Dracula vs. Frankenstein


1h 30m 1971

Brief Synopsis

Judith Fontaine (Regina Carrol) is looking for her sister Joanie, who has disappeared into the hippie community of Venice, California. It turns out Joanie has become the victim of Groton (Lon Chaney Jr.), an axe-wielding homicidal maniac working for Dr. Durray (J. Carrol Naish), who is really the last of the Frankensteins and is now running a house of horrors by the beach and is performing experiments on Gorton's victims. One night Count Dracula (Zandor Vorkov) visits the doctor, showing him the original Frankenstein creation that was buried in a nearby graveyard. The doctor revives it and uses it to take revenge on his professional rivals.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1971
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 20 Sep 1971
Production Company
Independent-International Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Independent-International Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)

Synopsis

While Count Dracula raids the tomb of Frankenstein's Monster, hoping to resuscitate the beast, outside a beach carnival sideshow Joan Fontaine is beheaded by a ravaging man. Soon after, Joan's sister, singer Judith, initiates a search for the missing girl, beginning with Sgt. Martin at police headquarters. Despite Martin's advice to sit and wait and his warning that the carnival that Joan frequented harbors many white slavers, Judith visits the beach. Meanwhile, two hippie teenagers, Strange and Samantha, visit the sideshow, which is run by the crippled Dr. Duryea. One of the exhibits features the doctor's hulking, mute assistant, Groton, wearing a mask, but Duryea soon reveals that Groton is harmless. After the teens leave, Duryea and Groton retreat to the laboratory behind the exhibit to continue Duryea's secret experiments, in which he is attempting to harvest a serum that will cure all disabilities, including the one that has confined him to a wheelchair. To collect the serum, he habitually injects with Groton with a potion to make him vicious, sends him out to decapitate young women and then collects the women's blood, which has developed a special antibody in response to the extreme shock to their systems. He has recently reconnected Joan's head to her body and resuscitated her, planning to harvest her blood continually. After placing the sedated girl in a glass case, Duryea injects Groton and sends him out to the beach. Soon after, Duryea is visited by Dracula, who reveals that he knows Duryea's true identity: he is a scion of the Frankenstein family, discredited by the medical establishment years earlier after his real name was made public, by rival Dr. Beaumont. Planning to use Duryea's serum to make himself invincible, Dracula forces the scientist to comply by summoning flames from a ring on his finger to set the lab on fire. While Groton kills a young woman named Laura, Judith enters a nearby bar. When she inquires after one of Joan's boyfriends, a biker named Rico, the waiter secretly informs Rico, who drugs her coffee. Soon, a hallucinating Judith staggers through the bar, where she is rescued by Strange and Samantha. They bring her to the beachside apartment of Mike Howard, a local who recognizes Joan from Judith's photograph. After Judith awakens, Mike informs her that her sister fantasized about being a carnival freak. With the teens, they visit the sideshow in order to glean clues to Joan's disappearance, and inside show Joan's photograph to Duryea. Although he claims not to know her, they deduce that he is lying. Upon leaving, Samantha is harassed by Rico and his gang, who are stopped from beating Strange when Sgt. Martin appears. That night, while Mike and Judith enjoy a romantic beach walk, Duryea and Dracula work together to revive Frankenstein's Monster, and eventually succeed. Dracula takes the Monster to Dr. Beaumont's hospital, and there directs the Monster to kill the doctor. Meanwhile, Duryea is disturbed when Groton grows agitated and demands an injection, while Mike and Judith examine the underside of the pier on which the exhibit sits and find a trap door. Fearful, Judith insists they stop searching and the two sit on the sand nearby. Groton, transformed into a beast, wanders the beach and stumbles upon Samantha, who is being attacked by Rico and his gang. Groton kills the men and takes the unconscious Samantha back to the lab. Mike hears the sound of Groton closing the trap door and, upon investigating, finds Samantha's locket in the sand. Certain now that Duryea is connected to the girls' disappearances, Mike and Judith run into the exhibit and attempt to break into the lab. Duryea allows them to enter and then, as Judith stares in shock at her sister's body in the glass case, informs them they are his newest experiment "participants." Groton and Grazbo, the dwarf who collects tickets, circle Mike with axes, but when Grazbo accidentally falls on his blade, Judith flees, chased by Groton. Duryea shoots at Mike, who escapes into the exhibit. There, Duryea runs out of bullets, and when Mike traps him in the guillotine exhibit, the machine chops off the scientist's head. Meanwhile, Strange, searching for Samantha, has led Sgt. Martin to the sideshow, and when the police spot Groton chasing Judith along the beach, they shoot and kill him. However, Dracula has arrived, and now catches Judith and mesmerizes her. After tying her to the pier, he revives her, announcing that he plans to have the Monster attack her so he can collect her blood. Mike runs at them with a flare in his hand, using the fire to confuse the Monster, who attacks Dracula. While they struggle, Mike frees Judith and they flee, but Dracula turns his ring on Mike, setting him on fire. After Judith faints, Dracula, who once again has the Monster at his command, takes her to a church. There, the monster grows attracted to Judith, lashing out when Dracula tries to kill her. The Monster tears off Dracula's ring and chases him into the woods, where Dracula is able to rip off the Monster's limbs, killing it. Just then, however, the sun rises, and the count is not able to return to the church before the sun burns his skin. Exposed to the sun, he disintegrates just as Judith frees herself from her bonds. Outside, she finds Dracula's cape and ring, and remembers the horrors of the past night.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1971
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 20 Sep 1971
Production Company
Independent-International Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Independent-International Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)

Quotes

It seems that living near the water brings out the best and worst in us.
- Martin
They have seen all the illusions in my creature emporium, but they have yet to face the greatest illusion: the illusion of reality.
- Dr. Frankenstein
I am known as the Count of Darkness, the Lord of the Manor of Corpathia.
- Dracula
You see! You must open your eyes to see things! There's more to come!
- Grazbo
If you've got a fireplace, burn some wood in it. It'll be a lot better than running loose on the streets.
- Martin

Trivia

Much of the electrical lab equipment in Durea's lab are props originally used in Frankenstein (1931). Ken Strickfadden, who had worked on that movie, supplied the equipment.

It was originally intended to have Dracula turn Frankenstein's Monster into a bloodthirsty vampire, so the Monster could better serve the Count's purpose. The idea was dropped, however, when the fangs kept falling out of Frankenstein actor John Bloom's mouth, which he could keep in due to his heavy makeup.

Final film appearances of J. Carrol Naish and Lon Chaney Jr..

Originally planned as a sequel to Satan's Sadists (1969), with Russ Tamblyn and other "bikers" reprising their parts from that film. However, not long after filming began, it was decided to turn it into a horror film instead of a biker picture and much of the footage with Tamblyn and other actors from the first film was cut out. They were unable to cut them completely out of the movie, though, which is why Tamblyn and his biker gang seem to be wandering in and out of the film, with no connection to the story line and with not much to do.

Notes

Russ Tamblyn and Jim Davis are listed in the opening cast credits as "Special Guest Stars." Gretchen Moon's onscreen credit reads "Wardrobe and Hair." Forrest J. Ackerman's name is misspelled in the opening cast and crew credits as "Forest," but is spelled correctly in the closing credits. Although the opening credits include a copyright statement for Independent-International Film Corp., Dracula vs. Frankenstein was not registered for copyright at the time of its release. However, it was registered by Independent-International Film Corp. on May 20, 1999, at which time it was assigned the number PA-385-916. Dracula vs. Frankenstein marked Zandor Vorkov's screen debut. A modern source adds producer-director Al Adamson (Man in audience) and director of photography Gary Graver (Man on beach) to be cast.
       As noted in a December 1973 Daily Variety news item, British distributor Paladin Films retitled the film Blood of Frankenstein and released it in England together with the 1957 AIP picture The Undead (see below). For more information on other films featuring Dracula, please consult the entry above for the 1931 Universal film Dracula (above); for more information on films featuring the Frankenstein Monster, please consult the entry below for the 1931 Frankenstein.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1973

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1973