14 October 2002 | Golden_ninja
A Fun Schlocky Horror Film
I first saw this film on the Elvira mistress of the darkness show (sort of like the Joe Bob Briggs thing on TBS). I was about 5 or 6 when I saw it and like many of the movies I saw on that show, it left a permanent imprint in my brain so I had to buy it and watch it again.
Now that I have seen it again, I must say that it is still a lot of fun despite being a really terrible movie. The reason this one works and plays as a fun/bad movie instead of a bad/bad movie is because of it's pacing. It moves from scene to scene very quickly and most scenes have something funny or exciting going on. It never bores or wears out it's welcome.
The story makes almost no sense. something about a descendent of doctor Frankenstein making a blood serum and killing people but not killing them. I could not decipher it at all. There is also count Dracula running around with the Frankenstein monster and using him as sort of a henchmen. I think this all ties together somewhere but I did not see more than a small connection.
One of the funniest things about this movie is the fact that Dracula looks just like Frank Zappa. Another great thing is the way the Frankenstein monster looks. his head is all misshapen and looks like it is about to explode. You have never seen Dracula or Frankenstein look so wacky and the strangeness of the way they look adds to the films originality.
This movie has lots of hilarious sequences.. lots of hippie subculture stuff and a cool psychedelic nightclub dancing scene. The Violence is pretty tame even for the time (nothing like an H.G. Lewis movie for example) so even those with weak stomachs will not be offended by it. It's a fun goofy movie, but not really shocking at all.
The overall production quality of the movie is a mixed bag. Some of the lighting in is truly unforgivable. There are scenes where it is so dark that you can barley make out any shapes. On the other hand, the direction is pretty competent, at least Adamson never slows the pace down long enough to bore anybody and there is nothing amateurish about the way he handles the scenes. He knows all the tricks to keep the budget down and he uses them liberally while still managing to keep them from being overly noticeable. Adamson was not a master of cinema or anything, but (at least in this movie) he was better than many of his contemporary's working in the same genre (take a look at Ted V. Mickles "The Astro Zombies" for a movie that is truly butchered by it's director)
The acting is also slightly better than some of the acting in other low grade American horror movies from the early seventies and late sixties (and much better than I was led to believe). Adamson has a knack for grabbing professional actors with experience to play some of the roles. The guy that plays Dracula is pretty bad, but when you realize that he was actually the filmmakers stock broker, it makes his performance seem a little better. I was even impressed with the sad final performances of Lon Chaney Junior and J. Carrol Naish. They were obviously not in their prime (and no these are not great performances), but both still carry some screen presence and really add to the movies credibility.
Don't get me wrong, it's a bad movie, probably one of the worst ever, but it has a few good qualities here and there. I would definitely recommend this one to somebody looking for a fun schlocky horror movie with lots of unintentional humor.