The Haunted Cop Shop (1987)
by: Jeff Lau
It's the day of the annual Festival Of Hungry Ghosts and Police Cheif Shun (Woo Fung from Red Wolf) gets a visit from a former officer (who is now a monk) who brings with him a warning. He tells Shun that if a woman in pink shows up at the station (that used to be a clubhouse for Japanese soldiers), there will be consequences, unless necessary precautions are taken. Shun shrugs off the warning and decides to go on with police business as usual. The same night the two laid back cops Mackey Kim (Jacky Cheung from Bullet In The Head) and Chiu Man (Ricky Hui from Mr. Vampire) arrests petty thief Sneaky Ming (Billy Lau from Miracles) and throws him in jail. Soon the woman in pink shows herself to Sneaky Ming and leads him into the clubhouse that was, for a lethal game of mahjong. Of course his opponents are spirits and with them they bring General Issey, a bloodthirsty vampire. This is just the beginning of the troubles for Sneaky Ming and not to mention Mackey Kim and Chiu Man...
expecting much from Jeff Lau's (director of Chinese Odyssey
2002) 1987 movie. I'd heard beforehand that it was suppose
to be a fairly entertaining Hong Kong horror comedy and that
description fit well except one thing...it was a very entertaining
Hong Kong horror comedy! Don't expect a difficult film though
despite acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai's screen writing credit.
This is probably a film that wouldn't even have existed if Encounters Of The Spooky Kind or Mr. Vampire hadn't been made but having said that really none of the prominent
elements from those movies have been lifted into this one
(no hopping vampires for example). So The Haunted Cop Shop actually stands well on its own two feet as a movie.
can almost be divided into two parts, one that consciously
is geared more towards the humour but there are also scenes
that are pretty tense and atmospheric. Lau's very non-stylish
way of directing helps create a wonderful mood where certain
viewers will most certainly be slightly on the edge of their
seat. Examples of scenes that creates this is Billy Lau's
mentioned visit to the clubhouse and Ricky Hui trying to grab
a key off the bed where a vampire is strapped down. I was
pleasantly surprised that it did combine these two horror
aspects and it wasn't something I expected to say the least.
Pretty much during the second half though the filmmakers choose
to go with the horror-comedy which works quite well but I
could've done without the dog scene which is to me too disgusting
to even talk about. Expect the unexpected is a movie title
but also an expression that can be applied to Hong Kong movies
in many cases.
the special effects are neither below or above the standard
for horror movies of this era in Hong Kong. Some of the makeup
effects are crude but also fairly effective for certain moments
in the film. The little gore there is also well enough done
within the framework of the kind of movie The Haunted Cop Shop is. I do need to mention that our main vampire villain
is probably the least scary due to his HAIR of all things.
One wonders if General Issey had a barber shop on the side
and why the make up people felt the need to make him so well
cut is a question you could debate with your friends after
the movie (and a few beers).
also sums up my feelings about The Haunted Cop Shop. Jeff
Lau has made a fun, sometimes scary and very entertaining horror-
comedy but don't expect any huge surprises though.
reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson