I love the 1974 flick titled Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (or possibly the 7 Brothers Meet Dracula if you're more familiar with the shorter version with some alternate editing.) I'd been meaning to see this flick for awhile (after hearing Ben and Dan talk about it on the Mondo Movie podcast), and recently I got a chance to sit back and watch the very odd pairing of two cult movie studios, Hammer and the Shaw Brothers. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, how exactly do you mesh kung fu and horror? I was skeptical too, but after watching it I have to say that these two go together like chocolate and peanut butter.
I don't have a ton of experience with either studio's work though I have seen a few films by each and I've really liked everything I've seen so far. Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires was Hammer's shot at trying to breathe some new life into the studio, aiming to cash in on the burgeoning popularity of kung fu cinema in the 70s. The film was written by Don Houghton (who had penned some episodes of Doctor Who as well as a few other Hammer films) and directed by Roy Ward Baker (who was also part of the Hammer stable of creators), though it's also been noted that Shaw's most prolific and well known filmmaker Chang Cheh also worked on the film.
We get the basic gist of what's to follow as Kah, a Chinese monk on a quest, begs Dracula to help him awaken the legendary seven golden vampires so that he can take control of a province in China. Dracula refuses, and instead decides to take over Kah's body and so that he himself can return to rule over China and eventually the world.
Honestly this film should be a horrible disaster as right off the bat there are a ton of conflicting story holes, not to mention that the film relies heavily on the films that have come before it, but I still couldn't help smiling with glee throughout the whole thing. The insanely colorful lighting, the corny dialogue, the interesting though pretty sub-par effects work, it all mashes up into a wonderful hour and a half of crazy monsters and fun kung fu action...
Peter Cushing reprises his role as Professor Van Helsing, though this time he's traveling through China in 1904 in hopes of enlightening the local Universities with his knowledge of the undead. What surprised me a little was how much Cushing wasn't doing, action-wise. If there was one thing that I noticed about Cushing's performances in the other Hammer films I've watched (Curse of Frankenstein, the Horror of Dracula, Hound of the Baskervilles and Night Creatures), it is how amazingly action packed his roles have been. When chasing down Dracula, the man is jumping on tables, running and tumbling everywhere, so different from his turn as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. In Lo7GV Cushing pretty much kept to the background as soon as any fights broke out (of course, he was 61 or so at the time, but still.)
What's kind of weird is that this whole movie sort of negates Helsing's battles with Dracula in the other Hammer films, as the character supposedly disappeared from Transylvania in order to travel to China to awaken the seven golden vampires. Even though there are giant plot holes, this is still one of the most enjoyable vampire flicks I've ever seen.
I'd been meaning to see this flick for awhile (after hearing Ben and Dan talk about it on the Mondo Movie podcast), and today seemed like a great day to sit back and watch the very odd pairing of two cult movie studios, Hammer and the Shaw Brothers. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, how exactly do you mesh kung fu and horror? I was skeptical too, but after watching it I have to say that these two go together like chocolate and peanut butter. … more
Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires is such an awesome film. How can you go wrong when you have Roy Ward Baker, Chang Cheh and the Liu brothers all working on a film together? This film has everything, the eeriness of a Hammer film with the red paint spraying, bone crunching action scenes of a Shaw Brother's flick! Peter Cushing reprises his role as Professor Van Helsing who's in China to prove the legend of the Seven Golden Vampires. After a lecture he finds someone who actually believes in the … more