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七金屍 (1974)
The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 01/17/2011

Even in the world of vampire movies, the story here is pretty ridiculous. If these vampires have been terrorizing this village for generations, why didn't the residents just move? And why would a group of talented martial artists that can take on dozens of people (or vampires) at a time need the aid of an old white guy. Also, the vampires themselves don't seem to be all that threatening, not having the powers exhibited by most filmic representations of the creatures. Even Dracula himself goes down with barely any sweat raised on Van Helsing's deeply-wrinkled and disheveled brow.

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires was an interesting idea for the time, but it never quite succeeds. The horror elements are almost laughably bad now, with the Hammer version of fake blood being only slightly more realistic than the Shaws' ketchupy recipe. And, even with Lau Kar-Leung working as the martial arts director, the kung fu scenes feel fairly flat and uninspired -- perhaps it was shot and edited by a European crew. Still, despite its' flaws, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires has a sort of kitschy charm that makes it hard to actually hate it for very long, with the good outweighing the bad, albeit sometimes just barely.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 04/28/2007

The duel intention behind "The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires" was to makeover an increasingly lackluster Hammer output as well as boast Shaw Brothers star David Chiang as Bruce Lee's successor in the West.

On both fronts, it failed.

Hammer Film Productions closed their doors before the turn of the decade; Chiang remained in Hong Kong and didn't appear in another English language film for decades.

While "The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires" works as Hammer gothic trash it is a travesty of Shaw Brothers expectations. Unexpectedly, Tong Gai and Liu Chia Liang's (Lau Kar-leung) action choreography is lethargic and uninvolving.

Iconic Hammer star Peter Cushing is Professor Van Helsing (once more) on the trail of Dracula (again) who has taken the form of a Taoist priest in China. David Chiang is the professor's cocksure Chinese pupil speaking in stilted English.

Filmed exclusively at Shaw Brothers Studios the film is known as "Dracula and the 7 Golden Vampires" in Hong Kong.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 11/19/2006
Summary: Yes, it's absurd but it is great!

In December 1998, I took part in an international symposium about Hammer Film Productions Limited and the long running Dracula series of films they had produced in the late 60's and the 70's. A question about which titles had reached cult status in their home nations was posed to the many participants. My response at that time was that "the Dracula title with true cult status in the USA has to be The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. Many diverse people are aware of this title."

Another page from my personal Big Book of Guilty Pleasures, the movie combines two of my favorite genres. I've always loved the Hammer Dracula films and was intrigued by the Shaw Bros. participation in this co-production. It took about 5 years to show up in the United States and when it did it was heavily edited. It was still a few years before I would see the complete version of Baker's film but, even in its truncated form you could see that the Shaw's went all out, providing costumes, sets and scores of extra's for the production. The action direction by now legendary Liu Chia-Liang and Tong Gaai is outstanding. It is just too bad that the director couldn't get out of the way. The screenplay by Don Houghton takes a lot of liberties with the Dracula myths, but the Van Helsing adventure does have a wide scope and big time feel to it. The rising Hong Kong stars, David Chiang and Shih Szu, do a nice job with their roles, as do all of the supporting players.

Yes, it's absurd but it is great!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 11/04/2006

Dracula is visited in his Transylvanian lair by a Chinese man hoping to resurrect his vampires. Instead, Dracula possesses and takes over his visitor (you really can’t trust these evil types, can you?) and travels to a small village in China to escape his exile. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is given a lead to Drac’s whereabouts by Hsi Ching (David Chiang) and they embark on a trek across China to rid the world of Dracula and his 7 unholy brothers.

By 1974, the once proud Hammer studio was ailing quite badly. In an obvious effort to latch on to the martial arts “craze” started when ENTER THE DRAGON made it big, they decided to join their usual horror/mild gore stylings with that of the new-fangled eastern type of action. To their credit, at least they went to the Shaw Brothers and tried to do it properly.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work. The action scenes seem bolted on, and the horror scenes are pretty laughable. There’s a fair amount of talent on the Hong Kong end of the production - Lau Kar-Wing has a very visible role, Si Si is lovely as Hsi Ching’s sister, and Fong Haak-On is apparently in there somewhere as well, but I didn’t spot him. But it’s David Chiang that’s supposed to drive the film.

It’s a bit of a shock to hear his real voice, I have to say. He sounds rather higher-pitched than I’d imagined. Although not able to speak English, he learned his lines phonetically, and doesn’t come off as badly as you might imagine (although I strongly suspect he says “destroyded” at one point). It’s quite a novelty to hear him speak in English, and one that doesn’t wear off. Unfortunately, he is given very little to do on the action front, and what’s there isn’t all that thrilling.

Arguably, the horror aspect is even worse. You have some unknown actor in the role of Dracula for a start. And I must admit I find the whole Dracula thing really passé anyway.

It’s such a shame that the only UK/Hong Kong collaboration didn’t work out, and the mixing of the genres could have produced a real cult classic. Instead, this vampire movie just sucks – and not in a good way.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: Libretio
Date: 10/14/2005
Summary: Unusual melding of disparate genres


Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)
Sound format: Mono

Whilst lecturing in Chungking at the turn of the 20th century, Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is asked by a poor villager (David Chiang) to help defend his community from a plague of vampires controlled by Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson).

Filmed on location in Hong Kong under difficult shooting conditions, the Hammer/Shaw Bros. co-production THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES attempts to meld the antiquated Gothic melodrama of Hammer's bygone glories with the new breed of kung fu thrillers emerging from HK at the time, spearheaded by the worldwide success of KING BOXER (1971) and, especially, ENTER THE DRAGON (1973). Roy Ward Baker (THE VAMPIRE LOVERS) took the reins from original director Gordon Hessler (THE OBLONG BOX) after only a few days, though his work was clearly hampered from the outset by co-producer Don Houghton's simplistic script, which describes events either in broad strokes or hasty scribbles, leaving most of the actors in disarray.

Cushing is urbane as ever, trading successfully on his established screen persona, but co-star Julie Ege (a former Bond girl) is merely decorative, while Chiang - an accomplished screen actor (also known as John Keung) whose work stretches all the way from STREET BOYS in 1960 to THE ADVENTURERS (1995) and beyond - is ultimately defeated by the English dialogue, which he's forced to deliver in a stilted, phonetic style. Robin Stewart (THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR) and Shih Szu are also featured as the juvenile leads, alongside hugely prolific actors Fung Hak-on (later a regular in Jackie Chan's movies) and Lau Kar-wing (an experienced performer and director in his own right). Elsewhere, Forbes-Robertson does a fair impersonation of Christopher Lee in Dracula-mode, though his first on-screen appearance is almost ruined by a comical makeup design. Les Bowie's special effects are also quite feeble, even for 1974. However, the studio sets are appropriately vivid, and the widescreen photography (by John Wilcox and Roy Ford) makes a virtue of Johnson Chow's atmospheric art direction - watch for the haunting image in Dracula's castle of ghostly shadows billowing softly on a multicolored wall just before the Count begins to stir from his coffin during the opening sequence - and the fight scenes (arranged by veteran choreographers Liu Chia-liang and Tang Chia) are lively and energetic.

The film was subjected to major re-edits for its original US release, where it went out under the title THE 7 BROTHERS MEET DRACULA. This shabby hatchet job rearranges most of the key sequences in a miserable attempt to reduce exposition and characterization to the barest minimum, thereby transforming a fair-to-middling potboiler into an 'audience-friendly' mish-mash of violent horror and kung fu skirmishes. Not only does it cheapen the production and blacken the name of all involved with it, this variant edition treats American viewers as dim-witted simpletons, emphasizing cheap thrills over plot development for the sake of a quick buck. The film was screened in HK - completely intact - under the HK-English title DRACULA AND THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES.

(English dialogue)

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 01/24/2003
Summary: Ummm..........

This movie looks dated and the martial arts is very slow. Believe it or not, dracula is the big bad guy in this film. Sort of a mix of west and east.

David Chiang struggles with english and PEter Cushing takes over as the main star.

Slow paced and slow action by todays standards but i didn't mind watching it (with the help of the fast forward button)


Reviewed by: RLM
Date: 11/26/2002
Summary: Admirable

This film has various titles including -The Legend of the 7 Vampires. It combines 70's Kung-Fu camp (Shaw Brothers) with Vampire horror cheese (Hammer Studios) and has become a cult classic.
Peter Cushing revised his role as Van Heising and is in hot pursuit of Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson) who has accepted an invitation to journey to China to resurrect the legendary 7 Golden Vampires. Van Heising is asked by Hsi Ching (David Chiang) to accompany him and his family of Kung-fu experts to stop the the hoard from destroying his village.
Along the way the viewer is delighted by tongue-in-cheek monsters, walking undead and of course one can't forget the virgin sacrifices. The special effects are all smoke and mirrors, but what could you do with a melting corpse during the early 70's?!?
The fight choreography is methodical but there are some interesting techniques, especially by the sisters of the family.
Different languages and cultures didn't seem to get into the way of fun with this film - it's played for laughs and should be seen as that type of sub-genre film. Now go enjoy!

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 05/13/2002
Summary: Not a good mixture

This is much more a Hammer film than a Shaw Brothers, and the quality suffers a lot for it. The mix simply falls flat. Sure, you can gawk at Julie Ege's cleavage, perhaps gasp at the reasonably gruesome horror of the opening scenes, and that's about it.

David Chiang says his lines in English, and he sounds dreadful. The first 30 minutes was all I could stand. A terrible waste of so much talent.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: battlemonkey
Date: 12/21/1999

Dracula assumes the identity of a Taoist priest and flees toChina, where he resurrects an army of zombies. Hot on his tail is Dr. Van Helsing, who is aided by a family of kung fu heroes. Interesting co-production between the Shaw Brothers and England's Hammer Films. Despite some glaring continuity errors (Dracula escapes Van Helsing's prison, and 100 years later the chase in China occurs. Peter Cushing is old, but this would make him something like 150 years old), this is an entertaining kung fu horror film with a goodly amount of blood-letting. The only big problem is that various kung fu villains have to stand around in order to make the white guy look like he is a good fighter, which he isn't.