Monday, October 20, 2003

Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires

Dir: Roy Ward Baker, Chang Cheh, 1974

NEILL says:

'Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires' (AKA '7 Brothers Versus Dracula', AKA '7 Brothers and a Sister Meet Dracula') is a 1974 Hammer/ Shaw Bros. co-production in which Peter Cushing as Profesor Van Helsing teams up with a plucky band of martial artists and a busty blonde scandinavian woman to fight evil vampires and kung-fu zombies in rural China.

Now, anyone in possession of all their faculties would read the above description and think 'By Christ, that sounds like the single greatest film ever made!' And yes, by Christ, it does. The fight scenes are energetically choregraphed, the special effects are an endearing blend of laughable cheap fakery and genuine gruesomeness, and there are not one but several scenes featuring a bevy of naked screaming chinese virgins. A BEVY, I tell you.

It is with a heavy heart then that I must inform you that it is not, in fact, the single greatest film ever made, by Christ. In fact, it's all a bit dull. There are several problems with the script, foremost amongst which is that no-one involved seems to have actually bothered to write one. It takes a rare blend of perseverance and determination to make a movie about kung-fu vampires and naked screaming chinese virgins and actually make it dull, and the writer here has pulled off the trick with applomb. The screenplay is credited to 'Don Houghton', but in fact this is merely a clever anagram for 'Don't Thug No Ho', a fact which I think speaks for itself.

To see the true entertainment possibilities inherent in kung-fu vampires, I would refer you to the 1985 Ching-Ying Lam / Ricky Lau classic, 'Mr Vampire', which may not boast Peter Cushing, but in its defence actually IS the single greatest film ever made. By Christ.


Buy on Amazon:
The Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires [1974]

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