Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Legend of 7 Golden Vampires 1974

Wikipedia: "The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires was 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

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 six kung-fu trained siblings on a dangerous journey funded by a wealthy widow (Julie Ege). The seven golden vampires, however, are acting under the guidance of Count Dracula himself, masquerading as a mad taoist monk.

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." 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." 

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." 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."

"...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". 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."

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