The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

DIRECTOR: Roy Ward Baker
CAST: Peter Cushing, David Chiang, Julie Ege, Robin Stewart, Szu Shih, John Forbes-Robertson

For its penultimate horror film, Hammer Studios teamed up with Hong Kong-based studio Shaw Brothers to combine the gothic conventions of a Hammer Dracula with the then-wildly popular kung fu movie. Although the results are patchy, this is by no means the mess one would expect.

On the negative side, Christopher Lee refused to appear as Count Dracula, so the honour went to John Forbes-Robertson. The make-up is embarrassingly poor, and under bizarrely inappropriate lighting, he looks like a pantomime villain. Another clear problem is that since the whole film is set in the Orient, and the vampires' main method of attack is kung fu, Van Helsing doesn't have a clue how to handle them. Consequently, he spends most of the movie quite literally standing on the sidelines while the martial arts experts tackle the baddies. It is rather a sad ending for Cushing's traditionally strong, heroic professor.

However, the movie boasts some very fun special effects, some exciting fight sequences and not a few genuine scares. The zombie-like hordes are particularly eerie.

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David L Rattigan 2005
 

 

 

 

 

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