Friday, February 19, 2021

Dracula Vs Frankenstein – review

Directors: Tyler Ralston & Marc Slanger

Release date: 2002

Contains spoilers

In 1971 a film was released called Dracula Vs Frankenstein. If you look at the comments to that review you will see some wisdom. Regular visitor The T agreed with my 1 out of 10 rating but also saw that film as “so bad its good” – it all depends on frame of mind. I still dislike the film, mourning the swan song it represented for Lon Chaney Jr.

What it really didn’t need was remaking – and remaking with even less budget, I suspect. However remade it was and this, dear reader, is my review of its remake.

sepia Dracula

It starts in 1891 on a train, the film filtered to be sepia. The train stops and Dracula (T. Tocs Sined) disembarks. He heads to the bank and then the jail trying to get directions to the castle (in the jail is a Renfield type, bug eating and mentioning the Master – it is not expanded on). Eventually, through hypnosis, he gets the directions he seeks. The castle belongs to Frankenstein (Paul Byrnes), descendent of the infamous Doctor Frankenstein. He has made a blood serum that Dracula wants – it will make him invincible.

blood sfx

He is double-crossed however and the vampire hunter Pretorius (Erik) enters the room at Frankenstein’s behest. Dracula has the serum and also wears a ring (sorry, I couldn’t catch the name they gave it), which is a nose. He pours the serum on the magic ring – despite Frankenstein’s protestations of doom. There is an explosion. Whether Dracula is thrown through time (perhaps) or just waits, hanging around, wasn’t too clear. In the modern day we see a girl, Joanie (Melissa Field), coming down some stairs. She is beheaded by an axe – with potentially the worst post-production blood splatter on film.

laser nostril ring

At a theatre Joanie’s sister Judith (Susan Manger) is on stage doing a musical number. Off stage she gets a telegram and goes to see the police but her sister is still missing. She takes on the investigation herself and the film fairly much follows the plot of the original. Dracula’s ring fires lasers (out of the nostrils), Frankenstein’s relative Dr Duray (J. Spank Jenkins) has his henchman Groden (Tim Haven) beheading folk for experimentation, Drac digs up the monster (Matthew Beale), Judith gets spiked and the action takes place in Duray’s museum/freak show. For plot points see the review of the original.

the main event

This film serves a purpose and it is to make the older one feel like a better film. The DVD transfer is poor, the effects mostly terrible. The look of Dracula is reminiscent of the original film – but sans the makeup. The acting is universally amateurish – after all it is an amateur cast if their IMDb credits tell the tale correctly, for many it is their only listed production. It is clearly a love letter to the previous version, which is fine. Love letters, however, should be personal and private affairs, whilst this is on commercial DVD. Like the previous version I think 1 out of 10 is as high as I can go.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

On DVD @ Amazon UK

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