DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1971)
Article #184 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-16-2001
Posting date: 1-30-2002
The evil Dr. Durea performs horrendous experiments in the laboratory inside his house of horrors in an amusement park using the decapitated bodies supplied to him by his subhuman assistant Groton. He is actually Dr. Frankenstein, and is approached by Dracula concerning an experiment to revive the Frankenstein monster.
This is not the Paul Naschy film THE MAN WHO CAME FROM UMMO under one of its many alternate titles; this is the one from Al Adamson, himself no slacker in coming up with alternate titles for his work. I consider Adamson as something of an heir to Jerry Warren’s throne, with his tendency to take existing movies and add new footage to them, with the difference being that, with the exception of VAMPIRE MEN OF THE LOST PLANET, most of the movies Adamson tinkered with were his own movies. If the movie sounds like a mess, it is: the original version of this movie had no Frankenstein or Dracula in it. He added those characters afterwards, and tried to tie it in by bringing back Regina Carrol and J. Carrol Naish to do a few scenes with Dracula (Zandor Vorkov) and the Frankenstein Monster (John Bloom) who I’ve given the name of Ol’ Lumpy. Lon Chaney Jr. is hard to watch as Groton, playing another one of those mute brutes of his, and J. Carrol Naish doesn’t fare much better, though at least they gave him dialogue; this would be the end of the line for both of these actors. Angelo Rossitto is also on hand, as well as Russ Tamblyn, Anthony Eisley, and Forry Ackerman as the first victim of Frankenstein’s monster. Zandor Vorkov may be the worst Dracula I’ve ever seen; he has curly black hair, a white face (not pale, but white) and red lips, and all his lines are spoken through an echo box.
I will admit that I have uses for this sort of movie; being a puzzle fan, I do like to try to sort out which footage belonged to the original movie and which was added later; this movie was fairly easy in that regard. But I’ve never been a fan of the mean-spirited and cruel streak that runs through Adamson’s work; I always get the sense I’m supposed to either enjoy or get some aesthetic satisfaction out of watching his characters suffer, and I never do.