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.
RIGOR MORTIS begins shooting in approximately May, 2012. The cast will include Chin Siu-Ho, Anthony Chan-Yau, Bao Hing-Ching, Chung Fat,, Lo Hoi-Pang and Billy Lau Nam-Kwong.