Thursday, August 20, 2015

Grindhouse Flicks: Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

Hey there teen gang and welcome back for Day 4 of Grindhouse Flicks. Well we've had some blaxploitation, a biker/satanist themed movie and a slasher/thriller low budget cult film. What are we lacking??? OoOo how about a Kung Fu film? But this can't be just any Kung Fu flick. No, it cannot. We need something to punch it up a bit. I know! Vampires added to the mix! Oh and Dracula as a main baddie but... we won't elude to his existence right away. Yeah, that will do nicely. This is Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.

Of course I am Christopher Lee...grr...rawr.

Hammer Films presents a trip to China vampire style!!! With director Roy Ward Baker (Don't Bother to Knock, A Night to Remember, Five Million Years to Earth and Asylum) and uncredited director for location Cheh Chang (Blood Brothers, One-Armed Swordsman, Crippled Avengers and Five Deadly Venoms) comes a Hammer Film of multiple alternative titles. My personal favorite is The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula. Sounds like they just dropped in for tea and biccies. Eleven English alternative titles for this puppy so this should be interesting.

Our film opens with a shaman of Chinese descent making his way to Castle Dracula in Translyvania with the burden of his quest. To take audience with Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson of The Vault of Horror, The Vampire Lovers, Nicholas and Alexandra, The Man from Nowhere, The Island of Adventure, Samson and Delilah and Room 36) and ask him to restore the power of the 7 Golden Vampires given the seventh one has been slain. With Dracula's power base the reigning vamps can be at full strength and rule over China once more from beyond the grave... or check in a psycho ward, whichever happens first. Dracula listens and makes his own demand of inhabiting the shaman/priest's body in order to leave the land and make it across China. Serious commitment there brohan!

Revenge of the three bean salad!

Meanwhile as luck or a clever plot device Professor Lawerence Van Helsing (Peter Cushing of The Horror of Dracula, The Mummy, Doctor Who and the Daleks, Island of Terror, Sherlock Holmes, Star Wars, Shock Waves and Top Secret!) is tending a lecture circuit to at a Chongqing University on the legends of Chinese vampires. The legends he speaks of is a village ruled and harassed by a cult following the immortal Golden Vampires. Apparently a peasant farmer lost his wife to the vampires and he trekked all the way on foot to their main temple. Finding several women strapped to tables to be fed on the farmer armed only with a pitch-fork (No boomstick for this badass) did battle with the vampires. Permanently losing his wife the farmer swiped a bat-like talisman off one of the vamps and high-tailed in outta there. Placing the talisman around a Jade Buddha he attempted to get the villagers to open the gates only to be fanged and drained. Still ballsy guy in my book. With the Buddha being consecrated or holy, the vampires cannot obtain the talisman.

Later Helsing is spoken to by a student Hsi Chang (David Chiang of Blood Brothers, Death Duel, Shaolin Handlock, Shaolin Mantis, Strife of Mastery and Once Upon a Time in China II) explains the legend is true and the man that defiled the vampire temple was his grandfather. While the vampires slumber the seventh moon of the year is almost upon this village. Chang asks for Helsing's assistance in dispatching this ancient evil. Helsing agrees and he and his son Leyland (Robin Stewart of Damn the Defiant!, Bless This House, Oliver Twist, Sweet and Sour, A Tale of Two Cities and Sons and Daughters) will join the battle.

Can they stop Dracula from making the Seven Golden Vampires whole? Will the village suffer? Can they be stopped?

A couple of notations for the movie at this time.

Christopher Lee was first approached to reprise Dracula again but he was less than interested with the script and passed so the torch was given to John Forbes-Robertson. This is the only Hammer film starring Dracula that the Count's name was not featured in the title. We got to hear a Wilhelm scream during the big fight in the village as Helsing chucked a zombie into a fire pit.

While this was supposed to follow directly after Scars of Dracula the continuity claims Dracula to have travel from Transylvania in 1804 and arrive in China in 1904. an entire century of which Dracula was in London, Germany and Transylvania so it does not match up with the rest of the Dracula Hammer films at all. Christopher Lee. Got a little sick of the servitors' tune which sounded like a combination of bumble bees trapped in a tin can, trumpets and tambourines.

Still quite entertaining and very challenging for an English production to the wire work, fight choreography and stunts via China. These days that is a walk in the park by comparison.

Eternal life does not excuse poor hygiene!!!