Blu-ray Review: The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (aka The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula) was directed by Roy Ward Baker from a screenplay by Don Houghton and stars Peter Cushing, David Chiang, Robin Stewart, Julie Ege and John Forbes-Robertson. The movie was produced by Hammer Film Productions and Shaw Brothers Studio.

Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robinson) meet again in this spectacular Kung Fu horror thriller set in the village of Ping Kuei. After learning about the seven golden vampires of the village, Hsi Ching (David Chiang), Vanessa Buren (Julie Ege) and Mai Kwei (Szu Shih) offer to guide Van Helsing and his son to Ping Kuei to free it from the curse of Count Dracula. Throughout their journey, the group encounters several unwanted attackers until they arrive at the golden vampires’ derelict temple, inhabited by Count Dracula. In the temple, Van Helsing and the count begin a fearsome battle to the death – an ultimate clash between good and evil! 

Black belt against black magic! Hammer’s 1974 kung fu horror spectacular follows Kah, a Taoist monk who finds Dracula’s castle in Transylvania and when the Prince of Darkness awakens, the monk asks for his help to restore the fading power of the Seven Golden Vampires back in China. Dracula accepts the request on the condition that he take on Kah’s body so he can leave his home that has become a prison to him. Kah is an unwilling participant but Dracula takes over his body anyway and heads to China. Enter Van Helsing who joins forces with seven brothers and their sister on a quest to locate and fefeat the bloodthirsty Seven Golden Vampires that are claiming victim after victim.

They’re also accompanied by Van Helsing’s son Leyland and Vanessa Buren, a wealthy widow who finances the mission. Van Helsing and the brothers are attacked several times along the way by some of the vampires and their undead army but with each ambush they come out on top. The mission finally leads the team to an ancient temple so they can battle it out with what’s left of the vampires and their indead army and this is where Van Helsing finally comes face to face one more time with his old nemesis who ultimately takes his real form as they do battle. The dangerous mission is a success and once again good triumphs over evil but it’s not without sacrifice because just about everybody gave their lives in the final battle. Only Van Helsing and a few others survive the trip.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork for the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate.The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires has been given a new 2K scan of the original film elements. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires was a fantastic mashup between the horror and martial arts genres and I had a blast with it. This co-production between Hammer and the Shaw brothers is a one of a kind entry because there’s nothing else like it out there. We still get the same old plot of good versus evil with Van Helsing battling it out one more time with Dracula but now there’s a Far East element inserted with the addition of martial arts and it all comes together just right. The movie is action-packed with well-choreographed martial arts and stunts plus it has the horror vibe going on thanks to the two iconic characters, Van Helsing and Dracula. There’s also some creepy cool makeup effects and a little blood to go with it. When I was doing a little research for this one I discovered why Dracula was played by a different actor (Christopher Lee had left the role) plus this entry was the ninth and final film in Hammer’s Dracula series. If only Lee would’ve stuck around for this one. All in all, this ended up being a really bizarre entry in Hammer’s classic catalogue but it’s also one of my favorites because it stands out from the rest. The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires will be available in its original uncut version when it makes its Blu-ray debut on April 9th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: Uncut Version – 89 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, two new interviews, the alternate U.S. cut of the movie, two theatrical trailers, a TV spot and still gallery.

  • NEW Audio Commentary with author/film historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck
  • NEW When Hammer Met Shaw – an interview with actor David Chiang – The actor talks about working with Peter Cushing and his experience working on the movie. (06:38)
  • NEW Kung Fear – an interview with Hong Kong Film Expert Rick Baker – Talks about his childhood fascination of the movie as well as his love for the Hong Kong films. (19:39)
  • Alternate U.S. Theatrical version – The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula (in HD with some standard definition inserts) (75 Minutes)
  • The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula Trailer (02:36)
  • The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires Trailer (02:54)
  • TV Spot (00:31)
  • Still Gallery (06:26)
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