When you hear Shaw Brothers Studios you automatically think amazing martial arts action. When you hear Hammer Film Productions you automatically think amazing horror. Well back in 1974 these two studios got together to make one of the best films ever made, in my own humble opinion. That film is called The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires. It was a dream come true. The studio behind such classic martial arts films as 5 Element Ninjas, Five Fingers of Death, and The Boxer from Shantung were going to be teaming up with the pioneers of British horror. Hammer had put out some of the best horror films in the world at that point featuring the classic characters of Frankenstein, The Mummy, and even Count Dracula. Now we would see these two studios combine for what was sure to be one for the ages.
Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires takes place in 1904. Van Helsing has traveled to China to give a speech about vampires. The little town he is in is not far from the village that was home to The Seven Golden Vampires. It’s a local legend that Van Helsing believes to be true. The legend tells the tale of a farmer who after his wife was killed by a group of seven vampires went after them armed only with a pitchfork. The farmer steals a winged medallion from them and places it around the head of a Buddha statue outside the village. When the vampires hunt the farmer down and kill him one of them grabs the medallion but bursts into flames and is killed. Van Helsing believes that 6 of these creatures still live but he does not know how to find the village they are told to be from.
Van Helsing meets a young man named His Ching who tells him that the vampires are in fact real and that the farmer who stole there medallion was in fact his grandfather. Ching now possess the medallion and along with Van Helsing and seven of his relatives travels to the fabled village to destroy the remaining six vampires. Now not only are these vampires also trained in the martial arts they are being led by the one and only Count Dracula.
What follows is one amazing and might I say bloody martial arts fight after the other that take place in some of the best settings I’ve seen in both horror and martial arts films. It’s simply amazing how these two genres were able to mesh so well together. The simply over the top fighting styles that Shaw Brothers was known for combined with the violence and blood of Hammer was a marriage made in heaven so to speak. Its definitely the best film either studio produced in the 70s, that’s my opinion.
The film is a cult classic to say the least. In fact if you collect Horror or Martial Arts films there is a good chance you have a VHS of this laying around. Well now Scream Factory has gotten their hands on it and look out because it looks like it was made today. The transfer is simply breathtaking to say the least. All the outdoor settings (which is basically 90% of the film) look amazing. The sound transfer is fantastic as well. Shaw Brothers films always had the loud wind like slapping sound when fists and feet flew and you can hear it loud and clear from your surround sound. It’s even loaded with special features.
NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements
NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck
NEW When Hammer Met Shaw – An Interview With Actor David Chiang
NEW Kung Fear – An Interview With Hong Kong Film Expert Rick Baker
Alternate U.S. Theatrical Version – The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula (In HD With Some Standard Definition Inserts)
You can’t go wrong with Kung Fu action and vampires. It’s a formula that I am shocked is not continued to this day. This really is one of the great films of the 70’s, if not all time. Nothing I say can do this justice. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!