Vampire Training Camp (Taiwan 1988)

Rating: *
Review Date: 2/8/21

Master Fu trains corpses to become hopping vampires, presumably so that they can make their long journey home and reincarnate. It's not clear and there's obviously a lot of cultural background that I'm missing. His apprentice Sleepy accepts a fresh load of corpses, but they pose a problem for Fu because they all died violently and are unfit to be trained. But he can't reject them for fear of losing his reputation. Additionally, a rival Taoist priest named Tin is always trying to steal Fu's corpses and ruin his business, and one of the corpses is actually a criminal who's only pretending to be dead. After repeated blunders, Tin eventually hires a powerful evil wizard to destroy Fu, and it's up to Sleepy, the corpses, and Fu's adorable niece Little Pea to save the day.

It's a supernatural kung fu horror comedy, but only the kung is satisfying. The slapstick humor is unfunny and falls completely flat, and the horror elements are more puzzling than horrific. The corpse aspect is also totally baffling in that they behave just like normal living people. They eat, drink, sleep, and pee, are immune to sunlight, and spend their days running through obstacle courses as part of their corpse training. They don't even start hopping until they "graduate" at the very end. To make things even more weird, Sleepy has a romantic crush on one of the female corpses and Little Pea befriends a child corpse and teaches him kung fu. The adolescent humor involves a couple of piss jokes, and one trap can only be defeated with the urine of a virgin boy. It's all very silly, but it's not very funny.

The copy I saw was extremely poor quality, but it looked like it was filmed competently. The Taoist magic elements are lacking and not interesting, but the sporadic kung fu is fun and energetic. Unfortunately, the film's sluggish pacing, tedious humor, and goofy acting make it nearly unwatchable.