Monday, January 04, 2010

Legend of the Dollar Store Cinema

One of my New Year resolutions for this year is to do at least one review per month of movies you probably shouldn't waste your time watching. I was doing it for awhile as "Dollar Store Cinema" as most of the movies came from the dollar store down the street. They were supposed to be horror films and some of them such as "Atom Age Vampire" were actually quite good. But writing/drawing comics took center stage and all the dollar stores in town dried up their movie sections, so I just sorta stopped posting reviews. But, recently I've managed to come across a few decent horror movies, so, until that well runs dry, I'm going to attempt to review movies at least once a month.

Up first..."The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires!"

"The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires" is a Shaw Brothers & Hammer House of Horrors coagulation that is quite good, in spite of a little less than spectacular fight scenes and an "it's suddenly over" ending.

After vanquishing Count Dracula, Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) apparently goes on a world-wide speaking tour where, while in China, is asked to do the same in a cursed village near Chung King. As it turns out, Count Dracula is behind the whole mess, though sadly not portrayed by Christopher Lee but rather a guy who looks like a toss up between Ceasar Romero and Unknown Hinson. In spite of it's few flaws, there was enough zombies...


...mood lighting and topless virgins to keep me interested.

The story would make for a good role-playing-game campaign. Julie Ege plays a wealthy widow who funds the excursion to vanquish the seven golden vampires who plague the village.

There are seven brothers and one sister who are, of course, martial artists and it's a good thing because not only do they defend Van Helsing, his son and Miss Ege from a band of brigands, but apparently Chinese zombies are also martial artists. Even though Count Dracula, who possesses the form of an evil Chinese priest, is kinda silly looking, the priest is creepy enough to make up the difference.

All things considered, it's a pretty good movie although it lacks a bit of what made both the Shaw Brothers and Hammer Studios great. To its credit, the movie was filmed entirely in China. I give it a solid two quarters (out of four obviously as four quarters make a dollar) as it was good enough to watch twice.