Dracula Vs. Frankenstein
Reviewed by Ken Begg
Rating: 9 Beans
irector Al Adamson, recently found murdered and buried in his basement, is well known to connoisseurs of 1970s Bad Movies. As was typical for Adamson, known for constantly reworking his movies to turn them into 'new' films, this flick went through a number of evolutions.
First it was meant as a sequal to Adamson's Satan's Sadists. Then a mad scientist subplot was added, including the humiliating casting of horror genre vets J. Carrol Naish and Lon Chaney Jr., who in better days had co-starred in Universal's House of Frankenstein. Finally, Naish's Mad Scientist character, Dr. Durea, was belatedly changed to become the (yet another) last descendant of Dr. Frankenstein.
This is revealed by none other than Count Dracula. It turns out that Durea/Frankenstein's work, dealing with killing young women to create some kind of blood serum (this is all EXTREMELY hard to follow), when perfected will allow Dracula to live in sunlight, and then he could conquer the world or something. As a bonus, Dracula has found the comatose body of the Frankenstein Monster. After Frankenstein zaps life back into it, the Monster (wearing what is absolutely the all-time worst Frankenstein Monster make-up ever) is used to wreak revenge on those who betrayed Frankenstein and put him into a wheelchair (including Famous Monsters of Filmland chief Forrest J. Ackerman!).
Meanwhile, Judith Fontaine comes looking for her sister, a victim of Frankenstein's. This involves her in the local hippie/beach scene, from which Frankenstein and his mad henchman Groton (Chaney) cull their victims. Ultimately, most everyone major is killed except Judith, who stumbles around in horror, no doubt ancitipating her next starring role in an Al Adamson flick (since she's played by the then Ms. Adamson, Regina Carrol).
Highlights includes 'actor' Zandor Vorkov (!) as Dracula. Imagine a thin Frank Zappa, complete with beard. Dracula here boasts horrible white shiny make-up on his face, although his hands and arms are quite tan. Also, his voice is processed through an echo chamber (!), for 'spooky' effect, although none of the film's characters ever mention this (!!); the LSD 'freak-out' scene when humiliated featured player Russ Tamblyn (!) slips Judith some acid; Dracula's goofy deathray ring, and the fact that whenever he uses it, the film freeze frames so that they can animate in cartoon raybeams; the 'groovy' hippie fashions, even worse than usual here; the equally bad '70s music, horribly contrasted with stolen themes from the classic Universal monster movies; the lab equipment provided by Ken Strickfaden, who created it for the original Boris Karloff Frankenstein movie; the Dragnet-styled tough cop; the 'dwarf falling down a ladder and landing unconvincingly on the axe' scene; the scene where Frankenstein falls victim to the guillotine from his none-too-scary haunted house exhibit; and the final, poorly lit and barely visible title bout, basically a rip-off (literally!) of the 'Black Knight' scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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