MR VAMPIRE III
(Ling Huan Xian Sheng)
Mr Vampire III brings back the ghost father and son and son that appeared in the second film, as well as the character of the cowardly bespectacled idiot played by Billy Lau. Although, while Mr Vampire II was set in the present day, Mr Vampire III has a period setting so clearly continuity is not a major concern to the series.
Ricky Lau plays the entire film at the same level of inane slapstick that he did the predecessor. Particularly silly are almost any of the scenes with the pompous idiot Billy Lau, involving jack-in-the-boxes or the two ghosts causing him to balance on his fingertips in a restaurant and pinch peoples bottoms; or other scenes with various people being pursued by the Taoist in a chicken suit; or a half-melted ghost that looks like a person covered in porridge. It is all directed by Ricky Lau with a maximum of stupidity and frenetic shrillness and accompanied by cartoonish sound effects. There is no particular plot just a good deal of this manically silly freneticism. Although it could be noted that the basic set-up does bear a certain resemblance to the plot later used by Peter Jackson in The Frighteners (1996).
On its plus side, Mr Vampire III returns to the same wildly fantastic moves that the original film had. This film does eventually attain a certain colourful dementia amid all the silliness ghosts producing three metre long arms out of their sleeves; the high energy battle in the forest with the combatants only able to cut opponents when they have blood on their sword and the devil lady tossing burning rocks about with her bullwhip made of hair; ghosts seen to be walking people they are possessing along on their feet; the capturing of ghosts with glowing ropes; various people attempting to hide by coating themselves with tar; the devil woman producing hordes of bats, roaches and such like. Appealingly silly dementia if only Ricky Lau had cut back on the moronic slapstick that overruns the rest of the film.
The subsequent Mr Vampire films are: Mr Vampire IV (1988) and Mr Vampire V (1990).