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The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

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The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
The-Legend-of-the-Seven-Golden-Vampires-poster.jpg
Promotional film poster
Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Chang Cheh
Produced by Don Houghton
Run Me Shaw
Run Run Shaw
Vee King Shaw
Written by Don Houghton
Starring Peter Cushing
David Chiang
Robin Stewart
Julie Ege
John Forbes-Robertson
Music by James Bernard
Cinematography Roy Ford
John Wilcox
Editing by Chris Barnes
Studio Hammer Film Productions
Shaw Brothers Studio
Distributed by Warner Bros. (UK)
Dynamite Entertainment (USA)
Release date(s) 11 July 1974 (1974-07-11THong Kong)

6 October 1974 (1974-10-06TUK)
Running time 83 min.
Country Hong Kong
United Kingdom
Language English
Mandarin

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is a 1974 horror film produced by Hammer Studios and Shaw Brothers Studio. It was released in North America in an edited version as The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula, and alternatively known as The Seven Brothers And Their One Sister Meet Dracula.

PlotEdit

Professor Lawrence Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) gives a lecture in 1904 at a Chongqing (Chungking) university on Chinese vampire legend. He speaks of an unknown rural village that has been terrorized by vampires for many years. After the lecture, a student (David Chiang) informs him that the legend is true and that he knows the location of the village. He then asks Professor Van Helsing if he would be willing to travel to the village and destroy the vampire menace. Van Helsing agrees and embarks with his son, the student and his seven kung-fu trained siblings on a dangerous journey funded by a wealthy widow (Julie Ege). Van Helsing and his party realize, however, that the Seven Golden Vampires, who are the ones wreaking havoc on the village, are actually acting under the guidance of Count Dracula himself, masquerading as a mad Taoist monk.

ProductionEdit

Both Roy Ward Baker, a British director who had helmed several previous Hammer films, and Chang Cheh, a veteran Hong Kong action director, worked on the movie, though only Baker is credited.

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires was a co-production with Hong Kong's Shaw Studio, made in the hope of garnering some of the kung fu movie market share.

The movie was released with various titles in different locations, including The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula and Dracula and the Seven Golden Vampires. During some scenes involving roving gangs of undead, several vampires can be seen hopping up and down, as vampires tend to do in Chinese vampire films.

The North American release version trims twenty minutes of the film's footage and soundtrack and loops several remaining scenes to fill the running time.[1]

CastEdit

ReceptionEdit

Critical reaction to the film has been mixed. Keith Phipps of The Onion's A.V. Club called the film "flawed" but "enjoyable", adding: "It's pretty much as ridiculous as it sounds, but there's something inherently entertaining about make-up-splattered vampires, distinguished British actors, and martial artists squaring off in periodic eruptions of kung-fu fighting."[2] Popcorn Pictures wrote, "The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is a really enjoyable mixture of genres and just about everything comes off well. The last true film of Hammer's Dracula series, this one rounds everything off pretty well."[3]

Eccentric Cinema criticized the "dreadful" script and "laughable makeup", but said that "all is not lost. Played completely straight, the sheer absurdity of the movie actually saves it", adding that the film is "directed in workmanlike fashion" and that "Cushing, always a pro, keeps things together with his typically commanding performance."[4] Phil Chandler of DVD Cult wrote, "Is it the best Hammer horror film ever made? Hell no. Is it the best Hammer film of the seventies? Hell yeah."[1]

The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review wrote that "the plot never settles into being much more than its collection of influences", but added that "John Forbes-Robertson ... is an effective Dracula", "[director] Roy Ward Baker conducts the action quite enjoyably", and "the martial arts displays are all highly entertaining".[5] Graeme Clark of The Spinning Image said, "Cushing, in his last Hammer Dracula film, is as commanding as ever, but he and his Western companions are pretty disposable to the plot until the end, where the professor is left alone with the Count, who is hardly needed. Nevertheless, this last Hammer vampire outing has a real energy, in spite of being a mish-mash, and is different enough to get by on sheer novelty alone."[6]

DVD releaseEdit

The DVD from Anchor Bay features both the Seven Brothers Meet Dracula version as well as the original uncut Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires version.[1] The DVD also features a recording of Peter Cushing telling the story of the film with music and sound effects, which was released as an LP record at the time of the film's release.[1]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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