Exploring Chinese Vampire Movies and Their Hopping Zombies

Exploring Chinese Vampire Movies and Their Hopping Zombies

Ever heard about Chinese hopping vampires? Also known as Jiāng shī, this Chinese movie genre has populated Chinese movie media since the 1980s.

Unlike traditional vampires, Chinese vampire movies combined martial arts and mystic Chinese magic.

So grab some popcorn, sit back, and add these to your movies watch list.

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Top 9 Must-Watch Chinese Vampire Movies

1. Mr. Vampire (1985)

Mr. Vampire movie trailer

Mr. Vampire (1985) is well-known to be the first and iconic Chinese vampire movie to kick off the jiāng shī (殭屍) genre. It also established the horror-comedy subgenre.

chinese hopping vampire gif

Jiāng shī, or Chinese hopping vampire, in Mr. Vampire; B&S About Movies

The movie is about a Taoist priest and his bumbling assistants where they battle vampires with their supernatural martial arts. It's funny, has memorable characters, and amazing fight scenes.

Everyone involved in Mr. Vampire made a name for themselves after this movie. The director, Ricky Lau, went on to direct other Chinese vampire films. The lead actors, Lam Ching-ying and Chin Siu-ho would star in other jiāng shī films such as "Vampire Buster” and "The Ultimate Vampire", respectively.

This film franchise became so popular that it produced four sequels!

2. Rigor Mortis (2013)

Rigor Mortis movie poster-min

Rigor Mortis by IMDb

This recent Chinese vampire movie puts a modern spin to the hopping vampire genre. 

Rigor Mortis incorporates horror, drama, and even fantasy movie elements where it pays homage to the all-time classic, Mr. Vampire. It even features Mr. Vampire actors!

The movie features a group of tenants and ghost hunters where they have to confront their inner demons in a rundown apartment complex. Spoiler alert: one of the many twists involves controlling the vampires that mixes that concept of "hungry ghosts." 

From the film’s haunting visuals and creepy sound design, every aspect will leave an impression on you. Great character development, unique story plot, and a villain with a backstory will leave you wanting more.

3. Vampire vs. Vampire (1989)

Vampire vs Vampire trailer

If you want a spiritual successor to Mr. Vampire, then Vampire vs. Vampire is the movie for you.

Similar to Mr. Vampire, Vampire vs. Vampire is a horror-comedy movie with a taoist priest fighting the undead.

It stars Lam Ching-ying and Chin Siu-ho who were from Mr. Vampire. With hilarious moments, creative fight scenes, and memorable characters, this film also uses Western-style bloodthirsty vampires as the main villain. That is a great example of how the Chinese hopping vampire movie genre has evolved and how writers find new ways to tell these vampire stories.

Vampire vs. Vampire is definitely worth it to check out if you're looking for scars and laughs.

4. The Twins Effect (2003)

The Twins Effect-min

The Twins Effect by IMDb

Need more action and forbidden romance? The Twins Effect is the perfect film for you. It has vampire lore, supernatural power, martial arts, and a romeo & juliet forbidden romance between a human and a vampire in modern-day Hong Kong.

The Twins Effect has over-the-top fight scenes, stunning visuals, and cheesy moments, this film is full of fun. 

Not only that, but this film has won many awards such as in its choreography, art design, costumes, and more.

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5. Vampire Cleanup Department (2017)

Vampire Cleanup Department movie trailer

There are 3 words to describe this film: action-pack, corny, and modern.

Vampire Cleanup Department is a modern Hong Kong action-comedy film where the main protagonist joins a secret organization to hunt vampires after accidentally killing a one himself. With his new job, he must learn how to actually hunt vampires along with struggling with everyday life as a young adult.

Rather than portraying hopping vampires as corny or funny, these are terrifying monsters that must be destroyed at all costs. Such a refreshing take on the traditional description.

6. The Era of Vampires (2002)

The Era of Vampires movie poster-min

Era of Vampires by City on Fire

Traveling back in time, this movie takes us back to the Qing Dynasty where history meets vampire meets martial arts. The movie follows a group of warriors that battles ancient Chinese vampires in a high-stakes showdown.

One unique aspect of Era of Vampires is the combination of historical Chinese folklore with the jiāng shī genre. It also incorporates qigong and kung fu into the fight scenes, making this film unique in its setting and story telling.

7. The Haunted Cop Shop (1987)

The Haunted Cop Shop movie trailer

Horror + Comedy + Action = The Haunted Cop Shop. Yep, that’s right. The Haunted Cop Shop follows a group of police officers who have to top vampires that are wrecking the city after it was accidentally released. 

This move is most well known for its comedy from its slapstick to witty one-liners in this Chinese horror film. Keeping the mood light and entertaining despite the current circumstances.

The Haunted Cop Shop features Lam Ching-Ying as the no-nonsense police inspector and Ricky Hui as the bumbling police officer. Together with their entertaining chemistry, they help blend horror and comedy in this unique film.

8. Meet Mr. Vampire (2018)

Meet Mr. Vampire movie poster-min

Meet Mr. Vampire by MyDramaList

Stepping back on to the modern age, Meet Mr. Vampire is a horror-comedy movie that pays homage to the classic Mr. Vampire movie from 1985 that takes an interesting twist when the vampire hunters accidentally wakes up a powerful vampire master.

With plenty of laughs and zany antics, the vampire hunters and vampires makes this film an amazing blend of comedy and horror. 

Meet Mr. Vampire also stars Chin Siu-ho, who was in the original Mr. Vampire movie and Vampire vs. Vampire (1989), as a veteran vampire hunter who takes the young recruits under his wing. The perfect hidden lore before the actor and the previous roles he played in.

9. Hello Dracula (1986)

Quick review of Hello Dracula

Hello Dracula is a Hong Kong horror-comedy film that follows a group of acrobatic students trying to capture their master after he was bitten by a jiāng shī.

This takes a unique take on the vampire hopping genre with its cast of characters. One of the memorable aspects of this film is the characters. All of them is eccentric and quirky and adorable.

Frequently asked questions

What is a jiangshi?

Jiāngshī (僵屍 / 殭屍) are known as "Chinese hopping vampires" or "zombies." They are a type of undead creature in Chinese folklore that are stiff, pale, outstretched arms, and hop around. Jiāngshī are often featured in Chinese horror movies and TV shows.

What is the Chinese movie with hopping vampires?

There are many Chinese movies with hopping vampires. They include Mr. Vampire, Vampire vs. Vampire, The Haunted Cop Shop, and Hello Dracula. More modern Chinese hopping vampire films include Rigor Mortis, The Twins Effect, Vampire Cleanup Department, The Era of Vampires, and Meet Mr. Vampire. 

What is the Chinese vampire movie from the 80s?

Mr. Vampire is the Chinese vampire movie that started the jiangshi or hopping vampires in the 80s. This movie was released in 1985 that established classic tropes. 

What are the differences between Western vampires and Chinese vampires?

Western vampires are usually seen as immortal creatures that drink blood, can turn into bats, and are weak to sunlight, garlic, and wooden stakes through the heart. Compared to Chinese vampires, also known as “jiangshi,” they are reanimated corpses that hop. Instead of blood, they need life force and are repelled by items like mirrors and are susceptible to magic spells written on their foreheads.

In closing

Chinese vampire movies have brought a unique spin on the horror genre, introducing audiences to iconic hopping vampires or "jiangshi." This movie genre blends martial arts, Chinese magic, and comedy that offers an intriguing and entertaining movie experience.

Jing You is a Chinese native who grew up in the Fujian province and soaked in the Chinese culture while living with her grandparents. She later moved to Singapore to pursue further education. However, she has always been passionate about the Mandarin language despite being in an environment that speaks English predominantly. She was involved in multiple Mandarin and Chinese culture programmes in schools, and brought this passion forward by tutoring elementary school students Mandarin in her adulthood.

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