Plot: Judith (Regina Carrol) is concerned about her sister’s safety, as she has been out of communication for a while after joining a hippie commune. In order to find out what is going on, she ventures to the commune, but what she expects to be a locale of peace and freedom, is quite the opposite. Dr. Duryea (J. Carrol Naish) runs the operation and as it turns out, he happens to be part of the Frankenstein family tree, so it is no surprise that he is up to no good. The mad doctor has enlisted the brute Groton (Lon Chaney, Jr.) to hunt down victims, who are then used in Duryea’s experiments. But things take a wild turn when Dracula (Zandor Vorkov) shows up and leads Dr. Duryea to the original Frankenstein’s monster’s remains. Will Dracula and Frankenstein once again terrorize the world, only this time in an unholy union?
Entertainment Value: Dracula vs. Frankenstein sounds like a real clash of the titans, but this movie doesn’t deliver much in terms of that potential. There is a showdown of sorts at one point, but for the most part, Al Adamson’s take on these horror legends is mired in other narrative threads. There is of course some low rent wackiness at times here, but not enough to make it a fun watch, as there are long, drawn out stretches of rather dull content between bursts of b movie silliness. Had to focus been on Dracula and Frankenstein, perhaps the movie would have fared better, as these are some of the strangest takes on the beloved characters that I’ve seen. Frankenstein’s monster has a face that looks like squashed oatmeal, while Zandor Vorkov’s Dracula is outlandish and has to be seen to be believed. I also appreciated the carnival atmosphere, but it wasn’t used to effective ends and we end up with a lot of filler footage, though again, I liked seeing all the old time carnival footage. Dracula vs. Frankenstein is slow and falls short on b movie charm, but there is a morbid curiosity around the picture that is bound to keep luring in new viewers. So while this isn’t one I’d watch often or strongly recommend, it is a genre curio nonetheless.
The movie doesn’t offer much on the nakedness scale, with a single bare breast visible at one point, but that’s all the sleaze. I am sure some crossed their fingers for a Dracula vs. Frankenstein sex session, but nah, never happens here. The blood quotient is low as well, likely due to budget limitations and what little crimson there is, is rather bland. An ax attack is unleashed and we see a minor amount of the red stuff, but otherwise, this horror flick is clean and blood free. But hey, a rubber head being lopped off is fun to me, so I appreciated that. The dialogue isn’t all that memorable either, but the performances help squeeze some fun of some of the lines. The flick gives us confused protesters, an overly dramatic Dracula, mad scientist talk, hippie banter, and a lunatic Lon Chaney, Jr. in a sweat soaked, over the top effort. This would be Chaney’s final picture and you can tell his health was suffering when the movie was made. You will find some wackiness here however, even if not as much as you might expect. A few highlights include pyromancy enabled jewelry, a romantic beach stroll, a lousy stage show, a cheesy haunted house, quite an angular mustache, a high fall from an obvious dummy, a dude in a department store gorilla suit, and some good times with a guillotine.
Overall Insanity: 3/10