Tuesday, 9 April 2019


LIKE MANY HAMMER FILM and Peter Cushing fans, for the last few years, I've both a mental and physical 'wish list' of movies, |I have hoped would some day, get the remastering blu ray treatment. I am very happy to now look at my shelves and see most of those titles have not only received a re-release and remaster, but also 98% of them have been blessed with a remastering, quite beyond my expectation! It's wonderful to see many Cushing features, that for years looked destined to never be seen again, the way I had once watched them in the cinema. It took quite a while, with the arrival of DVD's to weed out the duds, and not fall foul of a 'bootlegged home made burned copy of a years old TV recorded copy of a VHS recording' to a legit marketed commercial DVD copy to arrive. For quite sometime, we were very happy with DVD quality, and then the sometimes sparkling definition of a BLU RAY! Could it ever get any better. we asked? 'Oh, Yes . . .', said the distributors, 'Take a look a this!' The REMASTERED 1080p high definition Blu Ray.... can be at times, quite thing of beauty. Sometimes if the copy house gets it wrong though, it can also become a never ending chorus of lethal barbs, personal opinions and wrath, at forums and internet groups. 

THANKFULLY, that has not happened too often with Cushing films. There will always be the wish and bucket list, of people who have high expectations and yet low funds and shallow pockets. The remastering process is an expensive business and in the current lolly-no-lolly climate, things tough. Though there will always be, the customer who also expects, a perk! Some of the better remasterings, have arrived without any extras. No new documentaries, no galleries of images and rare stills.. but the quality of what it offers on the label, is very, very high. The FILM is a knockout! And with that, I am happy to share that, SCREAM FACTORY has delivered a VERY nice release, that meets the standard we have come to expect and a much needed and very entertaining package of extras too, for a film that has been on THAT 'Wish List', for quite sometime . . .    

I AM NOT GOING TO BORE YOU with the story, plot details and 'CHOP' of Hammer films and Shaw Brothers, THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES. If you are a Cushing, Hammer or Horror film fan, you WILL know the plot like the contents of Famous Monsters Of Filmland, Issue ONE or page six of Alan Franks excellent, 1976 edition of The Movie Treasury of 'Monsters and Vampires!' If seeing Cushing play Van Helsing in a more traditional sense, rather than in 70's swinging London, as in the outstanding remasters from Warner Brothers of both 'Dracula AD 1972' and 'The Satanic Rites of Dracula' However, if you NEED the plot, you may find a PCAS feature, with that and a whole skip full of stills, RIGHT HERE and HERE!.

AND SO TO THE LINE, that is the divider or decider in such releases as this. A title now arrives on blu ray, that most parties or individuals will probably already own and may have in several formats, purchased and added to those creeking shelves, over the years. The question: Is THIS release an improvement and worth parting with your hard earned lolly? The ANSWER is certainly! I have found over the years, it is the past reputations of such companies as Shout / Scream Factory, that will define if fans are going to cry, 'Once Bitten, Twice Shy' having been stung with past purchases, where the excitement and anticipation of a blu ray release worth having, following lots of promotion and word of mouth, sinks faster, after the opening credits than a trout with belly full lead! Scream Factory has an excellent record and this release again puts the seal of approval on they give what they promise. This release is 2.35:1 anamorphic and SCREAM FACTORY'S transfer presents visually a real bonus, to anyone who has seen the film before, and experienced not too sharp an image, to put it bluntly! The 50GB disc is an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer. Having said that, some would consider the transfer to not quite be of reference quality. AT LAST we can now see, what is happening CLEARLY, CRISPLY! Nothing that I could see in my TWO viewings of this release, dropped from an excellent clarity, a viewing of this film, I had never seen before. Blurring, sudden softness of what two seconds ago was a sharp image, with solid contrast of a shot, filmed in shadow, can be a real distraction, if seen too often while enjoying your recent purchase. 

WATCHING THIS RELEASE was full of visual surprises. Details in costumes, actors expressions and of course, the fight scenes, was a real treat! The transfer brings out so much detail compared to previous releases. The audio is DTS-HD MA Mono. The levels are clear and for some might hint at being TOO clear! All dialogue in Seven Golden Vampires, was created during ADR. It was very common practice in the industry in Hong Kong at this time, that little if anything that was recorded during production was used in the final theatrical release, everything was dubbed in post. So it's very fair to say, the levels are well balanced is free of any obvious or noticeable hiss problems or distortion. James Bernard's excellent score has never sounded better! Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

REGULARS TO HERE AT THE PCAS website and the PCASUK FACEBOOK FAN PAGE will not be strangers to the work of BRUCE G HALLENBECK. As well, as writing and publishing several very good books on Hammer and Amicus films, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and many many others, Bruce has also contributed several exclusive features and series about Cushing, Hammer / Amicus and many of Cushing's supporting casts and characters for this website. You find links to many on the right column of this site! Bruce contributes and narrates a very entertaining feature on this SCREAM FACTORY release. Lots of new factoids and details about Hammer films, the history of why Hammer made a 'Vampire / Kung Fu' features at a time when Hammer had long left his Dracula role and how it almost didn't get made, as Warner Bros threatened to pull their money, unless Dracula was included in the film. Well done, Bruce! 

A FEATURE WITH AUTHOR RICK BAKER, is also here if you have an interest in Kung Fu Cinema. 'KUNG FEAR' does a nice job of sharing the background of Hammer's partners in making 'Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires' The Shaw Brothers. Baker who is author of several books on Hong Kong cinema shares his knowledge while 'Golden Vampires' co star David Chiang gives a neat little interview, with memories on working on the film and Peter Cushing! Also included is the 75 min 'alternative' edit of the film, re-titled 'The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula'. It's minus much of Cushing's Van Helsing footage and anything that didn't have the minimum at least five chops or three foot sockings! Interesting!


Scream Factory's REMASTERED Blu Ray release of Hammer Films 'The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires' is a very nice and long awaited addition to my little collection. It's fabulous to watch Cushing in his last outing as Van Helsing, Julie Ege, Chiang and Robin Stewart are a great support also. John Forbes- Robertson is very entertaining to watch in a 'Hong Kong' swing of Dracula. Complete with THEIR nod to his make up and style, it answers the question of, what would a Dracula not played by Christopher Lee, in a Hammer film, look like! THIS release gets a BIG thumbs up and thank you from us all at PCAS!. .


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