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THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES ($30) is something of an oddball title from the Hammer library of films. This film was a Hammer / Hong Kong co-production that mixed elements of a horror movie with those of a martial arts film. Pardon the pun, but except for Peter Cushing (and a few other Hammer holdouts) everybody was Kung Fu fighting in this film. The plot of THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES takes Professor Van Helsing to China, where he is lecturing on vampirism and the occult. Van Helsing takes an interest in a particular Chinese legend that tells of seven golden vampires that terrorize village of Ping Kwei. A young native from that particular village offers to guide Van Helsing and his party to the village where they encounter Professor's long time nemesis Count Dracula. THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES is actually quite entertaining thanks to Roy Ward Baker's assured direction that captures the Hammer style, while making sure that the marital arts sequences don't overwhelm the horror. In addition to Peter Cushing, the cast of THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES also includes David Chiang, Julie Ege, Robin Stewart, Shih Szu, Chan Shen and John Forbes-Robertson.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has made THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES available on DVD in a good looking Letterboxed transfer that restores the film's 2.35:1 theatrical framing. However, the presentation does not contain the anamorphic component for 16:9 wide screen televisions. THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES has a detailed image and the colors offer respectable saturation. The film element displays an occasional blemish, but is otherwise quite satisfying. Digital compression artifacts were seldom detectable.

The digital monaural soundtrack was satisfactory. Considering that a lot of the dialogue has been dubbed into English, the soundtrack sounded reasonably good, although there were some variations.

The interactive menus are fairly straight forward, offering the standard scene selection feature, plus the story of THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES narrated by Peter Cushing. While time codes are absent from the disc, Anchor Bay has also seen fit to include THE SEVEN BROTHERS MEET DRACULA. THE SEVEN BROTHERS MEET DRACULA is a badly assembled shortened version of THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES. Its inclusion should be considered a novelty supplement for the DVD and not a replacement for the uncut film. In fact, viewing THE SEVEN BROTHERS MEET DRACULA before the uncut version may make one to skip the entertaining main attraction. Consider yourself warned.





DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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