Rigor Mortis《殭屍》: First Look - Undead Monday

Posted by The Daily Zombies Monday, November 18, 2013

This Undead Monday, an unexpected entry for the most anticipated horror film of the year emerges as a beloved lost sub-genre of horror returns in one hell of a big way with Rigor Mortis, an ultimate tribute to the Lost "Jiangshi" films in the late 80. 

During the 80s, Hong Kong cinema saw a tremendous boom with the action films of Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung generating attentions in Asia. As an offspring of the period kung-fu movies, a fusion element combining horror and physical comedy was injected in Samo Hung's 1980 blockbuster, Encounters of the Spooky Kind (鬼打鬼). Continuing the tremendous box office results of Encounters of the Spooky Kind, that successfully merges the wacky physical comedy with conventional beliefs and traditions surrounding Taoism as well as the horror trope of "Jiangshi", Mr. Vampire (殭屍先生) was introduced in 1985 to unprecedented success, and the rest is history. "Jiangshi" (殭屍), traditionally known as a Chinese "hopping" zombie in official garments from the Qing Dynasty, and reanimated for nefarious purposes, became a wild fire in the Chinese cinema world with film-makers exploiting the trope at every turn in a popular trend that lasted way into the 90s. Dead for decades, the lost sub-genre of horror finally returns in one hell of manner in Rigor Mortis (殭屍) .

Produced by Takashi Shimizu, the creator of Ju-On, and the directorial debut of Juno Mak, Rigor Mortis (殭屍) is a homage to the lost sub-genre in an intriguingly meta way in the vein of JCVD: Chin Siu Ho (錢小豪), a veteran of "Jiangshi" films since his career breakthrough in the aforementioned Mr. Vampire, takes on the role of Chin Siu Ho (錢小豪), a semi-fictionalized of himself, who move into a rundown apartment to commit suicide due to depression as a result of his failed career. This is where an absolutely delightful ensemble of veteran actors known for their works in original classic "Jiangshi" films show up in the apartment building that hold more unspeakable macabre secrets than one might suspect. Expect creepy ghosts, demented people, and of course, drum rolls please... A "Jiangshi" hellbent on destruction and some hopping action.

This is easily one of the most promising horror materials we have seen in years that is at once a respectable homage and social commentary on the living conditions of Hong Kong. While the film will take on a stark and terrifying vision of the "Jiangshi" trope and thereby removing the wacky element of the original genre, it is no doubt a compelling direction that can potentially rejuvenate the severely weakened state of horror in Chinese films.

Hit the jump to check out the creepy trailers.

Here are the posters released thus far.

A compilation of the character posters.

Official character images for the film.

Here are the official images from the film.

Here's the official synopsis:

In this eerie and chilling, contemporary, action/special effects laden homage to the classic Chinese vampire movies of the 1980’s, writer-director-producer, Juno Mak makes his feature directorial debut. Co-produced by J-Horror icon Takashi Shimizu, and reuniting some of the original cast members of the classic Mr. Vampire series, RIGOR MORTIS is set in a creepy and moody Hong Kong public housing tower whose occupants we soon discover, run the gamut from the living to the dead, to the undead, along with ghosts, vampires and zombies.

Reuniting some of the original cast members of the classic Mr. Vampire series, RIGOR MORTIS stars action movie veteran Chin Siu-ho (Siu-ho) as a former vampire hunting actor who now finds himself reaching the end of the line as a washed-up star who is also separated from his wife and alienated from his son. Down on his luck and with barely a dollar to his name, he checks into room 2442 in the housing estate which is allegedly a haunted flat. His aim is to end his misery by doing himself in, but instead Siu-ho is interrupted by some of the other “occupants” of the building including a Taoist master-exorcist (Anthony Chan), a traumatized housewife with a tragic past (Kara Hui), as well as a seemingly benign elderly woman (Paw Hee-ching) who has an empty coffin conspicuously hanging in the middle of her apartment. 

Soon it becomes apparent to Siu-ho that the people around him and the situation are far from normal. Despite his lack of belief in superstition, Siu-ho is soon thrust into the battle of his life as vicious vampires having a lot of unsettled business begin to rise from the dead…

The official synopsis in Chinese:

80年代知名動作影星小豪(錢小豪 )曾經憑《殭屍先生》飾演殭屍獵人紅極一時,可惜年事漸長,風光不再,私生活上的混­­亂及破損,無奈遷入公共屋邨凶宅單位『2442』居住,並決定在凶宅內了結自己的生­­,但卻遇上一些改變他命運的人,例如隱世的末代天師阿友(陳友 飾演)、有家歸不得受過嚴重心靈創傷的神經楊鳳(惠英紅 )、樂於助人但在家中私藏了一具棺材的屋邨師奶梅姨(鮑起靜 )等,更驚爆殭屍肆虐殺人事件,小豪與阿友再次面對兇猛殭屍襲擊,必須設法合力降服­­這具瘋狂嗜血的不死之身......

Rigor Mortis《殭屍》has opened in Hong Kong and Taiwan to critical acclaim. The film is set to be its rounds across Asia and is expected to have a limited release both Stateside and Canada thanks to Well Go USA Entertainment.


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