The Legend of 7 Golden Vampires

There’s a wonderfully on-point scene in The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, a co-production between Hammer Studios and Shaw Brothers, in which Hsi Ching (David Chiang) and his seven kung fu-trained siblings, including the only sister, Mei Kwei (Shih Szu), hop into the camera’s frame as they display their weapons against the oncoming Tong attackers which permanently lives rent free in my brain. 

Especially when Kewi reveals she’s actually sporting two knives.  Perfection.

"there’s an imbalance here which is ultimately the film’s undoing"

The pan, probably the work of co-director Chang Cheh, is a well-timed shot which opens the story from its gothic trappings to kung-fu in mere seconds and sets the stage for the latter-half action scenes as Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) makes his way toward rural China where Kah, a Taoist monk and the high priest of the Temple of the Seven Golden Vampires who has been body-hijacked by Dracula (played by John Forbes-Robertson), awaits.

The group is his protection along the way because, traveling with his son Leyland (Robin Stewart) and a wealthy widow named Vanessa Buren (Julie Ege), the lengthy journey is going to be beyond treacherous . . . especially with the golden vampires on the loose.

With Bruce Lee opening all sorts of doors for martial arts movies in the West, it made perfect sense for Run Run Shaw to reach out to Hammer Studios, the home of British Gothic Horror, and see if a deal could be made for a co-production between the two.  Mixing Kung-Fu with Gothic horror?  Shaw Brothers had done it before with some of their supernatural offerings, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, the co-production sells both companies short on what they do best and the mix doesn’t always work.  That’s not to say that The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires isn’t entertaining.  Seeing Cushing talking vampire lore to a group of students as a guest lecturer at a Chungking university is pretty pitch-perfect.  We even get a fun, flesh-filled flashback to a village attack by the golden vampires which is all sorts of neon-lit fun.  Apparently, Dracula just wants topless babes for his sacrifices!

We have kung-Fu, horror, sweet skeletons rising from the earth, and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.  What more could we ask for in a flick that sees Dracula bearing fangs AND fists of fury?!  Things get really groovy when the golden vampires are brought to their untimely death (again!!) and start to disintegrate right before our eyes.  The effect is pretty strong and works to add a bit more gothic creepiness to the now-established kung-fu tone.The Legend of 7 Golden Vampires

So, what’s not to like?!?! 

Well, not many folks speak highly of the venture.  The film’s credited director, Roy Ward Baker, thinks the film is a total mess.  Unsure of the partnership, he let Chang Cheh, who is uncredited, direct all the Kung-fu stuff and busied himself with the gothic horror shenanigans.  The divide is clear and makes for an absolutely uneven watch.

Much of The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is a total B-grade romp through rural villages with some surprise attacks from hopping zombies and gold-faced vampires.  These scenes are pretty cool and the new 2K scan of the original film elements that Scream Factory unleashes with this release works to deliver the hypnotic goods. 

But there’s an imbalance here which is ultimately the film’s undoing.  This East-meets-West film might be too over the top for some Hammer Hounds and way too talky for fans of Kung-Fu, but that doesn’t keep it from being totally watchable.

Feel the terror.  The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is back on the shelves thanks to Scream Factory for this, its HD debut.

3/5 Fists


The Legend of 7 Golden Vampires

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- April 9, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

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!


The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires arrives on Blu-ray from Shout Factory sporting an HD remaster sourced from the original 35mm camera negatives and looks as good as this film is going to look.  Interiors are strong.  Neons are strong and the colors pop throughout.  It’s full of great atmosphere thanks to the quick-footed script and looks visually eye-popping due to the 1080- upgrade.  Black levels are pretty strong throughout, bringing out nice details in both the loud and quiet moments of this co-production.  Even the costumes are noted stitch by stitch.


A Mono 1.0 PCM track is what you get with this release.  It’s pretty quiet, too.


Featuring some cool supplemental items, this release does NOT contain the original ShawScope opening or the “Dracula And The 7 Golden Vampires” title card.


  • See Special Features for the breakdown.

Special Features:

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck
  • NEW When Hammer Met Shaw – An Interview With Actor David Chiang
  • NEW Kung FearAn Interview With Hong Kong Film Expert Rick Baker
  • Alternate U.S. Theatrical Version – The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula (In HD With Some Standard Definition Inserts)
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spot
  • Still Gallery

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade 3/5 stars

 Film Details

The Legend of 7 Golden Vampires

MPAA Rating: R.
89 mins
: Roy Ward Baker; Cheh Chang
Don Houghton
Peter Cushing; David Chiang; Julie Ege
: Action | Horror
Hammer Horror! Dragon Thrills
Memorable Movie Quote: "I need your mortal coil, i need the form of your miserable carcass. I need your vile image. I need to walk this Earth again, free from these walls, free from this mausoleum."
Theatrical Distributor:
Dynamite Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 1979
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 9, 2019
Synopsis: In China, Professor Van Helsing helps eight kung fu-trained siblings reclaim their ancestral mountain village, now the domain of seven powerful vampires and their army of undead slaves.


The Legend of 7 Golden Vampires