Dracula Contra Frankenstein


1h 24m 1972

Brief Synopsis

Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant Morpho are killed just as they bring their creation to life. The monster is taken by Cagliostro and he now controls the monster and plans to have it mate and create the perfect master race!

Film Details

Also Known As
Dracula Versus Frankenstein
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1972

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant Morpho are killed just as they bring their creation to life. The monster is taken by Cagliostro and he now controls the monster and plans to have it mate and create the perfect master race!

Film Details

Also Known As
Dracula Versus Frankenstein
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1972

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein - Attention: Jess Franco Fans - DRACULA, PRISONER OF FRANKENSTEIN is now on DVD!


Followers of the mind-numbingly prodigious output of Eurohorror maestro Jesus "Jess" Franco should be pleased with Image Entertainment's release of the Spanish/French monster rally Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein (Dracula Contra Frankenstein (1972). Franco-philes will find it unsurprisingly short on exposition and budgetary excess, surprisingly short on female nudity, and full of the fever-dream quality that has marked the best from the filmmaker's overwhelming oeuvre.

The place of Franco's narrative is in central Europe, and one presumes the time to be the 18th century until a very contemporary hearse shows up onscreen. Count Dracula (Howard Vernon) has been roaming the countryside in search of beautiful young ladies to drain, and it isn't long until Dr. Jonathan Seward (Alberto Dalbes) makes a daylight raid on his castle. Seward stakes the dormant bloodsucker, transforming his corpse (through the magic of jump-cutting) to a desiccated bat. With the castle being too attractive a property to remain on the open market for long, it gets purchased by Dr. Frankenstein (Dennis Price), who sets up shop with his crackling lab appurtenances, his inarticulate, hunchbacked assistant Morpho (Luis Barboo), and, of course, his undying monster (Fernando Bilbao).

The creature is dispatched to kidnap a local chanteuse (Josyane Gilbert), who winds up exsanguinated as part of the bad doctor's efforts to resurrect the count, by immersing Dracula's moribund form in her blood. (The sight of a live bat thrashing around in red stuff makes for a mightily disturbing lab sequence). In the process, Frankenstein renders the vampire wholly subject to his will, with the grand scheme of creating an army of the undead for his command. The first victim is the beautiful medium (Paca Gabaldon) who had been Seward's early warning system for Drac attacks. The stage is set for a final conflagration between Frankenstein's forces and those in Seward's camp, including a mystically attuned gypsy woman (Genevieve Robert) and a slightly mangy werewolf (Brandy).

Obviously wanting to keep the technical challenges that come with international distribution to a minimum, Franco leaves it to the viewer to follow the iconography to figure out what's going on. It's at least twenty minutes into the film until one of the players speaks, and the bulk of what spoken narrative the movie contains is done in voice-over. This might have also been a practical consideration in Price's case. The once-handsome British lead of the '40s was by then showing the effects of a decades-long drinking problem, looking bloated and barely focused. Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein was very much indicative of the projects Price signed on for at that point in his career, and he would be dead from liver failure within two years of the film's conclusion.

Franco regular Vernon wasn't particularly well served by the script, either, as he has to spend the bulk of his screen time playing Dracula as automaton. The beefy Bilbao's monster comes off in hindsight as an unfortunate Fred Gwynne/Peter Boyle hybrid, and the "Brandy" of the dubious lycanthrope makeup never again surfaced professionally. While time has rendered Franco's fiends cheesy in appearance, the attractive female cast has weathered comparatively well. The director showed uncharacteristic restraint in depicting the story's sensuous elements, keeping the sexually exploitative aspects to a minimum. Scream queen aficionados will still enjoy the presence of Gabaldon, Gilbert, and Robert (who'd go on to marry high-concept comedy auteur Ivan Reitman), as well as Franco favorite Britt Nichols as a jealous vampire bride and Anne Libert as the scenario's first victim.

Still, Jose Climent's cinematography is surprisingly crisp given the budget considerations, and the castle locales make for memorably creepy atmosphere. Image's presentation for the DVD is competently packaged if unexceptional. The print is shown in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen and is for the most part clean; however, the audio track is presented in the original Spanish, with no option for the English dub. Beyond the English subtitle option, the release offers no further extras.

For more information about Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein, visit Image Entertainment. To order Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay S. Steinberg
Dracula, Prisoner Of Frankenstein - Attention: Jess Franco Fans - Dracula, Prisoner Of Frankenstein Is Now On Dvd!

Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein - Attention: Jess Franco Fans - DRACULA, PRISONER OF FRANKENSTEIN is now on DVD!

Followers of the mind-numbingly prodigious output of Eurohorror maestro Jesus "Jess" Franco should be pleased with Image Entertainment's release of the Spanish/French monster rally Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein (Dracula Contra Frankenstein (1972). Franco-philes will find it unsurprisingly short on exposition and budgetary excess, surprisingly short on female nudity, and full of the fever-dream quality that has marked the best from the filmmaker's overwhelming oeuvre. The place of Franco's narrative is in central Europe, and one presumes the time to be the 18th century until a very contemporary hearse shows up onscreen. Count Dracula (Howard Vernon) has been roaming the countryside in search of beautiful young ladies to drain, and it isn't long until Dr. Jonathan Seward (Alberto Dalbes) makes a daylight raid on his castle. Seward stakes the dormant bloodsucker, transforming his corpse (through the magic of jump-cutting) to a desiccated bat. With the castle being too attractive a property to remain on the open market for long, it gets purchased by Dr. Frankenstein (Dennis Price), who sets up shop with his crackling lab appurtenances, his inarticulate, hunchbacked assistant Morpho (Luis Barboo), and, of course, his undying monster (Fernando Bilbao). The creature is dispatched to kidnap a local chanteuse (Josyane Gilbert), who winds up exsanguinated as part of the bad doctor's efforts to resurrect the count, by immersing Dracula's moribund form in her blood. (The sight of a live bat thrashing around in red stuff makes for a mightily disturbing lab sequence). In the process, Frankenstein renders the vampire wholly subject to his will, with the grand scheme of creating an army of the undead for his command. The first victim is the beautiful medium (Paca Gabaldon) who had been Seward's early warning system for Drac attacks. The stage is set for a final conflagration between Frankenstein's forces and those in Seward's camp, including a mystically attuned gypsy woman (Genevieve Robert) and a slightly mangy werewolf (Brandy). Obviously wanting to keep the technical challenges that come with international distribution to a minimum, Franco leaves it to the viewer to follow the iconography to figure out what's going on. It's at least twenty minutes into the film until one of the players speaks, and the bulk of what spoken narrative the movie contains is done in voice-over. This might have also been a practical consideration in Price's case. The once-handsome British lead of the '40s was by then showing the effects of a decades-long drinking problem, looking bloated and barely focused. Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein was very much indicative of the projects Price signed on for at that point in his career, and he would be dead from liver failure within two years of the film's conclusion. Franco regular Vernon wasn't particularly well served by the script, either, as he has to spend the bulk of his screen time playing Dracula as automaton. The beefy Bilbao's monster comes off in hindsight as an unfortunate Fred Gwynne/Peter Boyle hybrid, and the "Brandy" of the dubious lycanthrope makeup never again surfaced professionally. While time has rendered Franco's fiends cheesy in appearance, the attractive female cast has weathered comparatively well. The director showed uncharacteristic restraint in depicting the story's sensuous elements, keeping the sexually exploitative aspects to a minimum. Scream queen aficionados will still enjoy the presence of Gabaldon, Gilbert, and Robert (who'd go on to marry high-concept comedy auteur Ivan Reitman), as well as Franco favorite Britt Nichols as a jealous vampire bride and Anne Libert as the scenario's first victim. Still, Jose Climent's cinematography is surprisingly crisp given the budget considerations, and the castle locales make for memorably creepy atmosphere. Image's presentation for the DVD is competently packaged if unexceptional. The print is shown in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen and is for the most part clean; however, the audio track is presented in the original Spanish, with no option for the English dub. Beyond the English subtitle option, the release offers no further extras. For more information about Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein, visit Image Entertainment. To order Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein, go to TCM Shopping. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1972

Techniscope

Released in United States 1972