Dracula versus Frankenstein (1971)

The action begins straight away, as Zandor Vorkov, playing the screen's worst - and I mean worst - Dracula, attacks and kills a man in a cemetery. His goal is to steal the Frankenstein monster's corpse and blackmail the last living Frankenstein into reviving the huge cadaver. Why? For revenge against humanity of course!!

And another thing ... Dracula wants access to Frankenstein's (here known as Dr. Durea) new, secret blood formula to give him invulnerability as well as eternal life. Fair enough, too, I'd say. But there's someone involved who's going to lay waste to the vampire's plans. A buxom Vegas showgirl looking for her missing sister who disappeared on Venice beach. It will soon be revealed that her sister was a victim of the mad Doctor Frankenstein and his maniacal henchmen, a dwarf named Grazbo and a giant named Groton.

Sound simple?

Well, just wait till you see it. Your jaw will be dropping at the speeches by Dracula and Frankenstein (a wizened J. Carrol Naish - a long way from the Universal horrors of the 30s/40s) which seem to run for about ten minutes, yet convey absolutely nothing for the plot! It's also an incredible collage of characters that seem to belong to other genres. It mixes bikers - one of them a sneering Russ Tamblyn - somewhat moved on from "seven brides for seven brothers" - Las Vegas showgirls, dwarves, mute giants, vampires, Frankenstein monsters, hippies, into the mix and throws them right at you.

Lon Chaney Junior appears in one of his last performances, which is a bit sad, really. He looks awful, chronic alcoholism bloating and distorting his features and throat cancer rendering him silent, as the mute henchman Groton, billed as "the mad zombie". You won't forget Naish as Durea/Frankenstein either, false teeth clacking, one eye reading his cue-cards as he speaks his lines. And the aforementioned Zandor Vorkov ... have you ever seen Dracula with an "afro"? You have now! And what's with the echo-chamber voice? Is Dracula chanelling someone from far, far away in vampire-land? You've got me. Regina Carroll does her best in her heroine role, but her main function is to be a victim for the monsters. Still, she holds her own in the scream stakes. But her highlight is the song-and-dance number. Keep watching and you'll have that song on your mind for weeks!

All in all, an entertaining little gem from start to finish. The first Al Adamson movie I saw. Schlock-meisters, enjoy!



© Boris Lugosi, 2001.