June 28 at 10:00pm.
A washed-up actor, desperate and suicidal, moves into a haunted Hong Kong apartment housing tower where supernatural creatures, ghost hunters, taoist exorcists, and the souls of the undead walk among his neighbors.
An eerie, chilling homage to the classic Chinese vampire movies of the 1980s, Rigor Mortis is the directorial debut of Hong Kong film maverick Juno Mak. Co-produced by J-Horror icon Takashi Shimizu, the film reunites some of the original cast members of the classic Mr. Vampire series.
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The very moment before death. A precise time-frame I’ve always been fascinated by.
Vampire and zombie movies have played an important and popular part throughout Western cinematic history. Hong Kong also has its very own version of a legendary vampire genre known as "Geung Si" or Chinese hopping vampires. A unique genre that combines thrill, suspense, ghosts, traditional mythology, action and comedy. A genre once so popular worldwide but suddenly disappeared and was unheard of again for almost 30 years now.
The mass-audienced Mr. Vampire series respectfully represented Hong Kong cinema in the 70s and 80s - Taoist Priests, amulets written in blood, wooden swords, evil spirits in red dresses, action stunts and of course, hopping vampires.
The publicly-acclaimed series Mr. Vampire starred the three protagonists, Lam Ching-ying as Master Kau, a unibrowed priest specialising in Taoist supernatural arts, Ricky Hui Koon-Ying as Man-choi and Chin Siu-ho as Chau-sang, both acting as Master Kau's students. Somehow, they were like a golden trio.
Sadly, two members of the golden trio have now passed away. Lam Ching-Ying died on the 8th November 1997, due to liver cancer. Coincidentally, Ricky Hui also died on the 8th November 2011 of a heart attack. (Ricky's name was written down as one of cast members in Rigor Mortis). Both died on the same day and month, something I am rather intrigued by.
Other memorable cast members include Anthony Chan-Yau, Wong Siu-fung, and Billy Lau Nam- Kwong.
I was born in 1984 and the first Mr. Vampire was released in 1985. I grew up being fascinated by the "Geung Si" subject and I remember replaying the series over and over again on VHS, constantly rewinding to dissect particular scenes of interest. Thus a directorial debut in this subject couldn't make any more sense to me.
Rigor Mortis is about reuniting the very original cast, bringing back this nostalgic "Geung Si" genre with a imaginative modern vision. Something I describe as “A Nightmare Poetry”. Also a sincere tribute to the cult. The story is set in a modern day housing estate and evolves around the last protagonist left from the MR. VAMPIRE series - Chin Siu-Ho, playing himself in the film.
Taking out the comedic elements from the original genre, RIGOR MORTIS aims for the very extreme on suspense, thrills, action and violence. It is about a group of underdogs once in the limelight who have now passed their time, re-discovering self-dignity through an intense surreal journey against a traditional evil force. Yet each character relates to their own origin in the original series.