Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Starring: Peter Cushing, David Chiang, Julie Ege, Robin Stewart

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Deadly Horrors! Dragon Thrills! The First Kung Fu Horror Spectacular!

Plot: Count Dracula journeys to a remote Chinese village in the guise of a warlord to support six vampires who are dispirited after the loss of a seventh member of their cult. At the same time, vampire hunter Prof. Van Helsing happens to be lecturing in the country and is persuaded by villagers to help them fight this curse of the ages.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Doubtful.

#57 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

Here's an interesting animal. A Hammer/Shaw Bros. co-production. The king of Gothic horror meets the king of chop socky. This lies at the tail end of Hammer's dominance in the horror genre (they had one more left before calling it quits) and right smack in the middle of SB's run of kung fu which lasted until the early to mid 80s. Hammer brings the face and sound of their best pictures, Peter Cushing and James Bernard (composer) with SB bringing the location and kung fu goodness. How could it possibly go wrong?

Well, Cushing's no stranger to playing Van Helsing but it sure feels like it here. He's lost any edge he previously had and he seems rather foppish and weak. That sucked. Bernard's score was great as usual. It's got naked damsels in distress and enough chop socky to fill a castle. The problem is there's not enough fun and horror to sustain even 83 minutes. It's very repetitive.

Christopher Lee reportedly turned down the role of Dracula which isn't surprising since he didn't have much face time. He's in the picture for a few minutes before assuming the body of a Chinese dude for the rest of the film. And the guy that played Dracula looked really out of place.

See? Wow. They could at least have found somebody that was in the ball park of Lee's looks or presence. I know it'd be tough but Jerry Lewis would have almost been better than the guy they chose.

Here's an interesting fact most people don't know: Julie Ege needs to have my babies!

After probably more than twenty years of hearing about this movie I'm glad I finally saw it and it lived up to the mediocre standard I was prepared for. With all of the right WTF elements at their disposal, I was hoping for more. Dracula, kung fu and 7 vampire disciples? That sounds like box office gold!

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