Mr. Vampire (also known as Hold Your Breath for a Momentnote ) is a 1985 Hong Kong supernatural horror comedy, directed by Ricky Lau, and produced by Sammo Hung. It was notable for helping the supernatural / vampire genre into the whole Asian Film Industry. The film was an immediate success and was followed by three sequels, a 1992 remake (with Hung producing again) and several spin-offs.
Taoist priest Kau (Lam Ching Ying) is asked by rich businessman Yam (Huang Ha), to organize a reburial for Yam's father (Yuen Wahnote ), to prevent his corpse from coming back to life as a geung-si (or simply a Chinese Vampire). However, things go wrong as expected, the corpse comes alive, and creates havoc in the village. With help (and hindrance) from his two disciples (Ricky Hui and Chin Siu-ho), Uncle Kau sets out to save the day...
A tribute to this film (and a much darker take on the genre), Rigor_Mortis, was released in 2013. It features several members of the cast: Chin Siu-ho (Chau-sang), Billy Lau (Wai) and Anthony Chan (Priest Four Eyes).
This film provides examples of:
- Badass Teacher: As exasperated as Uncle Kau is by the stupidity of his two students, he'll still do whatever it takes to protect them and take down any vampire or ghost who goes after them.
- Chinese Vampire: Obviously.
- Cool Old Guy: Uncle Kau.
- Cute Ghost Girl: The B-plot has a pretty female ghost looking to take on lovers, notably one of Uncle Kau's assistants.
- Immune to Bullets: The police open fire on the vampire with rifles; it doesn't work.
- Jerkass: Wai, who treats Kau's assistants like crap, he arrests Uncle Kau for having long sharp nails, which the hopping vampire used to kill Yam.
- Kill It with Fire:
- The bodies of the victims of the vampire are burned, to prevent a vampire outbreak.
- Vampire-Yam and eventually The Vampire itself, are killed when the heroes set them afire.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Wai, being the Dirty Cop that he is, decides to frame Uncle Kau for murder. During his interrogation, he even makes it clear that if Kau doesn't give a confession by the next day, he would brand Kau with a burning hot iron. Shortly afterwards, the vampire awakens and cue all sorts of comical violence being inflicted upon Wai and at one point, Wai even gets branded by the burning hot iron he wanted to brand Kau with.
- Non-Action Guy: Despite being a disciple to Master Kau, Man-choi simply doesn't have the fighting abilities of his master or his fellow student Chau-sang.
- One-Winged Angel: The Vampire returns for the final confrontation this way; its clothes are in tatters, its hair stringy, more decay present and much more vicious than before... and weapons won't kill it.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The female ghost; she can take on the appearance of a mortal woman dressed in Chinese attire, becomes invisible at will, levitates, and even fly like Raiden.
- Our Vampires Are Different: These are the Chinese Vampire variety which hop, have stiff limbs, and act differently than Western vampires.
- Spin-Off: Lam Ching Ying would also star in several films with similar plot such as: Encounters of the Spooky Kind and Crazy Safari.
- Stern Teacher: It's easy to see why Uncle Kau can be a cranky guy who comes down hard on his students, considering his two students are constantly goofing off, screwing up on the job, getting him injured in some of their pranks, and generally being Too Dumb to Live by getting themselves either possessed by ghosts or turned into a vampire. It's a wonder he doesn't turn full Sadist Teacher on the two.
- Trope Codifier: While not the first of jiangshi genre films, it definitely set the standard for them and helped propel the genre into popular from 1985 to the mid-1990s in East Asia.