Dracula Vs. Frankenstein

I saw this on Son of Svengoolie in the late 70's, but wasn't prepared for its greatness at that age. It's surprisingly watchable, considering the general oeuvre of director Al Adamson.

The lineup consists of three former A-Listers: Russ Tamblyn as Rico the biker, Lon Chaney Jr. as Groton the mute servant and J. Carrol Naish as Dr. Duryea. Angelo Rossitto, of 'Freaks' and hundreds of other films, plays the dwarven carnival barker. Forry Ackerman is Dr. Beaumont. The director's wife plays the female lead, and his accountant or something is "Zandor Vorkov" (phony name) in the role of Dracula. He's mostly famous for being the most inappropriate Dracula in the movies, and he does not disappoint in this regard. And the character named "Strange" (the Judge Reinhold-looking sidekick), is Greydon Clark, who goes on to direct Joysticks. What a cast.

The narrative is a little confusing until you understand the circumstances: Adamson made this as a semi-sequel to "Satan's Sadists", about a biker gang that happens upon a wax museum at the Venice boardwalk. The producer didn't like the finished result, so Adamson added the whole "Dracula vs. Frankenstein" angle. All of the scenes with Dracula and / or Frankenstein were shot in upstate New York with no money, nearly two years after the original film had wrapped. Most of the scenes with the bikers were omitted, and with the extra footage the film still runs a long 90 minutes. It would have been a better film in its original incarnation. But pacing aside, it's a good time, with the late-60's Venice Beach locations looking suitably grimy, and there's lots of gratuitous violence and a couple of titty shots.

Poor J. Carrol Naish has a foot in the grave: confined to a wheelchair, with one glass eye, and senile enough to not remember any lines, requiring cue cards. Lon Jr. is even worse, wrecked from decades of alcohol abuse and genuinely mute from mouth cancer. They're both a sad sight. This would be the last film either of them would appear in.

Also available on Netflix Streaming.

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