On Chinese Horror: From Xiangxi Legends to HK Zombies

Continuing on with my series on Chinese Horror, I want to talk about Jiangshi (僵尸) films that have made them the overriding image of  the Chinese Supernatural.

The beginning of the 1980s saw the release of a wave of Hong Kong zombie movies featuring those blue green doleful jiangshi that hop around in Qing Dynasty official uniforms. These pioneers and the plethora of imitators, were mostly inspired by the legend of the Xiangxi Corpse Handlers from Hunan.

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On Chinese Horror: the Jiangshi

In honour of World Zombie Day 2014, I wrote about the China’s traditional monster of the undead, which I have revised and updated for Ghost Month 2021. You might know these are the “hopping vampires” (a misnomer that I shall address in this article). The proper name for them is Jiangshi, and in fact, they had lived in the Chinese fictional imagination for 900 years before the movies.

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