THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES (1974)
posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Roy Ward Baker

Starring:
Peter Cushing ... Professor Laurence Van Helsing
David Chiang ... Hsi Ching / Hsi Tien-an
Julie Ege ... Mrs. Vanessa Buren
Robin Stewart ... Leyland Van Helsing

Country: UK |Hong Kong
Runtime: 83 min
AKA: The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula,
Seven Golden Vampires: The Last Warning,
7 Brothers Versus Dracula,
7 Brothers and a Sister Meet Dracula
 

Although I am not a big fan of the Hammer Films I can see their appeal. With this one the appeal is like burnt toast or spam. I wanted this to be the one that opened the doors to future Hammer flicks, instead it has helped nail the door shut. The story is about a hidden village in China terrorized by (you guessed it) seven golden vampires. Dracula heads the outfit. Peter Cushing as Van Helsing heads an expedition to eliminate the threat.

The story opens with a long haired evil monk making his way to Dracula’s castle. He ruled his village with the power of the seven golden vampires but now they no longer walk the earth but sleep instead. He needs Dracula’s help to awaken his sevenfold army. Dracula instead takes control of his body and posits himself at the guy’s village, now the new leader of the vampires.

The golden vampires have bumpy faces with thick golden masks (which leave the mouths free) and long haired wigs. They wear black robes with like a ten pound golden vampire-bat medallion hanging from their necks. They live with Dracula in a seven storey Chinese type house. Within the main chamber there is a very large cauldron with boiling blood. Around the cauldron are seven closed coffin like planks where topless Chinese women victims can often be found screaming during an evening of blood drinking. The golden vampires, once fed, wait for Dracula to bang his gong (I’m not kidding) and unleash them upon the village.

It’s 1904 and Helsing, while visiting China catches the attention of Hsi Ching. Ching is a descendant of a farmer who died at the hands of the seven golden vampires, in the cursed village. Ching has seven brothers, each an expert in one of the martial arts, and a beautiful sister, who also knows how to kick ass. By expert in Martial arts he actually means they all fight bad karate but carry cool weapons like spears, maces, battle axes etc... He convinces Helsing to join him to hunt the vampires. Helsing’s son Leyland and Ms. Buren tag along.

The first battle breaks out in a deserted country road as our party travels. After a decent, and not to exciting battle the seven brothers make short work out of the ambushers. Later, while resting in a cave they are attacked by the vampires themselves and they manage to kill three of them and the others bolt, scared off. The fighting again is simple and repetitious. By the next morning Ms. Buren has abandoned her shirt which has grown soiled and now displays her ample bosom in a white tank top. This is very good my friends, and some topless Asian boobs make the film easier to swallow. The zombies (yes I also forgot to mention that the undead are also under Dracula’s control) rip shirts off women twice. Why they didn’t expose Ms. Buren when they had a chance frustrates me. I must add that the zombies and vampires’ rapid decomposition once dead is very nicely done. They had a mediocre budget but the decomposition was fun to watch.

After victory over three of the vampires the party hopes to finish off the other three and of course Dracula himself. (The first golden vampire was killed long ago by Ching’s grandfather.) Closer to Dracula’s Chinese Lair they decide to build a trench with sharp sticks to hide and wait for the vampires to come. I think it was done better in The Lost Boys. The vampires come again with undead backup. There is yet a third simple and repetitious battle scene with a few exceptions. Ms. Buren is bitten and turns into a vamp and in turn bites Ching who impales her and himself realizing that he is doomed to drink the blood of the living. Some (or all) of Ching’s brothers are killed and the beautiful sister who also knows how to kick ass gets her ass abducted by a golden vampire. Leyland Helsing, who has developed a romance with Ching’s hot Chinese sister goes after her like a madman. I tell you, he’ll still be hungry later!

Ok, once on the ground floor (lair/ceremony room) of the seven storey Chinese house another, shorter, battle ensues and the rest of the vampires fall. Now as soon as this happens EVERYONE exits, leaving Helsing senior alone to wander about and encounter Dracula. Why leave the old man alone? Have the rest of the good guys forgotten or are they unaware that Dracula still lurks here? Ok, but it gets worse. Are you ready for this ? The final battle between Helsing and Dracula lasts...twenty seconds! Wait, there’s more. Dracula’s decomposition scene which I am so fond of lasts a minute and thirty five seconds, more than he fought (lol)!

This movie was fun, very stupid, and at times kind of lame. I would recommend it if you like the Hammer films or if you want to endure a bad movie.

  - Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

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