Dracula vs Frankenstein
You know, it’s kind of a shame that Dracula versus Frankenstein is probably my favorite of all Graydon Clark’s films. It’s a shame, because it’s the one that he probably has the least to do with. Clark wrote the original script, but the original script is somewhat far cry from what film eventually morphed into. There are still elements of horror and bodysnatching in this film, Lon Cheney Junior was still a fiendish best and Carol Nash was still chewing the scenery, but it was a last-minute decision to turn this into a Dracula film. While Clark feels that was a mistake, I personally am grateful for it – I love the interplay here, and it makes for a wonderful trashy movie. I first caught this at the midnight showing doing Cinema Wasteland, and that’s exactly where belongs. Our Dracula here is not necessarily a traditional Dracula, indeed he is a very 70s looking fella – with a huge white-man ‘fro, and a dark beard. Still, he is very scary looking, intimidating – they’ve dressed him well including a distinctive ring that the Nash character recognizes. It’s almost comical how matter of fact he is one he discovers Dracula – no one is surprised to find this immortal blood sucking monster actually exists. In this error of Buffy and true blood and Twilight, that may seem commonplace, but in the era when the universal monsters reigned supreme and hammer was the innovator – this approach was practically unheard of. For all my love of Dracula in this film, I must say Frankenstein is a little disappointing. We get a dreadful rubber mask that squishes a little too much, and an actor that feels just a teensy bit too short for the role. I do have to wonder if there was no room in the budget for platform shoes all lifts.
Because this is one script that went through several mutations eventually evolving into something radically different, the narrative frequently takes left turns and doesn’t always make a lot of sense. That’s okay, because we’re not really coming to the film for a lot of sense. We’re coming to this to watch Dracula and Frankenstein and Lon Chaney Junior, and to revel in our love of these monsters. It’s a film to watch together with drunk friends late at night, schlock to watch and laugh at and enjoy. And that’s exactly how I experienced it – and I’d have no other way.