Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Assignment Terror – review

Directed by: Tulio Demicheli*

Release date: 1970

Contains spoilers

Assignment Terror, or Dracula vs Frankenstein as it was erroneously titled in the US, was a monster mash type of affair. You’ll see I have asterisked the director. Whilst Tulio Demicheli was listed as director, IMDb suggest to us that Hugo Fregonese and Eberhard Meuchsner also had uncredited hands in the direction. Too many cooks spoiling the broth? It couldn’t help when it came to making this pretty darn awful movie.

In an opening that owes its very existence, one feels, to Ed Wood and Plan 9 from Outer Space, we get a message sent to alien agent Dr Odo Warnoff (Michael Rennie). He is told that two dead scientists, Maleva Kerstein (Karin Dor, Blood Demon) and Dr Kirian (Ángel del Pozo) have been revived via possession by alien agents. Their world is dying and they must prepare the way for colonisation of earth.

staked vampire
How do they intend to do this? By playing on our superstitions. Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this meant creating false monsters… Oh no, they are really real monsters… At which point don’t they cease to be products of superstition? Oh well... At a fair there is a gypsy fortune teller who has the bones (with stake) of a vampire (Manuel de Blas) – not Dracula, despite the credits but I didn’t catch the name they gave him. They have Kerstein sleep with the gypsy, un-stake the vampire and kill the gypsy with it and then kidnap the gypsy’s assistant. The removal of the stake causes the vampire to reform.

They will brainwash the assistant to make her part of an army of beautiful agents – praying on the lusts of mankind. You see the agents believe themselves superior to humanity as they have no emotions. They are, however, inhabiting human bodies so that begins to go horribly wrong. They also insist on unearthing other monsters including a mummy called Pha-ho-tep (Genes Reyes) and the Farancksalan Monster (Ferdinando Murolo) – yes, the Frankenstein Monster by any other name, who they make nuclear powered!

hirsute fellow
They also dig up the preserved corpse of Waldermer Daninsky (Paul Naschy, who wrote the damn thing). They remove the silver bullet from his heart – a thing that only paralysed him because it wasn’t fired by a woman who would die for him. They then give him a serum to prevent him becoming a Wolfman (making you wonder why they bothered) but he turns anyway and escapes – becoming an enemy of the aliens.

fangs a lot
His first near victim is Ilse (Patty Shepard, Young Hannah, Queen of the Vampires) who gets away and becomes involved with inspector Tobermann (Craig Hill), who is investigating various murders. Ilse nearly ends up as vampire chow but Tobermann stakes him.

Other than that it is a mismatch of poor-dubbing and ludicrous storyline. Yes the monsters fight and yes humanity wins – mainly due to the Wolfman. However it really isn’t worth the effort of sitting through it. 2 out of 10 is more than it deserves and is for the sheer cheek.

The imdb page is here.

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