Dracula vs. Frankenstein

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Dracula vs. Frankenstein
Draculavsfrankposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAl Adamson
Produced byAl Adamson
Mardi Rustam
Mohammed Rustam
Samuel M. Sherman
John Van Horne
Written byWilliam Pugsley
Samuel M. Sherman
StarringJ. Carrol Naish
Lon Chaney Jr.
Anthony Eisley
Regina Carrol
Greydon Clark
Music byWilliam Lava
CinematographyPaul Glickman
Gary Graver
Edited byIrwin Cadden
Distributed byIndependent-International Pictures
Release date
September 20, 1971 (Los Angeles premiere)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Dracula vs. Frankenstein is a 1971 American horror film directed by Al Adamson. It was released as Blood of Frankenstein in the U.K. and was retitled The Revenge of Dracula on an early VHS release in the U.S.. Other U.S. re-release titles are Teenage Dracula and They're Coming to Get You.

Plot[edit]

Wheelchair-bound mad scientist Dr. Durea (J. Carrol Naish), the last descendant of the original Dr. Frankenstein, takes to murdering young girls for experimentation in hopes of perfecting a blood serum of his own creation with help from his mute, simple-minded assistant Groton (Lon Chaney, Jr.). Count Dracula (Roger Engel (producer Al Adamson's stockbroker) listed in the film's credits under the pseudonym "Zandor Vorkov") comes to the scientist, promising to help him revive the Frankenstein Monster (which he has exhumed from its secret grave in Oakmoor Cemetery) in return for Durea's serum, which he hopes will grant him immunity to sunlight.

As a cover, the duo work out of a secret laboratory hidden behind the Creature Emporium, a haunted house exhibit and a throwback to the old sideshow days located on the boardwalk amusement park in Venice, California. They bring the Monster (John Bloom) back to life and Durea sends him and Dracula out to exact revenge on the man who both discredited him and crippled him in a fire, Dr. Beaumont (Forrest J. Ackerman). Las Vegas showgirl Judith Fontaine has also previously arrived, looking for her missing sister Joanie (Maria Lease) who was last seen hanging out with a group of hippies led by Strange (Greydon Clark). Judith has gotten no satisfaction from Sgt. Martin (Jim Davis). She says she is going to investigate on her own and does so, attracting the attention of biker Rico (Russ Tamblyn) and his gang. Rico slips her some LSD at a dive bar with the bartender's help and Judith, while on a trip due to the drug, is taken by Strange and his girlfriend Samantha (Anne Morrell), who have just finished attending a protest, to the home of aging hippie Mike Howard (Anthony Eisley) who agrees to help her find Joanie. Judith, Mike, Samantha and Strange go to the Creature Emporium (which Joanie had been known to go to many times) and Judith shows Durea a picture of Joanie, asking her if he has seen her, but he says that he never has.

More girls turn up missing, the Monster kills a couple of police officers while trying to kill a girl for Durea's experiments and Groton takes to the beach with an ax and kills Rico and his gang who were attacking Samantha, then Groton takes her into Durea's laboratory through a trap door with a ladder that leads to the beach below the Creature Emporium. Judith and Mike go to the Emporium, discover the trap door and the laboratory and confront Durea, who explains that the girls who were killed (including Joanie, whom Judith finds preserved, naked, unmoving and seemingly neither dead or alive, in a glass-fronted box (with strategically-placed wide black lines on the glass that are over her breasts and vagina) in the laboratory, along with Samantha who is in another identical box, in a similar state of nakedness and immobility and also seemingly neither dead or alive) were frightened before their deaths and this created a special enzyme in their blood which is the main ingredient for his blood serum. He also tells Judith that, after he has Mike (with whom she has fallen in love and he with her) killed, her fear upon seeing Mike's death will help him complete the serum at last (it is implied, therefore, that she will be killed as well). Durea sends Groton and a dwarf named Grazbo (Angelo Rossitto), the ticket taker at the Creature Emporium, after the couple (Durea's original reason for creating the blood serum in the first place was to heal his crippled legs and to transform Groton and Grazbo into normal people). Grazbo falls through the laboratory's trap door (which was accidentally opened) to the beach and onto an ax that he had dropped beforehand while holding on to the ladder, which kills him, and Groton goes after Judith. Sgt. Martin and Strange arrive with the police and Martin shoots Groton from the rooftop of the building from which he falls to his death, while Durea falls from his wheelchair into a guillotine display in the Emporium while attempting to escape and is beheaded in it.

Dracula meets Judith, hypnotizes her and binds her with rope to a railing. He then confronts Mike, who shoves a lit car flare in the Monster's face, forcing him to briefly turn on Dracula in his pain. Mike unties Judith and they run away, but as they do so, Dracula blasts Mike with fire shot out from his one-eyed demon-headed ring, burning him to ashes.

Judith faints upon seeing Mike's death and slowly awakens to find herself bound with rope again to a chair in an abandoned and desecrated church in a wooded area outside of Venice where Dracula's coffin is located. Dracula is about to drink her blood and turn her into his vampire bride, but the Monster (who has fallen for her beauty) turns against Dracula and forces him out of the church and into the woods (but not before removing Dracula's ring from his finger before exiting the church), where a fierce battle ensues between the two monsters. Dracula literally tears off the Monster's arms and head, but gets caught in the rays of the sun before he can make it back to his coffin and slowly disintegrates into dust. Judith manages to free herself and sees Dracula's remains and clothing. She then picks up Dracula's ring at the door of the church, but, after a brief flashback of all that has happened to her before, drops it and flees in fear.

Cast[edit]

Lon Chaney, Jr. as Groton

Production[edit]

This was Lon Chaney, Jr.'s final horror film role and J. Carrol Naish's last film. Chaney filmed his part in mid-1969 when the film was titled The Blood Seekers. Naish filmed additional footage in 1970 when Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster were added to the story (in his confrontation scene with Dracula, he appears noticeably older).[1] Director Adamson's wife, Regina Carrol, appears in the film as Judith Fontaine, one of the people who discover the two title monsters.

Two other films titled Dracula vs. Frankenstein were made around the same time as Adamson's film. In 1970, Spanish horror film icon Paul Naschy starred in Los Monstruos del Terror which was later released on VHS as Dracula vs. Frankenstein. Meanwhile, also in 1971, famed Spanish schlock film director Jesus Franco turned out his Dracula vs. Frankenstein (also released as Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein), apparently unaware that Al Adamson was already using that title.

Reception[edit]

The film was met with negative reception from critics, with the most prominent critique being the overwhelming amount of darkness in the movie, making it hard to see the action.[citation needed]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD by Troma Entertainment[2] and later by Media Blasters under its Shriek Show imprint in widescreen and HD for the first time. Cheezy Flicks also released it on DVD as well.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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