image courtesy of HK Flix



AKA: Dr. Vampire

Year of release: 1990

Genre: horror comedy

Running time: 92 mins.

Director: Jamie Luk

Action director: Yuen Miu

Producer: Chua Lam

Stars: Bowie Lam, Ellen Chan, Sheila Chan, Crystal Kwok, David Wu, Lau Sek Yin, Ni Kuang, James Wong Jim, Walter Kjaer, Lorraine Kibbler

Rated III for crude humor and gore

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Doctor Vampire

Dr. Vampire

Doctor Vampire is a unique take on the vampire genre, though it is probably not what a viewer might expect from a Category III movie about the subject. The story centers around a doctor (Bowie Lam) who is sent to England. Since his girlfriend back home (Sheila Chan) isn't putting out, Lam decides to visit a brothel, which turns out to be a house full of vampires led by Walter Kjaer (doing his best Bela Lugosi impression). Lam sleeps with Ellen Chan and she bites him in the process, so when he returns to Hong Kong, he understandably feels a bit strange.

Though Doctor Vampire does not really play by set vampire "rules" -- Lam is able to walk around during the day and can get by drinking V8 until a spell concocted by Sheila's nosy sister-in-law (Crystal Kwok, who suspects Lam is cheating when Ellen comes to Hong Kong to bring him back to England so Kjaer can have his "Chinese ginseng") fully turns him. Now, Lam and Ellen must try and stop Kjaer before he kills more people. Which might be a bit tough, since Kjaer seems to be the first vampire in history who can shoot lasers from his eyes, among other neat party tricks.

Dr. Vampire

Despite the Cat III rating, most of the running time of Doctor Vampire is dominated by fairly juvenile comedy. For example, one scene has a vampire with a "iron head" going around a hospital with a very apparent erection. Think of recent gross-out comedies like Road Trip or American Pie and you have a good idea of how things work here -- fortunately, all of the bodily fluids except for blood are thankfully left off-screen. Also suprising is the total lack of sex or even nudity. Vampire movies are usually ripe terriotory for erotica, but Doctor Vampire is very much a PG movie in this regard. It's kind of a shame. While gratuitous nudity is really nothing to get too excited about, it would have added a little spice to the fairly mundane first hour of the movie.

However, once the story finally comes together, the third act of Doctor Vampire is really great stuff -- a fine mix of horror and comedy in the vein of Evil Dead 2, even going as far as to copy the "spirit cam" from that movie. With a unique mix of both Eastern and Western vampire lore (this is probably the only film you'll see where a Taoist priest battles a Eurotrash goth vampire), some funny comedic bits (a lot of which is derived, intentionally or not, from the cast's over-the-top acting), and a good smattering of gore (including a choice gag where a female vampire is skewed through her breasts), the last thrity minutes or so of Doctor Vampire show just how good it might have been if it had been able to keep up the frentic pace for the entire duration. As it stands, Doctor Vampire is a slow starter, but it finishes hard, and makes a worthy viewing for Cat III fans, or for someone who wants a different take on the vampire mythos.

Dr. Vampire