Christopher Lee had just turned fifty and was no longer interested in playing Dracula - even though Lugosi had first played the role at age 49. The last gasp for Hammer's Dracula was The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974), the infamous co-production with Hong Kong's Run Run Shaw and the first 'kung fu' vampire film. It really isn't a bad film, but Lee is replaced as Dracula by John Forbes-Robertson in a sort of pantomime makeup that makes him look more like an old queen than the king of the vampires.
Beautiful Julie Ege, who had just starred for Hammer in Creatures the World Forgot, was the obligatory blonde this time, but uncharacteristically, she doesn't survive and becomes a vampire. At least she looks fetching in fangs before being staked. Cushing is back as Van Helsing and he holds the picture together as best he can.
The action scenes are good, as is James Bernard's score, and there are several lovely (and topless) Asian victims for the seven vampires (plus Dracula) to sink their teeth into. The lead actress, Shih Tzu, was cast more for her martial arts skills than her acting ability. Suffice it to say that she did all that was required of her, but the whole affair was a rather inglorious end to Hammer's Dracula cycle.
Hammer's mistresses of Dracula, however, ended up changing vampire films forever. We still see their descendants in television series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood, and in major film franchises such as the Twilight series. Indeed, in Hammer's 2010 film Let Me In, Chloe Moretz portrays a modern-day, teenage version of Carol Marsh's Lucy…in fact, she could very well have been little Tania, victimised by Lucy and now a ferocious vampire herself.