Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The Legend of The 7 Golden Vampires (AKA The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula)(1974)
Easily one if the greatest ideas to come down at our workplace. Every Tuesday one of my workmates/work friends has "Crafts Club" where people come together and knit and generally craft. (Full disclosure: I don't have a craft I just go and hang out). Anyway, one of my other workmates was talking about his childhood and how when he was young he remembers going to the movies and seeing this when he was younger. And actually being really frightened by it. Then recently catching it on television and just realizing how, well, not to put to fine a point on it, how awful it was. Well, thats all we needed to hear, so we arranged to watch it for the next Crafts Club, and so here we go. One more aside, its weird to watch something like this with the head of HR around-there was actually some surprise upper-body nudity in here that my coworker either forgot or forgot to mention. A little embarrassing, but our theory is that she missed it because she was knitting.
At any rate, this is one of those films that, while no means a real classic, whatever that means, it is a movie that makes me want to seek out more of what it contains. It was actually a co-production between Hammer Films and the Shaw Brothers. You can tell too, because it combines two things in their wheelhouse: kung-fu and vampires. Its the story of how Dracula takes over the form of a Chinese "man" who heads up the Seven Golden Vampires of the title that have been tormenting a small Chinese Village for years. We meet Van Helsing, played here by Peter Cushing (who pretty much owned the role), teaching in China about the vampires they have in the countryside. No one seems to believe him except for one young man from the village that is tormented by the vampire. He gets Van Helsing, his son, and a English Countess to come with him and his brothers and sisters to their village to defeat the Vampires once and for all. It is an economical 83 minutes long, and even then there is a lot of exposition, and its not like the battles or anything super fantastic. But there is a certain goofy charm to the proceedings, which you sort of can't go wrong with. Its pretty much only going to be entertaining to people that are already super into genre films, or, like here, with a group of people ready to have a good time. One thing that did stand out was definitely Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, the vampire hunter. Someone like him or Christopher Lee can really sell the hammy goofiness of something like and watching him work was actually a delight. I now want to see more! You know, for what it was, a semi-clumsy bringing together of two types of genre movies...well, it could have been worse, I suppose. (One thing I thought was funny or interesting was Van Helsing telling the brothers (and sister) how in Europe Dracula could be warded off with a crucifix, but in China a statue of Buddha works just as well.)