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Whilst lecturing in Chungking at the turn of the 20th century, Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is asked by a poor villager (David Chiang) to help defend his community from a plague of vampires controlled by Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson).
Filmed on location in Hong Kong under extremely difficult circumstances, this Hammer/Shaw Bros. co-production attempts to meld the antiquated Gothic melodrama of Hammer's bygone glories with the new breed of kung fu thrillers which had recently been popularized by the worldwide success of KING BOXER (1971) - known in the US as 5 FINGERS OF DEATH - and, especially, ENTER THE DRAGON (1973). Roy Ward Baker (THE VAMPIRE LOVERS) took the reins from original director Gordon Hessler (THE OBLONG BOX) after only a few days, though his work was clearly hampered from the outset by co-producer Don Houghton's simplistic script, which describes events either in broad strokes or hasty scribbles, leaving most of the actors in disarray.
Cushing is urbane as ever, trading successfully on his established screen persona, but co-star Julie Ege (a former Bond girl) is merely decorative, while Chiang - an accomplished screen actor (also known as John Keung Tai-wei) whose work stretches all the way from STREET BOYS in 1960 to THE ADVENTURERS (1995) and beyond - is ultimately defeated by the English dialogue, which he's forced to deliver in a stilted, phonetic style. Robin Stewart (THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR) and Shih Szu are also featured as the juvenile leads, alongside hugely prolific actors Fung Hak-on (later a regular in Jackie Chan's movies) and Lau Kar-wing (an experienced performer and director in his own right).
Elsewhere, Forbes-Robertson does a fair impersonation of Christopher Lee in Dracula-mode, though his first on-screen appearance is almost ruined by a comical makeup design. Feeble special effects by Les Bowie, too. That said, however, the studio sets are appropriately vivid, and the widescreen Panavision photography (by John Wilcox and Roy Ford) makes a virtue of Johnson Tsau's atmospheric art direction - watch for the haunting image in Dracula's castle of ghostly shadows billowing softly on a multicolored wall just before the Count begins to stir from his coffin - and the fight sequences (arranged by veteran choreographers Liu Chia-liang and Tang Chia) are lively and energetic. "
Dracula in the East ... pretty neat idea!
Reggie Wu | Hsin Tien City, Taipei County Taiwan | 06/25/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"From the Hammer Collection. An original Shaw Bros. Film from HongKong. The DVD comes in 2 version, one on each side of the disc ( US release, and Asian release ). I watch this film when it was originally released in '74, the color redition is very good. The story is about Count Dracula in Transylvania who was trapped inside his castle when he was last defeated by Dr. Van Helsing. At that same instance in China, a Vampiric Cult which worshipped 7 vampires was also on the rampage. The cult ravage the village it was in by abducting women whom they literally kill to sustain themselves. A chinese peasant tried to save his daughter who too was abducted, but was too late to do so... in the process he killed one of the 7 vampire, but died in the process. The cult slowly desintegrated, and the monk leading the cult decided to seek help from ...guess who? Count Dracula in Transylvania. He travelled there, and found Dracula. And Dracula used him to escape his entombment in the castle. Travelling to China, Dracula took the role of the monk and revive the vampiric cult. At this time, Dr. Van Helsing ( Peter Cushing)and his son was in China giving a lecture on vampirism. He was only taken seriously by a student named Hsi Ching ( David Chiang ) who coincidentally was the descendant of the peasant who killed one of the original vampires. He believed in Dr. Van Helsing and wanted the doctor to help him eradicate the vampires now terrorising his village. The movie has some exciting Kung-Fu fight scene which have all-together disappear from the silver screen. This movie brings back some of those wonderful scene although unrealistic, but certainly worth watching. Unless you like old Kung-Fu shows, stay away from this one."
Kung Fu Count
Nicholas B. Stewart | Victoria, TX United States | 05/05/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Who knew the asian people had the same problems with vampires that we do. This interesting little film was an attempt on the part of the Hammer studios to cash in on the martial arts craze. In this vehicle Count Dracula (not Lee) Takes the form of an asian keeper of asian vampires (7 to be exact) all wearing golden masks. Dracula then goes to rule the vampires and havoc ensues across the country side. Van Helsing (Cushing in his last starring role for Hammer) is drawn by a young man's tale of vampires in his village. The young man and his brothers and sister all masters of the martial arts, put on a wonderful display as they guide Van Helsing and crew to the final showdown with Drac and his buddies. A must if you're a collector or just a little curious. AS ALWAYS... WIDESCREEN"
One Of The Best!
Curtdogg3 | Chicago, Illinois | 01/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a child my father took me to see this movie one Saturday afternoon in 1979 when it was released as The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula. This was the movie that put me on to the old school martial arts film with the fantastic special effects. Also being groomed by a grandfather who was an avid horror flick fan,I honestly say that you get the best of both worlds in one tremendously action packed film. I saw this movie when I was 6 years old and have been searching high and low for it for 20 years. This film is a definite must for anyone who claims to be a collector of movies such as Master Killer or the old fashioned horror film bfore they all became slash and gore."
Matt Martinez | Sherman Oaks, CA | 05/25/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I hadn't heard much about the film before I bought it, save for the following: vampires, zombies, kung-fu and... Peter Cushing!!! Combining all those elements together, I just knew I couldn't stay away from this movie! I went in expecting it to be extremely cheesy (like most Hammer films), yet extremely fun to watch (also like most Hammer films). Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Once again, Peter Cushing turns in a great performance as vampire hunter extraordinaire Professor Van Helsing."