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The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires -

If its appearance in this thread is of any indication, the Hammer Dracula series ends on an odd note. In addition to swapping Transylvania and London for Hong Kong, Christopher Lee is out and John Forbes-Robertson is in. While strange, one word I wouldn't use to describe it is boring. If your assumption is that it's basically a Dracula movie with Kung Fu, you're right (and if you raise an eyebrow at this, do you hate fun or something)? Drac is indeed in a remote village in China on a quest to restore the titular septuplet to its former glory. Unfortunately for him, Van Helsing is in the country as a visiting professor. With the aid of son Leyland, Hsi Ching - one of the few locals who believes in vampires - a cadre of soldiers and wealthy mission financier Vanessa, they hope to purge the village of its pesky vampire problem.

Those who are interested in this movie for being a Shaw Brothers production first and foremost will be satisfied because there are plenty of fight scenes and they're all up to the studio's standards. Thankfully, there is no retroactive continuity that makes the Van Helsings Kung Fu experts. They hold their own in other ways, particularly in a scene involving a torch. I also approve of how delightfully gross our villains and their henchmen look, especially for how they deflate and crumble to dust when they die. Also, Peter Cushing, as he always does, adds legitimacy to every scene he's in, which must have been especially challenging this time given the unusual premise. As for Forbes-Robertson, he's not in it for long, but I like what he does with Dracula, so much so that I wish Hammer could have let the actor play him one more time.

While I complimented the action, I don't approve of how one-sided it is. Im talking Steven Seagal one-sided. In other words, it's hard to believe the golden vampires are legendary because they're pretty much pushovers. I did complement Cushing and Forbes-Robertson - David Chiang's Hsi Ching is also quite good but I don't have much good to say about Julie Ege's Vanessa. Despite one surprising moment, her standard expression is one of disinterest. None of these flaws prevent the movie from being one of the most fun entries in the series, though. When the classic abrupt freeze frame and title display at the 85-minute mark, you're bound to lament that it's the final Hammer Dracula movie whether you've seen them all or if this is the only one you've seen.

My guy (or gal): I know, it's a Jack Palance winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar choice to make, but for all he's done for the series, Van Helsing earns it.