Movie Review: Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein (1972) – Severin Blu-ray

July 10, 2024

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Drac (Jess Franco regular Howard Vernon, who’s appearance here proves my words, as this too is a Franco flick) is back, and he’s doing his fang bang schtick on ye local comely lasses… an action that really sticks in the ass of Dr. Jonathan Seward (Alberto Dalbés)… here filling the traditional Van Helsing role… so much so that he takes a carriage ride to Dracula’s castle and straight up stakes the mother sucker turning him into an ex-bat!

Well, nightmare over… right? Wrong.

Before the pillow is even cold, Dr. Frankenstein (Dennis Price, who would return to the role in Franco’s The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein a year later in 1973), and his unfortunately horny assistant Morpho (Luis Barboo) slide their asses on into the castle, and immediately reawaken the Doctor’s Monster (Fernando Bilbao) whom they’ve conveniently brought along.

Said Monster then ambles into town and abducts a showgirl (who’s eventual corpse is the only thing to quench Morpho’s unholy passion… and surprisingly… and thankfully… it doesn’t go as far as you would guess) so the Doctor can syphon her blood to resurrect Dracula… which he does… making him Dracula’s master! Look, it’s loosey-goosey with Franco, you just have to roll with it a bit…

Also, there’s a female vampire (Carmen Yazalde credited as Britt Nichols) involved/just sort of there… she looks cool as hell though… Jess should have squeezed an extra picture about her out on the same sets (I mean it’s not like he hasn’t used them, before… or the score for that matter… and will again in some cases… but both sets and score are admittedly awesome, so “why the hell not”, as they oft are known to say).

Anyway this whole monster situation is pretty bad… so much so, Dr. Seward may not be able to withstand the onslaught of evil that is Frankenstein controlling Dracula while employing a sex pervert…

I am not going to mince words (I did that enough above) I absolutely LOVED this film (mostly… more on that soon)! This is like the result of someone watching Universal’s monster mash “House of… ” films (1944’s House of Frankenstein and 1945’s House of Dracula), then recreating them from memory as a dark ride, which was in turn adapted into a comic book that got turned into a film that Jess Franco saw in a dream he only half remembered which became Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein… a fever dream on Halloween night… and that is absolute perfection in my beastly book!

Slight of dialog, long on style (and zoom shots), and all together delightfully weird everything in this film makes the least yet most sense simultaneously… and given the budget at hand it makes sense…

Vernon is great as one of those overly bloody Halloween decorations that look like Lugosi but are definitely a tad off brand, and this film’s Frankenstein’s Monster sticks very close to Universal’s trademarked version; green skin, square head, neck bolts et. al…. similar in look if not in skill of presentation. The monsters, including an 11th hour addition to the cast, are so ratty and tacky, yet absolutely perfect that I found them impossible to not absolutely love!

There’s much more to adore here as well, such as a fantastic sequence where Seward and his patient Maria (Paca Gabaldón) encounter Frankenstein’s Monster after riding in a carriage through a forest full of moaning voices… and it’s shot so damn raw and frenzied… then it cuts to a gorgeous wide/low angle shot of the Monster walking through a forest at sundown carrying a prone Maria… it’s like a cover from the greatest monster magazine that never was… not to mention, Drac’s first attack alone is a masterpiece of mood, color, and shadow.

Adding to the off-kilter vibe of the piece was the conscious effort to make the film as anachronistic as possible with “modern” cars and carriages existing wheel to wheel, period and ’70s attire clashing… hell there’s even a jukebox in one scene.

Now for the negative…there is a bat featured in this film that is absolutely put through hell; it’s wings outstretched by god knows who to (unsuccessfully) simulate flight, held in front of a blinding light, and nearly drowned in fake blood… it’s rough.

Less rough are the special features Severin has assembled for this Blu-ray including an interview with Author/Franco authority Stephen Thrower in which he discusses the film’s themes, production anecdotes, and Franco’s career, Part 10 of Severin’s continuing look at Franco’s shooting locations (also hosted by Thrower), a Spanish language opening credit sequence, a deleted sequence from the English language version of the film, and a trailer.

Like a Universal horror picture from another dimension… a decidedly hornier, more delightfully lurid dimension… Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein shouldn’t be missed by fiendish fanatics of classic monster mash magic!



Share This Article

You May Also Like…