- Ax 2013
Dracula vs Frankenstein
Sam Sherman, Al Adamson, John Van Horne, Mardi Rustam (executive) for Independent International
directed by Al Adamson
starring J.Carrol Naish, Lon Chaney jr, Anthony Eisley, Regina Carrol, Greydon Clark, Zandor Vorkov, Angelo Rossitto, Anne Morrell, William Bonner, Russ Tamblyn, Jim Davis, John Bloom, Shelly Weiss, Forrest J.Ackerman, Maria Lease, Bruce Kimball, Albert Cole, Gary Kent, Irv Saunders, Lu Dorn, Sean Graver, Barney Gelfan, Gary Graver, Connie Nelson
written by William Pugsley, Sam Sherman, Frankenstein created by Mary W.Shelley, Dracula created by Bram Stoker, music by William Lava, special effects by Kenneth Strickfaden, technical advisor: Forrest J.Ackerman
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This movie is a bit convoluted, so please don't expect my synopsis to
make too much sense:
Dr Durea (J.Carrol Naish) seems to be doing nothing worse than running
a carnival sideshow, but he is really the last descendant of the
Frankensteins, and he is looking for the serum for eternal life, which he
believes he can extract from women in shock because htey have a changed
cell structure. So he sends his hunchback Groton (Lon Chaney jr in his
last, silent role) out to collect specimens for him.
Eventually, Dracula (Zandor Vorkov in ridiculously amateurish make-up)
pays him a visit, brings by the old Frankenstein monster (John Bloom) for
Durea to survive, and then offers to help him have revenge on those who
wronged him - especially one Dr Beaumont (Forrest J.Ackerman turning in a
In a loosely related story, Judith (Regina Carrol) is looking for her
sister, who has disappeared in the neighbourhood a month back, and soon
she and her boyfriend Mike (Anthony Eisley) find a trail that leads right
to Durea's sideshow ...
Then there's another subplot that concerns Samantha (Anne Morrell), who
has broken up with her boyfriend, the violent biker Rico (Russ Tamblyn)
... thing is, Rico doesn't accept the split, and to punish her, he tells
his gang to gang-rape her - but before they can do so, Groton stops by,
kills the whole gang single-handedly and then drags Samantha off to
Durea's sideshow. Somehow, Mike and Judith have picked up the trail of
Samantha and ultimately stumble upon Durea's secret lab, which leads to a
showdown in which both Durea and Groton are killed, thanks also to the
police under Captain Martin (Jim Davis).
Still, Dracula and Frankenstein's monster are still at large, and soon
enough, Dracula kills Mike using his magic ring that shoots energy beams.
Then Dracula and the monster abduct Judith because Dracula wants to shock
her and extract the cell structure for Durea's serum from her - but the
monster has fallen in love with Judith, so he and the vampire get into a
fight during which Dracula takes the monster completely apart, just like
Frankenstein had assembled him. Unfortunately though they fought out in
the open, and thus Dracula can't make it back to his coffin before sunrise
... and he evaporates to ashes.
Judith on the other hand can free herself and doesn't have to fear mad
scientists, their hunchbacks, monsters, vampires or even evil bikers
anymore because they are all dead ...
Somehow the movie sounds like several movies rolled into one, and
according to several reports, this was even the case: Originally, the film
was started as a biker movie and a sequel to Satan's
Sadists, in which Russ Tamblyn also played an evil biker. Later,
the whole biker story was dropped, but several of the already-shot biker
scenes were left in the movie to cut costs. Then the film was supposed to
be about a mad scientist looking for a serum that grants him and
his hunchbacked assistant immortality - most of this material is in the movie. Then
though it seems somebody had the brilliant idea to make the
wheelchair-bound scientist Frankenstein and bring in both the monster and
Count Dracula to make a film more in the mode of classic monster movies
... I have no idea if these rumours are actually true, but the film
certainly looks like it (and it wouldn't be the only time either director
Al Adamson would rearrange a film, for example he remodelled his
1965-effort Psycho a Go-Go
into 1972's Blood of Ghastly Horror).
As you can imagine, the film looks a little like a big and weird hodge
podge that can be easily dismissed as garbage - not at least thanks to
terrible dialogue, bad make-up jobs (especially concerning Dracula) and
truly stupid story ideas.
That said however, if you are a lover of trash cinema and like this
sort of movies for their shortcomings and incongruencies, you might
even find yourself loving this film ...