the human blood that will transform them into bona fide vampires. Though energetic producer-screenwriter Tsui Hark — popularly styled as Hong Kong's answer to Steven Spielberg — gets his name in the title, this picture was actually directed by distinctly lesser light Wellson Chin. It's more silly than scary and relies excessively on surprisingly low-rent CGI effects and crude wirework to drum up interest in the slight story. (In Cantonese, with subtitles)

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: R
  • Review: There are vampires and then there are hopping vampires, a staple of Chinese horror movies as different from the suave, aristocratic bloodsuckers who haunt Western European tradition as it's possible to be. This period martial arts-horror hybrid pits four 1… (more)

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