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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "7 Golden Vampires" or "Seven Golden Vampires: The Last Warning" or "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires"

or "The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula" or "7 Brothers Versus Dracula" or "7 Brothers and a Sister Meet Dracula" )

 

Directed by Roy Ward Baker, Cheh Chang (uncredited)
 UK | Hong Kong 1974

 

Black Belt vs. Black Magic

Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robinson) meet again in this spectacular kung fu horror thriller set in the village of Ping Kuei. After learning about the seven golden vampires of the village, Hsi Ching (David Chiang), Vanessa Buren (Julie Ege) and Mai Kwei (Szu Shih) offer to guide Van Helsing and his son to Ping Kuei to free it from the curse of Count Dracula. Throughout their journey, the group encounters several unwanted attackers until they arrive at the golden vampires' derelict temple, inhabited by Count Dracula. In the temple, Van Helsing and the count begin a fearsome battle to the death an ultimate clash between good and evil! Presented here for the first time in high definition is Hammer's original uncut version. It was released in the US in an edited version called The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula, which is also included here in high definition as a bonus feature.

***

In this strange but fun genre hodgepodge, Prof. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is up against seven rotting vampires clad in gold masks. They were revived by Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson) at the behest of a Chinese priest in 1804 and a century later are terrorizing the village of Ping Kuei. One of the locals attends Van Helsing's lecture in Chungking and enlists the vampire-hunter, his son, and a pretty heiress (Julie Ege) in ridding the village of its curse. There's a lot of skillfully handled martial arts swordplay, hopping vampires, and more blood than usual before Cushing gets to run Dracula through with a spear. It's an interesting mix of Shaw Bros. martial-arts and Hammer gothic that doesn't always work, particularly with Forbes-Robertson's tarted-up Dracula apparently lingering way too long at the makeup table, but it's enjoyable enough for a rental. This was, sadly, Hammer's last Dracula film, despite plans to pit the vampire and Van Helsing in India the following year. Anchor Bay's widescreen video release contains both the original film and the hopped-up 75-minute 7 Brothers Meet Dracula, which played in American grindhouses.

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 11th, 1974

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Review: Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:29:02.916         
Video

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,787,655,286 bytes

Feature: 19,209,295,872 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.01 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1995 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1995 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Shout! Factory

 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,787,655,286 bytes

Feature: 19,209,295,872 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.01 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck
NEW When Hammer Met Shaw An Interview With Actor David Chiang (6:38)
NEW Kung Fear An Interview With Hong Kong Film Expert Rick Baker (19:40)
Alternate U.S. Theatrical Version The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula (In HD With Some Standard Definition Inserts 1:14:58)
Theatrical Trailers (2:36 / 2:50)
TV Spot (0:31)
Still Gallery (6:26)


Blu-ray Release Date:
April 9th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Shout! Factory transfer the Hammer Studios /Shaw Bros. co-production The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires to Blu-ray from a "NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements". It's on a dual-layered disc in 1080P. It can look a shade inconsistent with some weaker visuals, usually in terms of contrast, as well as some impressive gel-tints and shadow detail. It is in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and looks clean in-motion with a small amont of depth. Colors are rich but there isn't much texture. On my system it looked very pleasing but it's obvious the appearance was compromised by the production variances. The HD doesn't accentuate this and most will accept and appreciate the presentation's uniformities. 

The audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono track in 24-bit and the film's many effects carry some depth via this rendering. The film features another wonderful score by
James Bernard (Plague of the Zombies, Dracula Prince of Darkness, These Are the Damned, Across the Bridge, The Curse of Frankenstein)  adding tension, mystery and intensity. It's one of the better ones for this genre. There are optional English subtitles on this Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Shout! Factory add a new audio commentary by historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck (author of Hammer Fantasy & Sci Fi: British Cult Cinema by Bruce G. Hallenbeck) and he does a fabulous job in relaying details, reading relevant interviews and exporting anecdotal stories of this strained production. New, also, is the seven minute When Hammer Met Shaw an interview with actor David Chiang with subtitles. More new content is Kung Fear a 20-minute interview with Hong Kong film expert Rick Baker who talks about The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. It was appreciated that Shout! Factory included the alternate 1 1/4 hour U.S. theatrical version The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula - in HD with some SD inserts. It can look quite inconsistent but watchable and a fun time although a real hack job on the original feature. There are theatrical trailers, a TV Spot and a stills gallery of photos and posters.

This is not premium Hammer but its has a lot going for it in terms of enjoyment - make-up and costumes are often overdone. I enjoyed the heck out of it and forgot the weaknesses. The Shout! Factory
Blu-ray transfer supports the film and the extras, including an informative commentary and the alternate version make this a must-own for more than Hammer aficionados. Absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

    

Distribution Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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