“Dracula vs. Frankenstein” (1971)
Studio: Independent International
Starring: J. Carrol Naish, Lon Chaney Jr., Anthony Eisley, Regina Carrol
Directed by: Al Adamson
Running Time: 90 min.
Synopsis: Dracula teams up with Dr. Frankenstein and helps him bring back to life his monster.
This Independent International film directed by Al Adamson where Dr. Frankenstein runs a funhouse at a carnival by day and then by night has Lon Chaney Jr. go around decapitating women and bringing them back to his secret lab. There, the doctor reattaches their head to their body and brings them back to life. Later on, Count Dracula shows up with the body of Frankenstein’s monster and has gives the doctor a proposition. He’ll help him bring back his monster and get revenge on the other doctors that stopped his work only if the doctor will come up with a formula for Dracula that will make him immortal to everything. Meanwhile, a singer is looking for her missing sister (who is one of the doctor’s victims) and stumbles across the funhouse when she gets a tip from her sister’s friends that she used to go there. At the end, the singer meets up with Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, and is caught in the middle with the battle between the two horror icons.
This is a film that I heard about for years and saw numerous trailers and scenes. When I finally did get to see the film it was kind of a disappointment. First off the film doesn’t live up to its title. Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster are hardly in the film and for the most part are working together the majority of the movie. It’s not until the end when the monster suddenly turns on Dracula and they battle it out. And the battle is pretty lame. The two of them fight outside just before dawn. Dracula rips the monster’s limbs off and destroys him. Then the Count tries to rush back to his coffin before sunrise but doesn’t make it. On the DVD they have an alternate ending which is even worse. The two of them are on the boardwalk of the beach with the singer. Her boyfriend tries to rescue her from them. He blinds Frankenstein’s monster with fire and he goes after Dracula. The Count then zaps the monster dead with his ring. The singer and boyfriend jump in a car and drive off but Dracula jumps in front of them, gets hit, and is hurled in the air only to get impaled on a pole.
Most of the film features the singer, her boyfriend and their friends, Dr. Frankenstein and Lon Chaney Jr. I figured Chaney’s part was going to be very short, but there’s actually a lot of him in the movie. The film has a cool vibe and look to it, but the whole story could have been better. Parts of the film that stood out were the creepy funhouse, Lon Chaney as an ax-wielding maniac, the trip-out scene where the sister enters a club looking for her sister and someone puts acid (like LSD) in her coffee. She starts to trip and flashes of different scenes show her running on the beach, stuck in a big spider web, people laughing at her, etc. Also, one of the most famous scenes of the movie is when Famous Monsters’ own Forrest Ackerman makes a cameo as one of the doctors that did Dr. Frankenstein wrong. Ackerman is confronted by Dracula and then is attacked by the monster.