Friday, April 1, 2011

Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires - The Review

¿Qué me ves, güey?

So last night I needed a change of pace. I've been trying to watch Arañas Infernales, but the music is hideously screachy. Instead I watched Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, and it was fun!

Chinese Vampire Kah...or is it Dracula?

The story is simple, but intriguing due to the blending of European and Eastern mythologies. Professor Van Helsing has fought Dracula several times in his past, and now had arrived in China to seek out the legends of Chinese Vampires. He attends a university and gives a speech on his interactions with the Living Dead only to be mocked. But one student is the descendant of the vampire slayer in the legend, and begs Van Helsing's help in ridding the golden masked vampires that plague his little village.

Legion of the Undead summoned by the Seven Golden Vampires

This is the only Dracula film in the Hammer Studios series where the Count is not played by Christopher Lee. From what I have read, after reading the script, he declined the role. I'm not sure if it's because he disliked the film, or because he only has about 5 minutes of screen time. I think it must be the latter, because this film isn't the most outlandish thing done by Christopher Lee or Hammer Studios. This film also marks the final time Peter Cushing plays Professor Van Helsing.

Studio: Hammer Studios
Run-time: 84 minutes
Year: 1974
Actors of note: Peter Cushing

Favorite Quotes:My favorite Lines definitely come from the trailer taglines:
"Black Belt against Black Magic in the greatest battle of all time!"
"You haven't seen KUNG-FU until you've seen The Seven Brothers and their One Sister battle against Dracula!"

The Ratings:
My rating system is out of five stars, and consists of six categories, then an overall score.

  • Story: The story is decent, and doesn't leave too many plot holes. I do question why Count Dracula is "trapped" underneath his castle home in the beginning of the film. Besides that, I like the fusion of genres, it's exciting stuff. Before this film, I don't think we have seen Chop Sake + Vampires. The only other film I can think of similar to this is Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters.
  • Bizarre Factor: This movie is bizarre! This was a weird blend, but that's also what made the story so unique for its time. I don't understand the golden masks of the vampires either, why? Also, why must the virgin sacrifices always be topless? Lastly, who doesn't love the phrase "The Seven Brothers... and their One sister meet Dracula!" as a tagline?
  • Horror: This movie has some neat melting undead effects, but Dracula's makeup is a little horrible. It's like Drag Queen Drac. Fortunately, we only see him for about 5 minutes. This movie won't make you wet yourself like Exorcist either.
  • Action: How can a kung fu vampire film not have tons of action? The only thing I question is why Van Helsing cowers during every vampire/undead duel? He was brought to these people to defeat them, why won't he pitch in?
  • Camp: Definite cheesiness with the voice-over of Dracula in the body of the Chinese Vampire. The kung fu is a little hokey at times, and the dialogue is kooky too. Again: "The Seven Brothers... and their One sister meet Dracula!"
  • Nudity: This film is pretty tame, the only nudity we see are Chinese virgin breasts during sacrifice scenes. No sexual situations, just bare chests.
  • Overall: I really enjoyed this film. I was impressed by this later era (1974) Hammer Studios picture. Obviously they were stretching to jump on the kung fu band wagon, but in this case I think it worked fairly well! 

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