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When Worlds Collide (!)

17 January 2013

My first year of college, a few other guys and I used to gather together every Monday for Bad Chinese Movie night. We never had to go rent them — I had a couple of hundred in my collection anyway. The jewel in that crown was probably Fantasy Mission Force, a movie that’s marketed as starring Jackie Chan, who shows up for five minutes at the end of the movie.

There are some things in that movie and many others we watched that just seemed out-and-out crazy. Some of it was crazy, but some of it we just saw as crazy because we had no cultural context for it. I remember one part of the movie where our heroes were in a haunted house, menaced by what appeared to be a zombie with both legs tied together, stiff arms outstretched, that could only travel by jumping. It made no sense to me then — I didn’t know I was looking at a hopping corpse.

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The above image is from a 1985 comedy-horror movie from Hong Kong called Mr. Vampire, which is all about hopping corpses. If you’re into Chinese film, I recommend it.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if hopping corpses break into the American mainstream as the next big trend in fiction sometime soon. As our culture and other cultures around the world grow closer together thanks to to the Internet (a great thing, in my opinion), cultural understanding is going to increase. We’ll soon have the grounding in Chinese culture to understand hopping corpses, just like we’ve had the grounding in European cultures to understand vampires.

As humans, we like our stories. We’re defined by them. And when we start to listen to the stories of people different from us, and to an extent adopt those stories as our own, we start to grow together as people. We’re not divided along borders, or political lines, or racial differences.

Also, Mr. Vampire is a really good movie, y’all.

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