Friday, November 14, 2008

Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974).

The Scoop:
It's a vampire movie! It's a kung fu flick! It's two bad '70s films in one!

What a shame it is when great movie franchises die -- and even a greater shame when the movies keep getting released after all the creative breath goes out of the franchise. This was the last film in Hammer Studios' great Dracula series (which started with "The Horror of Dracula" in 1958). In an attempt to come up with new ideas, the studio teamed up with legendary Hong Kong producers the Shaw Brothers and moved the action to China, where Dracula hooks up with an ancient band of ninjas. So, Van Helsing hires his own band of fearless kung fu fighters to oppose them.

The legendary Christopher Lee wisely opted out of playing Dracula this one last time (John Forbes-Robertson does the dishonors instead), but his long-time screen nemesis Peter Cushing wasn't so lucky.

While this may be a co-production of two legendary genre studios, the problem with "Legend of the Seven Golden Vampries" is that it doesn't even approximate the best work of either one of them. The combination of half-hearted Gothic horror and cheesy kung fu theatrics (complete with poor dubbing!) make this one of the strangest movies you'll ever see.

Best Line:
"In Europe the vampire walks in dread of the crucifix. Here it will be the image of the Lord Buddha."

Side Note:
The film was heavily re-edited and released to the American grindhouse circuit under the title "The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula." Many Hammer purists swear that this ruined the pristine artistic vision of the original, but really, this thing was doomed creatively from the start.

Companion Viewing:
"The Horror of Dracula" (1958) and just about any Hong Kong film you can find that has "Shaolin" in the title.

British Horror Films.

Take a Look:
The grindhouse trailer:

Good thing the fight scene is taking place near a bunch of convenient wooden spikes!

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