1 April 2001 | BaronBl00d
The Good Ole' Days
Ah! The 70's was a great time to be growing up a monster fan. Television stations that had little money would show cheap horror movies again and again. Now and then a few of the horror hosts would be around, or horror related shows like Chiller Theatre with its leprous fingers shooting out of the ground and greedily grasping the letters spelling the show's name. Good Times! I, like many of the reviewers here, saw Dracula Vs. Frankenstein at least a few times. There were scenes etched in my mind, most notably the pier and J. Carrol Naish in a wheelchair barking out orders to a grunting, balloon-faced Lon Chaney Jr. I didn't really remember much about the monster, or for that part Dracula, but I gave that up to youth and decided to watch this "classic" of Al Adamson's. Now, I have seen Adamson's work before and knew what to expect. I saw his Blood on Dracula's Castle and Nurse Sherri. They were both real cheap movies but I liked them a lot. So I figured same for this, especially since this one was a part of my cinematic past. Wow! Was I wrong!(guess you knew this was coming!) Dracula was not the only thing that sucked in this picture! This film is a tangled mass(mess) of various plot strands, corny dialogue, bad, bad, bad acting, cheap, cheap, cheap sets and props, worthless cameos by what would have been a great cast twenty years prior to its production, and a pretty feeble direction even by Al Adamson standards(We're talking LOW!) J. Carrol Naish(Yes, the great hunchback from House of Frankenstein) was in a wheelchair(this was his as well as Chaney's last film) playing a Dr. Durea(AKA Dr. Frankenstein) who runs a freak show on the pier in a carnival in California. Almost everything he says is preposterous, idiotic, and totally wooden. His performance is SO wooden, it is as if he were practicing for his casket. Chaney is almost as bad. He look terrible, and its not from make-up. He plays a mute that mumbles and breathes hard named Groton, who likes to cut the heads off of nubile young women with an ax and pet little puppies(an obvious homage/reminder of his performance as Lenny in Of Mice and Men). But wait! We have more has-beens to come. We have Russ Tamblyn as a biker and Jim Davis(with some of the worst one-liners in film) as a policeman. And of course we have Adamson's muse and love interest and wife Regina Carrol(looking as beautiful as ever) as a sister of one of the missing girls. Ms. Carrol actually gives the best performance of the film, except when she sings some interminable Las Vegas show number. Well it seems I have covered everything...wait, what about the two great monsters...the film is about them isn't it? I'm not really sure that is the case, but they are in the film in all their lack of glory. Dracula looks like he just got through teaching the sweathogs on Welcome Back Kotter, and Frankenstein's monster...well, he has definitely seen better days...and better movies. For me, aside from walking down memory lane and being reminded how bad film-making can be, the one real bright spot was seeing Forrest Ackerman in his cameo. He once told me how he did this film as a favor for Al, and how he broke his glasses during the shoot and was not paid for either the cameo or the glasses. Good times!