Directed By : Roy Ward Baker / Chang Cheh (Un-credited)
Peter Cushing ,David Chaing, John Forbes-Robertson ,Julie Edge
UK film poster by Arnaldo Putzu
Copyright© Hammer Films / Shaw Brothers 1974
Spring of Shaw Season Review - Film no' 11
The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires - 1974
This Hammer films / Shaw Brothers co-production from 1974 sees the merging of two great cult film studios for this one of film.
In a hope to gain more market share by joining forces Hammer hoped they might be onto something, they probably where as the Martial arts and Vampires genre has become widely popular over the years and has spawned many great films from all regions.
It's just a shame Hammer and Shaw where a bit early , about 15 years to early by the looks of it.
Here we have a Priest who has travelled from China to Transylvania to seek out the legendary Count Dracula.
Priest Kah just happens to be the overseer to a group of Chinese Vampires who have become endangered.
The Seven Golden Vampires have terrorised a small village for centuries by pillaging the village and taking their woman for blood letting .
Priest Kah hopes with the help of Dracula he can resurrect the fallen Vampires and reek havoc once again.
A hundred years later in 1904 Professor Van Helsing is in China for a lecture on the history of Vampires and to engage with the locals about their own Vampire problems as he has heard stories of the Golden Vampires.
Of course they just accuse him of being arrogant and nave to their histories . That is all except one man Ching who happens to be a direct descendent to some of the villagers terrorised by the Golden Vampires.
Basically Ching convinces Van Helsing to go on a expedition to the village to help save his ancestral village and his relatives . Along with his brothers ,seven in total they will defend the village against the attacking Vampires and the un-dead of the night. .
Of course Professor Van Helsing will meet his arch rival Count Dracula who has taken the body of Priest Kah as a host.
Playing like the Magnificent seven the brothers and their sister defend the village .
Peter Cushing is as reliable and likeable as ever as the professor and David Chiang as Ching gets to show what he can do along with his brothers who fight with a array of weapons from spears ,Knives and Maces made from silver.
Of course there journey is hindered by dangers and unlikely foes. But from a special effects view the film is a bit of a let down in some places ,but not as to spoil the film for enjoyment value ,in some instances the poor effects add to the enjoyment of the film , with poorly made masks for the vampires and bats on strings which just don't look convincing.
But of course where the film shines is in the fight scenes ,the action scenes look as good as many a Shaw film from the same period , but this of course due to director Chang Cheh co-directing ,but not credited as such.
The blood flows in the fights as you would have seen in classic kung fu features like Heroes Two and others.
For me Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires is a special film, I was like nine when it released and of course could not go and see it, but family members did and gave detailed explanations of the film.
It was not till the mid eighties that I got to see it finally on VHS when we bought our first VHS player and rented the film .
Now I am viewing this on DVD by Warner Brothers and it's a good print ,wide screen and good picture and sound.
I can see why David Chiang was chosen to play Ching ,he speaks good English and am surprised he did not do more English language films, but I suppose that was down to having a Shaw Brothers contract and from what I have read it seems they where not ones to release their stars to work on other projects.
From what I gather the most complete edition is the Pal release ,with both the Hong Kong and particularly the North American release edited by nearly twenty minutes , considering the film only runs about a little over ninety minutes it seems a bit crazy.
The North American release was renamed ''The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula'' .
The idea for the plot may be a borrowed story ( Seven Samurai / Magnificent Seven) but the idea behind the genre was clever and original for the time and it's this which makes the film special .
A Hop,Kick and a Bite straight through your heart.
Score out of Ten = 8
Review Date : June 10th 2014
Review By : Sertes Nake
|Directed by||Roy Ward Baker |
|Produced by||Don Houghton |
Run Me Shaw
Run Run Shaw
Vee King Shaw
|Written by||Don Houghton|
|Starring||Peter Cushing |
|Music by||James Bernard|
|Cinematography||Roy Ford |
|Edited by||Chris Barnes|
|Hammer Film Productions |
Shaw Brothers Studio
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. (UK) |
Dynamite Entertainment (USA)
|Release dates||11 July 1974 |
6 October 1974
|Running time||83 min.|
|Country||United Kingdom |
Character and Cast List
Peter Cushing as Professor Lawrence Van Helsing
John Forbes-Robertson as Count Dracula
David de Keyser provides the uncredited voice of Dracula
Robin Stewart as Leyland Van Helsing
Julie Ege as Vanessa Buren
David Chiang as Hsi Ching
Shih Szu as Mai KweiShen Chan as High Priest Kah/Count Dracula Host
Robert Hanna as British Consul