China’s Vampires

Belief in vampires is not confined to the people of Transylvania, and half humans able to transform themselves into monsters are no strangers to Chinese folklore. Some tales may be traced back to the third century AD.

Since Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published in 1897, this makes a case that vampire folklore may have originated in China and traveled west along the Silk Road almost two thousand years ago.

The Chinese vampire is called a Jiang-shi (also spelled Kaing-shi or Chiang-shih). However, Chinese vampires are different from Dracula or Anne Rice’s vampires.

Chinese folklore says the Jiang-shi is stiffened by rigor mortis and these vampires have to hop to get around.  The Jiang-shi also finds its victims by smelling your breath, so if a hungry Jiang-shi is about, it is best to stop breathing.

In the 1980s, there was a series of vampire movies produced in Hong Kong. The first in the series was Mr. Vampire (you may watch Mr. Vampire here. For parts two through ten, scroll down to the embedded YouTube series at the bottom of this post).

Mr. Vampire – Part 1/10
with English subtitles

Ricky Lau directed Mr. Vampire and the producer was Sammo Hung.

Chopper Time says, “Almost all of these movies are pretty watchable, but the best of the bunch was the first one, an expert horror-comedy called Mr. Vampire.

There were a few Taiwanese vampire films, which include The Vampire Shows His Teeth (a series of three films (1984-1986), New Mr. Vampire (1985), Elusive Song of the Vampire (1987) and Spirit versus Zombie (1989).

Today, Vampires stories are becoming popular in mainland China. Tom Carter, an American author and expatriate living in China, says Twilight is a popular pirated novel and some Twilight fans are now writing their own fan-fiction and vampire stores in Chinese on their Blogs.

In fact, a shop called the Vampire opened its doors recently in Beijing to sell vampire, zombie, and werewolf blood along with Satan poison and UFO fuel.

In November 2010, the China Daily reported Blood Shop drawing a thirsty Crowd.

“The shop, which opened September 20, is reportedly the first of its kind in Beijing. The storefront also has a stained-glass window adorned with a miniature vampire model sucking blood from a cup held in his skeletal hand.”

Another excellent Chinese movie is Farewell My Concubine but there are no vampires in this film.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Mr. Vampire continued
with English subtitles

Mr. Vampire – Part 2/10

Mr. Vampire – Part 3/10

Mr. Vampire – Part 4/10

Mr. Vampire – Part 5/10

Mr. Vampire – Part 6/10

Mr. Vampire – Part 7/10

Mr. Vampire – Part 8/10

Mr. Vampire – Part 9/10

Mr. Vampire – Part 10/10

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