Judith Fontaine (Regina Carrol) is concerned when her sister Joanie (Maria Lease) goes missing in the area of Venice Beach. Police Sergeant Martin (Jim Davis) is of little help. Judith decides to investigate herself. She finds out that Joanie was last seen with a hippie named Strange (Greydon Clark) and his girlfriend Samantha (Ann Morrell). While searching, Judith attracts the attention of a biker, Rico (Russ Tamblyn). Rico has a waiter in a local bar slip Judith some LSD. Judith is rescued by Strange and Samantha who bring her to their friend Mike Howard (Anthony Eisley). Mike and Judith are attracted to each other. Mike decides to help Judith. Knowing that Joanie was last seen on Venice Beach near a local horror attraction called the “Creature Emporium”, they start there.
The "Creature Emporium" is owned and run by a mad scientist named Dr. Durea (J. Carrol Naish) with the help of his retarded, mute assistant Groton (Lon Chaney Jr.). Dr. Durea is in reality the last descendant of the original Dr. Frankenstein. Durea is working on a serum using the blood of young women that he believes will restore health and life. Durea wants to use the serum on himself to restore the use of his legs that were damaged in a fire and to heal Groton.
Durea is approached by Count Dracula (Zandor Vorkov) who has learned about the doctor’s serum. He hopes that the serum will make him able to go out in the sunlight thereby making him invincible. Dracula has with him the body of the original Frankenstein monster that he dug up from a nearby cemetery. He wants to trade the monster for the serum. Durea brings the monster back to life and uses him to get revenge on the man responsible for him being in a wheelchair, Dr. Beaumont (Forrest J. Ackerman). Now there are two creatures killing people on the boardwalk, Groton and the reanimated monster. When Dr. Durea finds out that Judith is looking for her sister, she finds herself in the middle of Durea and Dracula’s plans of perfecting the doctor’s serum.
“Dracula vs. Frankenstein” was released in 1971 and was directed by Al Adamson and Samuel M. Sherman. It is an American low budget science fiction horror movie.
The plot is basic but there is a lot of random stuff tossed in with not much cohesion. The acting is fair to bad depending on who is talking. The dialogue is a little on the nonsensical side. There were several times when listening to it I just went “Huh?” The Frankenstein monster’s face looks a lot like a deflated toasted marshmallow. Characters come and go at random. Dracula, for instance, disappears and suddenly shows up again at the end for the big showdown.
The original story was supposed to be about a biker gang and a sequel to the 1969 film “Satan’s Sadists”. After shooting started the decision was made to change it to a horror movie. Much of the biker stuff was cut and horror elements were added. Some of the residual biker footage stayed in, thus adding more confusion to the already tenuous script. There are also plot holes sprinkled throughout the movie to add to that confusion.
One bright spot in the film is Durea’s laboratory. Many of the props used were the original wiz bangs created by Ken Strickfaden that were prominent in the 1931 “Frankenstein” film.