When The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974) was first released in North America, it was drastically re-edited and released as The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula. This review relates the Seven Brothers version, but builds on a previous review (see here) of The Seven Golden Vampires version.
Seven Brother Meet Dracula was butchered during the re-editing process. The film contains huge numbers of continuity errors. Characters that start out across the room from each other are suddenly face to face in the next shot. These aren’t blink or you’ll miss it jumps. Some of them are very obvious. Usually studios have ‘continuity’ people who are professionals in avoiding precisely these types of errors. Who ever supervised ‘continuity’ for the Seven Brothers edit clearly had no clue what they were doing.
The time-line within the plot is now scrambled. At the beginning of the Seven Brothers version, Dracula arrives at the Chinese village, revives the 7 golden vampires, and chaos ensues. Shortly thereafter, one villager has the courage to face the vampires. He manages to kill the seventh vampire, albeit at the cost of his own life.
Slightly later, in the Chinese City of Chungking, Doctor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is told by Hsi Ching (David Chiang) that the villager who destroyed the seventh vampire was his grandfather. Since Hsi Ching is an adult, this implies the 1 ½ – 2 generations have passed.
This introduces at least two problems. First, when Van Helsing and company finally arrive at Hsi Ching’s village, there is no indication of this kind of time-lapse. In fact, the supposedly human Priest of the Seven Golden Vampires hasn’t aged a bit, yet nobody seems to have noticed. Second, If Dracula has been in this small Chinese village for the past 30-40 years, who was Van Helsing fighting in Transylvania only a few years back?
At least The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires was coherent. It was by no means a masterpiece, but it wasn’t Plan 9 From Outer Space either. Unfortunately, the movie’s reputation seems to be based on the Seven Brothers cut, not the the Seven Golden Vampires cut. This is presumably because it was the Seven Brothers version that was released in American theaters in ’74.
Thanks to its abysmal editing, Seven Brothers looks cheap, feels amuturish, and has an a plot that makes little sense. See the uncut version.
Rated R. Contains partial nudity and much explicit violence.
No local libraries have copies of Seven Brothers Meet Dracula. Neither do local blockbusters. However, if you are able to purchase either of the Region 1 (US and Canada) Anchor Bay DVDs of The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, (there is a standalone edition and a double feature set with Frankenstein Created Woman) the Seven Brothers Meet Dracula cut is included as a bonus feature.