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PLEASE NOTE that the 12:45pm screening (TIFF Bell Lightbox 2) of Rigor Mortis on Thursday, September 12 has moved to TIFF Bell Lightbox 5.
A public-housing tenement is plunged into a dark storm of supernatural chaos, in this loving tribute to the cult classic Hong Kong horror-comedy series Mr. Vampire.
Rigor Mortis is an audacious and visually
stunning debut that establishes Hong
Kong pop star-turned-director Juno Mak
as a filmmaking talent to be reckoned with.
It's also a loving tribute to Hong Kong
cinema history, most notably the cult classic
horror-comedy Mr. Vampire, which
launched the mythology of the hopping
vampire. It not only features Mr. Vampire
star Chin Siu-Ho as an aging actor, it
reunites several other players from the
original series, a casting decision as effective
as it is nostalgic.
An ominous-looking public-housing
tower is the final rest stop for a miserable
former movie star (Chin) who's
mourning the loss of his wife and son.
Filled with the old, the weary, and the
forgotten remnants of society, this last chance
hotel nonetheless contains many
comforts of Hong Kong life — a noodle
shop, a seamstress and a Taoist monk.
Ghosts and spirits already haunt its
hallways, but when a distraught widow
tries to bring her husband back from the
dead, the tenement is plunged into a dark
storm of supernatural chaos.
First-time director Mak dispenses with
slapstick and goes right for the jugular. In
this atmospheric nightmare, effects are used not merely as shock gimmicks, but to
accentuate the horror palette.
Make no mistake, this is a journey into the
exotic and esoteric superstitions of Chinese
lore, which may at times baffle some
Western horror enthusiasts unfamiliar with
its threats and talismans. But Mr. Vampire
fans and adventurous cinephiles alike will
delight in the way this mythology continues
to heighten the sense of dread.
- Juno Mak
- Juno Mak was born in Hong Kong.
He has recorded over ten albums as
a singer and acted in such films as
Dream Home (10), Revenge: A Love
Story (10), which he also wrote, and
Let's Go! (11). Rigor Mortis (13) marks
his feature directorial debut.