The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

General Information

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Writer: Don Houghton

Cast: Peter Cushing, David Chiang, Julie Ege, Robin Stewart, Shin Szu, John Forbes-Robertson, Robert Hanna, Chan Shen, James Ma, Liu Chia Yung, Feng Ko An, Chen Tien Loong, and Wong Han Chen

Composer: James Benard

Release Date: 7/11/1974

MPAA Rating: R

 

Overview

Assuming the visage of a Chinese warlord named Kah (Chan Shen), Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson) helps restore the power of the Seven Golden Vampires—a terrible cult now in control of an ancestral mountain village. While lecturing in The Legend of the 7 Golden VampiresChina, Professor Van Helsing—accompanied by his son Leyland (Robin Stewart), an heiress known as Vanessa Buren (Julie Ege), and a group of siblings trained in Kung Fu—is called on a mission to defeat the Seven Brothers and retake the stolen village, leading to a conflict with Dracula himself.

Inspired by the Kung Fu craze of the early 1970s, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is marred by haphazard genre mixing. Hammer/Gothic horror enthusiasts may therefore wish to avoid this film, which benefits only from the presence of Peter Cushing and John Forbes-Robertson.

 

Pros

The Legend of the 7 Golden VampiresThough lacking the rich basso voice of Christopher Lee, Forbes-Robertson offers a menacing performance as Count Dracula. (Hammer buffs may, of course, take issue with the limited screen presence of Forbes-Robertson’s Dracula, who, aside from his introduction in the prologue, appears only during a brief confrontation with Van Helsing at the climax of this film.)

 

Cons

With its over-the-top fight sequences, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires will appeal to fans of classic martial arts movies. By failing to include Peter Cushing’s The Legend of the 7 Golden VampiresVan Helsing in the majority of its action scenes, however, this offering struggles to maintain a balance between Kung Fu antics and old-fashioned vampire hunting.

Modern audiences may also condemn this film for its cheesy rubber bat props and slipshod makeup/gore effects, which undermine the credibility of the eponymous vampires—already weak and unimpressive compared to Dracula.

 

Analysis

The Legend of the 7 Golden VampiresIndicating that Eastern vampires fear the image of Buddha instead of the Christian cross, this film alludes to an interesting fact about vampire psychology—similar to Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, wherein vampires of Jewish origin, for example, display no aversion to Christian iconography.

 

Concluding Comments

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is a bizarre and underwhelming final chapter in Hammer’s long-running Dracula series. Notably, in spite of its topnotch choreography, this film suffers from poor production values and lackluster character moments.

 

Overall Quality: 3/10

 

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