The monk Kah (Chan Shen) travels to Transylvania to ask for count Dracula's
(James Forbes-Robertson) help to revive the 7 Golden Vampires, but Dracula
proves to be rather reluctant to do another man's bidding, & instead he
possesses Kah's body & travels to China himself to meet his brethren ...
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Meanwhile professor Van helsing (Peter Cushing) is in China himself & is
holding lectures about the clan of the 7 vampires that wreaked havoc in a small
Chinese village but were bound by a farmer (in a scene that looks like right
out of La Noche del Terror Ciego/Tombs
of the Blind Dead) ... but everyone in the auditorium just plainly
disbelieves him ... everyone but Hsi Ching (David Chiang), who turns out to be
a descendant of the farmer, & he wants to persuade Van Helsing to come with
him, his brothers (James Ma, Liu Chia Yung, Liu Hoy Ling, Ken Ko An, Chen Tien
Loong, Wong Han Chan) & his sister Mai Kwei (Shih Szu) to their village.
But the voyage seems to be doomed before it starts when the borhers appear to
lack funding for the expedition ... that is until Van helsing's son Leyland
'(Robin Stewart) arrives with beautiful Scandinavian actress Vanessa Burden
(Julie Ege) who is on the run from the local Triads, & finances the
expedition to make a swift getawaa.
On the journey, the brothers have opportunity to show off their martial arts
skills when they fight down a whole army of triad-fighters that strongly
On the further journey, tender romance develops between Mai Kuei &
Leyland, & His Ching & Vanessa.
However, their approach to the little village somewhere in the Chinese
hinterlands has not gone undetecte3d, as Dracula, in the sform of Kah, is
already busy waking up the Golden Vamps, & when our expedition takes
shelter for the night in some cave near the village they are attacked by the
vampires & their zombie hordes, but manage to kill 3 of the vampires &
chase off the zombies with their superior martial arts skills.
The next day they arrive at the village & try to secure it with trenches
& a field of stakes, but the battle proves brutal with most of the brothers
losing their lives, Vanessa being bitten by a vampire, Hsi Ching being forced
to stake the vampirized Vanessa, & after being bitten by her himself,
having to hurl himself into the stake too. & in the end, Mai Kuei is
abducted by the final survivor of the 7 Golden vamps ... but Leyland dashes to
the rescue, but in the end it's his father himself - an expert in staking
vampires for many years (& movies) - who stakes the vampire.
But then monk Kah appears & reveals himself as Dracula ... however, Van
Helsing, the expert, stakes him, too ...
In the 70's, when the markets for Hammer's traditional Gothic horrors
have run relatively dry, they tried to branch out into new territories (both
geographically & metaphorically speaking) without compromising their brand
formula too much ... & one such attempt was a collaboration with Hong
Kong-based production outfit Shaw Brothers, who were always looking for
cooperations with Western companies to boost their international appeal
(besides this movie, Hammer collaborated with Shaw Brothers once more on Shatter
with Ti Lung in the lead).
Unfortunately, this blend of Easternthe Gothic horror- & martial
arts-elements together (which do not really seem all that compatible in the
first place), so for large parts the viewer thinks he is plainly in 2 movies,
that are switched back & forth rather by coincidence. This does not make Legend
of the 7 Golden Vampires a good movie, let alone a masterpiece, but it
gives it a certain absurdist appeal. Bjut of course, the concept of vampires
& martial arts was immediately dropped by both Hammer & Shaw
Ironically, & in a total reversal of logic, today there is almost no
vampire movie around that doesn't feature at least some martial arts -
even more ironic (& absurd) is the fact that most vampire-movies are made to be action flicks - but
only rarely are they also horror movies.