Friday, December 13, 2019

Vampire Raiders vs. Ninja Queen

Vampire Raiders vs. Ninja Queen
Godfrey Ho

In a complete about-face from the overwrought tragedy of Ninja Commandments (1987), Vampire Raiders vs. Ninja Queen sees cut-up artist and ninja raconteur Godfrey Ho splice some ninja action into a very silly horror-comedy complete with hopping vampires and an actual dead pig being thrown off of a roof. Just in case you don’t get the fact that this is a comedy, the music takes on an equally zany tone… except for normal talking scenes that lift the soundtrack from Phantasm (1979) for reasons only understood by Godfrey Ho himself.

So, what is the plot this time? I can't say there is anything like a coherent story here, but that should come as no surprise to anyone who has witnessed a Godfrey Ho ninja film. The gist is that there are two warring ninja clans vying for supremacy in the Hong Kong hotel industry. The Purple Ninjas are led by a blonde woman (Deborah Grant) and the Blue ninjas are a bunch of jerks who employ hopping vampires to do their dirty work. Three telephone operators overhear some of the Blue Ninja clan’s plans and end up on the run from vampires. There are some ninja fights, some vampire fights, and then a flying head explodes. The end.

I have the same look on my face when I have to answer the phone at work.
The whole process of inserting ninja footage into another film and then dubbing over all of it lends itself to inadvertent comedy naturally, so what happens when you also introduce deliberate comedy? The whole experience becomes overwhelming at points as the broadness of the vampire comedy with its slapstick and screaming makes the ninja shenanigans seem almost sublime by comparison. It is an odd and exhausting experience, but one that still manages to surprise and occasionally even charm with some of its more bizarre moments, such as an off-handed mention that there are nuclear explosions happening around the world (a fact which is never expounded upon again.)

Also, if you ever wanted to see a hog corpse dropped from a building onto some unsuspecting people then this is the movie for you.

The action set-pieces of Vampire Raiders vs. Ninja Queen are all around well-done. The vampire attacks are often frenetic and feature inventive moments with things stretchy arms or a dual vampire attack on the deck of a ship. The ninja fights are acrobatic and fast-paced, I can’t tell you who is who and why they are fighting half the time, but at least it looks good.

I don’t know if such a thing as a good entry-level Godfrey Ho ninja film exists, they are all deep dives for even dedicated junk movie watches, but if you are so cruel as to feel the need to introduce someone to them, Vampire Raiders vs. Ninja Queen isn’t a bad choice. It is well-paced has comedy that is both purposeful and accidental and shows off some decent action beats.

Just expect to have to answer a lot of questions when it’s over.

No comments:

Post a Comment