RIGOR MORTIS: Legend of the One-Eyebrow Priest

Lam Ching-Ying looking to take care of business

 Juno Mak's Rigor Mortis pays homage to the hopping vampire films of yore, in particular, the Mr. Vampire series starring, Lam Ching-Ying as Kau, the One-Eyebrow Taoist priest who specializes in taking care of vampires, who despite their terrible behavior, are still someone's beloved ancestors.
And he is always beset by both gueng si/ gyonshi, aka, hopping vampires, and two disciples who just do not listen.

In Mr. Vampire (1985), the first disciple, played by director Ricky Lau, is bitten by a vampire, and does not recieve the proper groceries he needs to stop him from starting to transform.

Director or not, this is what happens to shoppers who are not vigilant in buying glutinous rice and/or duck eggs.

Kau's second disciple, played by Chou Siu-Ho (Rigor Mortis), is seduced by a ghost living out in the woods in the form of a beautiful woman. Though she is borne by terrifying singing children, Chau-Sang finds her charming.


Kau has a lot on his hands without even attempting to solve the bigger problem, a terrifying vampire, played by Yuen Wah, made incredibly strong by being buried in defiance of all sensible feng shui.

He had been in Sammo Hung's Encounter Of The Spooky Kind (1980), which created the whole genre of kung fu horror comedy. And after starring in Mr. Vampire, Lam went on to star in Mr. Vampire II, Mr. Vampire III and Mr. Vampire 1992 (1992), and Encounter of the Spooky Kind II (1990). He directed and starred in Vampire vs. Vampire (1989) and appeared in Musical Vampire (1992).

In fact, Lam starred in something like 130 films before dying in 1997 at the age of 46. He was a gifted martial artist and action choreographer.  He also appeared in  films that had nothing to do with vampires at all, including small parts or appearances as an extra in A Touch Of Zen (1971); The Lady Hermit (1971) with Cheng Pei-Pei;  The Big Boss/Fists Of Fury (1971) with Bruce Lee; Hap Ki Do (1972) with Angela Mao Ying;  The Man From Hong Kong (1975) with Jimmy Wang Yu (Soul).

including one of my all-time favorite, The Prodigal Son, in which he plays a Peking Opera performer who specializes in female roles and is also a secret martial arts master

I am also very fond of The Magnificent Butcher (1979)

And, finally, a nice tribute to Lam Ching-Ying.

RIGOR MORTIS Final Screening:
Friday, Sept 13th, 6:00 PM SCOTIABANK 9
SOUL Final Screening:
Saturday, Sept 14th, 12:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10

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