Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971)

Dracula (Zandor Vorkov, actually stockbroker Roger Engel) teams up with the last of the Frankensteins (J. Carrol Naish) to do some undefined evil stuff with blood serums and the resurrected Frankenstein Monster (John Bloom). Meantime a Vegas lounge singer (Regina Carrol) is searching for her missing sister, who got axed by Frankenstein's "Mad Zombie" (Lon Chaney Jr.) so she could serve as experiment fodder. Somewhere in there is Russ Tamblyn as the leader of a motorcycle gang, Jim Davis as a grouchy cop, and Anthony Eisley as a clean-cut hippie hero.

It's actually much more incoherent than this brief synopsis can communicate. The movie started out as The Blood Seekers, then became Satan's Blood Freaks to capitalize on director Al Adamson's successful biker slick Satan's Sadists (hence Tamblyn's presence in a throwaway role). When the funding partners were less than happy with the results, Dracula and the Frankenstein monster were added to the mix, more footage was shot, and the title was changed to Blood of Frankenstein. Then it was decided that the ending was terminally lame and, with almost no money left, a new ending was shot at an abandoned church in New York state, justifying the Dracula vs. Frankenstein title. It is no wonder the finished product looks like a bunch of unrelated scenes dumped in a defective blender. It was.

Yet here, over 30 years later, we're still watching it and talking about it. Especially over at The Bad Movie Report.

Troma has ported over the Roan Group's deluxe laserdisc treatment with wonderful results. The film looks great, and the audio is strong and clear, if not exactly demo quality. The initial menu is a keeper, too the navigation titles are on the left, as a trailer plays on the right.

First, you have your theatrical and TV trailers (one each). A "Behind the Scenes Gallery" of 26 photos, unfortunately framed in a drive-in screen and slightly distorted, or they might have been amusing. "Producing Schlock" is a well-edited eight minute featurette of an interview with producer Sam Sherman with quick clips from his and Adamson's movies. "The Mystery of Dracula's Ring" reveals how the ring which gets almost as much screen time as Tamblyn came to be created by famous Hollywood custom jewelry maker Ruzi.

"Deleted Scenes" contains the initial cuts of Regina Carrol's LSD freakout scene and the mandatory laboratory scene (featuring the machines of electrical props master Kenneth Strickfaden), the extended version of Famous Monsters editor Forry Ackerman"s scene, and the original ending, deemed too lame for release. Also the 8mm test footage Sherman shot of the church, which helped convince Adamson to set the new ending there (yes, there are bats in the belfrey).

Then there is Sam Sherman's commentary track, which is quite wonderful and informative. Sherman is an entertaining speaker, and only lapses into silence a couple of times, apparently watching the movie. Occasionally, the background audio of the movie is mixed too loudly and threatens to overpower Sherman's voice, but that's fortunately a rare occurance.

I don't know about you, but I'm always delighted when a picture this marginal is afforded so many extras.

Dr. Freex, 7/24/2002