10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Haunted Cop Shop 
Written by: on May 6th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1987
Director: Jeffrey Lau
Writer: Kar Wai Wong
Cast: Jacky Cheung, Fat Chung, Chan Ga-Chai, Ricky Hui, Billy Lau, Alan Tang, Fung Woo

DVD released: February 2nd, 2007
Approximate running time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: IIB (Hong Kong)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
DVD Release: Joy Sales
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC (Hong Kong)
Retail Price: $9.99

Synopsis: Two cops work at a precinct that was a Japanese officer’s club during the war.  Defeated, the Japanese committed mass seppuku – thus the Haunted Cop Shop. Warning: if a pink lady crosses the threshold of the precinct during the fire festival, bad things will happen.

What happens is that a Western style master vampire is resurrected. This horror comedy pays tribute to both Spooky Encounters and Mr. Vampire, but there are no hopping vampires, and only a brief segment with a typical vampire hunter/priest. Played by Chung Fat (Encounters of the Spooky Kind), he takes out a couple of newbie vampire minions before Dracula tears his arm off.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was successful precisely because it took the monsters seriously and this film follows that model. There are bits of slapstick and low-brow humor (including a fart joke), but the horror situations are played straight with lots of atmosphere and some genuinely scary moments. Certainly there is much humor generated by the reactions to the situations, and some situations are not exactly what they seem.

The film is well paced and never drags. Just as the two bumbling cops scenario (played well by Jacky Cheung and Ricky Hui (Mr. Vampire)) starts to wear thin – they acquire a third wheel, Chan Ka Chai as inspector Fanny Ho. Her presence brings fresh energy to the proceedings, improving both the comedy and suspense aspects.

The DVD:

Another very nice but not perfect Joy Sales release of a re-mastered but unrestored print.  Widescreen anamorphic with Cantonese or Mandarin soundtracks. English subs present all the (Anglicized) profanity you would expect from a low-brow horror comedy from the eighties, though they do track a mite fast sometimes.

Haunted Cop Shop is a screwball comedy that is also effective as a horror film, much in the same vein as Fright Night or Vamp. Besides a good cast, the script provides some real surprises, none the least that it was co-written by Kar Wai Wong (Chungking Express).

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