Paul Andolina is back for another movie! His site Wrestling with Film is a lot of fun and he always sends me reviews of movies that I’ve never seen before!
In 2013 I watched Rigor Mortis, a more serious take on the Chinese Hopping Vampire films of the 80’s. Goeng-si are a type of reanimated corpse, dressed in traditional garb that hop around and suck people’s life force out. Discovering this movie had me searching high and low for other movies that featured Goeng-si. Unfortunately, they aren’t the easiest things to find on streaming platforms and most are very expensive on DVD. I did, however, find a movie called The Haunted Cop Shop, although it features a vampire it is not of the hopping variety. I watched it, often thinking about it but not revisiting it until Sam’s horror comedy week was announced.
I decided to re-watch The Haunted Cop Shop on Asian Crush, a streaming service that offers fare from most Asian countries, for horror comedy week because it left such an impression on me. It’s about Kim Macky, and Man Chiu, a pair of non-typical cops who accidentally get a perpetrator killed while he is in their custody. The police station is on the site of a former Japanese clubhouse that was the site of tragedy when the Japanese occupation ended during World War II and a general named Issei and his constituents commit suicide there. Turns out Issei has become a vampire ghost and has come to haunt the station again during the Hungry Ghost Festival when the gates of hell open.
Kim Macky and Man Chiu turn their perp sneaky Ming into a pile of ash after he is bitten by Issei, a vampire ghost dressed in a costume more akin to Dracula than any vampires featured in Chinese folklore. Sneaky Ming is a known thief, to get him to confess that he stole a diamond crucifix the on duty officers stage a fake haunting with Man Chiu as a headless ghost to get Ming to use the crucifix. Their commanding officer does not believe their story about Ming and the ghost and they are given 48 hours to find him.
Most of the comedy in this film is either slapstick, or potty humor, but it really works. It’s not only funny but it is pretty dang spooky as well. The ghosts and vampires in the film are scary looking and the film uses its sets to great effect to create an unsettling atmosphere. This is used extremely effectively during the fake haunting the cops use to scare Ming. The special effects for the vampires are gross as well and I couldn’t help but love the whole feel of the movie.
The interactions between Jacky Cheung who plays Kim Macky and Ricky Hui who plays Man Chiu along with their newly appointed officer, Madam Fanny Ho, played by the attractive actress, Kitty Chan, really bring this film to life. It spawned a sequel which I haven’t been able to purchase yet. It is also of note that this film is an early outing by Wong Kar Wai, a director known for his films Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, here co-writing the script for the film and having a small cameo as a ghost in a sequence with sneaky Ming,
I don’t want to say too much about the movie as I really want you to seek it out for yourself and experience it. It can be watched for free with commercials on Asian Crush’s website or on the streaming app available on most platforms.