Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966)

BILLY THE KID VERSUS DRACULA (1966)
Article #1668 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-8-2005
Posting Date: 3-7-2006
Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring John Carradine, Chuck Courtney, Melinda Plowman

Dracula impersonates the uncle of a beautiful ranch owner in order to turn her into a vampire. However, outlaw Billy the Kid is working on the ranch, and begins to suspect his intentions.

Neither this movie or its companion piece (JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER) are considered classics, but this one is generally considered something of a camp classic and the other is considered a tiresome bore. Actually, this one would probably be considered a tiresome bore as well if it weren’t for the presence of John Carradine, who had last assayed the role of Dracula in two Universal movies from the forties. It is his hamming that adds the needed spark (and the inadvertent laughs) to the movie, and it’s hard not to giggle when the camera gives us close-ups of Dracula’s glowering but baggy eyes. Actually, the cast is also a little bit more game here; Virginia Christine is having fun as the immigrant woman who knows a vampire is on the loose, and it’s nice to see old serial star Roy Barcroft as a sheriff. The main problem here is the blandness of Chuck Courtney as Billy the Kid; his performance is singularly lacking in fun. The movie does manage to work up a bit more western-style action in the opening scene than its companion piece ever did as well. The big question is: is the bat wearing a top hat or not? It’s really hard to say; in some scenes it appears so, but since we really don’t get a good look at it (which is probably a good thing), it may only be an illusion caused by the angle from which it was shot. Still, you probably wouldn’t want to bother with this one unless you’re looking for laughs.

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