This was released in 1974 at the height of the Kung Fu craze and I only saw it a few nights ago at a midnight showing-- and I have to say I loved it.
"This is the greatest movie I've ever seen."
Keep in mind, I'm sincere when I say this, I get that it's not KANE or even SHAWSHANK-- those movies work on an intellectual level that make them truly great-- this one works on a just entertain me level.
It makes no sense. It's a ton of fun. If you are offended be topless females you might want to skip it, there's no reason for it other than they were trying to appeal to older teen males hooked on the idea of Kung Fu fighters taking on Dracula.
And it's got an elderly Peter Cushing giving it is all, doing a lot of the stunts himself and really throwing himself into the fire (literally). It did make me wonder why Cushing turned down John Carpenter when he asked him to take the Dr. Loomis role in HALLOWEEN just a few years later-- that is a far better movie in terms of writing quality-- and I'm disappointed that Christopher Lee turned down the chance to play Dracula in this because that would have really knocked this one out of the park. Lee was Dracula for most of the Hammer films and his absence is missed.
All right-- here's the story-- a chinese servant makes his way from China to Transylvania on foot to warn Dracula that the seven vampires he's guarding need his help. I think the year is 1804 which makes not a lot of sense but remember if you try and reason with this one you're going to lose. So Dracula decides to skip out on his crypt by taking the form of the Chinese servant and taking his place in China. This could be the reason Lee opted to pass, Dracula spends 90% of the movie as the Chinese servant.
Once there Dracula heads up the vampire clan-- and the vampires are pretty amazing-- the costumes seem straight out of Worcester House of Discount Bling Bling, with gaudy gold masks and large bat ornaments hanging around their stomachs.
The vampires also have an army of stumbling zombies at their disposal who are called out whenever the vampires attack.
Meanwhile as luck would have it, 100 years later Professor Van Helsing is teaching in China at a prestigious university where he tries to convince the students that vampires do exist. One of the students approaches him and asks for his help to find the 7 vampires.
That's all you need to know-- along the way they are attacked by various vampires and Kung Fu zombies and it just don't get any better than that.
Fun, perfect Halloween film, finally re-released on DVD in a three pack along with DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1965) and FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN or something like that. I've not given that one not much attention yet.