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This is one of my favourite bad movies. Rubber bats, Western backdrops, and John Carradine as Dracula. Someone shines a red light on Carradine's mugging face during the scary scenes. It's hypnotically awful, but I'd only recommend it to those with a love for real trash. It seems to be pretty unique, but I haven't seen the companion piece, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter.
MORD39 RATING: ** out of ****
Okay, we know that this is a silly premise with an elderly John Carradine in the Count Dracula role, but as far as "bad" movies go, it's definitely much more fun than most other trash. At the very least, it's miles and miles better than its totally boring companion piece, JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER.
Carradine is deliciously sinister as Dracula, and the story does flow nicely. No awards given here, just a fun afternoon matinee item that is FAR from Carradine's "worst" film. The actor himself often referred to this movie as the lowest of his career, but this was probably because the outlandish title stuck in his mind.
If you want to see truly UNWATCHABLE John Carradine garbage, there are literally DOZENS worse...ASTRO ZOMBIES and GALLERY OF HORROR to name but two.
If you're looking for a good Horror-Western then you've come to the wrong place. However, if you are an afficianado of stiff, stagey, stodgy drive-in material then there is much here to entertain. John Carradine hams it up royally, rolling his eyes and barking his lines like he's a silent film star who's just been told he's got to make the transition to talkies...and he gives it everything he's got as he prowls about the Wild West resplendent in top-hat and cape. His face glows red every time he spots a girl he fancies; he even has a red-duvet on the vampire double bed he keeps in the abandoned silver mine that is his lair, should he get lucky, which seems unlikely seeing as he looks older even than the undeadest undead man. Watch out for B-Western legends Harry Carey Jnr. and Roy Barcroft, enjoy the wholesome sixties-chick heroine, ignore the tired convolusions of the plot, try and forget that the whole thing is entirely devoid of creepy atmosphere. Good fun for cheese fans.
Yeah, it's nutty, with an accentless Dracula popping up in the old west like the ultimate dirty old man, leering at and biting the neck of just about every nubile young woman who wanders by. Somehow, Drac ends up at the very ranch where Billy the Kid has gotten a job in an attempt to hang up his bad guy ways. Whew. Still in all, you get a lot of the always wonderful John Carradine, playing Dracula yet again, and even better, his main nemesis isn't actually Billy the Kid, but instead Mrs. Olsen from the long ago Folger's coffee commercials!!! She is an immigrant Swedish/German woman who knows Dracula's real agenda, and is much more of a thorn in his side than the mostly ineffectual cowboy hero. So there you go--you old monster movie buffs should definitely check this one out!
This was filmed back to back with "Jessie James Meets Frankensteins Daughter" in the same Simi Valley ranch by William Beaudine who use to be a very capable director. I think this is just campy fun to watch! The story starts out with Dracula (John Carradine) on a stagecoach and he see's a picture of a young girl and is instantly attracted to her. That night Dracula kills a young Indian girl and the rest of the Indians attack the Stagecoach and kill everyone on board. Dracula assumes the identity of a Mr. Underhill and goes to meet his niece who has never met him. The niece is Betty Bentley (Melinda Plowman) and the ranch that her family owns has a foreman named William Bonney (Chuck Courtney) and the two of them are in love and want to get married. Dracula arrives and he introduces himself as Betty's uncle and he takes charge of the ranch. He also starts to make plans on making Betty his bride! An immigrant couple recognize him as a vampire because he had killed their daughter and now they try and warn Betty and William. This film plays as a regular vampire story and not as camp but with the low budget and a script that isn't careful about vampire do's and dont's it can't help but become camp. Carradine was pretty old in 1966 and he appears frail so when there are scenes that require physical effort a stand-in was used. Take a good look when Dracula is supposedly carrying Betty, you can't see his face. Carradine dyed his hair black for this role to try and look younger. I also liked Plowman in this film, she was a steady television actress during the 50's and 60's and she was extremely beautiful to look at. I personally could understand why Dracula was so infatuated with her. I probably would have done the same thing if I was in his shoes! If anyone knows whatever happened to Melinda Plowman please let me know. The ending was pretty shabby when Billy the Kid throws a gun at Dracula and knocks him out! And then uses a railroad spike. Everyone knows it has to be a wooden spike! But you have to expect these inconsistencies from these films. Thats part of their charm! Also, for you trivia buffs out there...Olive Carey plays Dr. Hull and Carey is the mother of Harry Carey jr. who also appears in this film as the wagon master! Silly and inconsistent film is actually fun to watch. I think it lives up to its incredible title. Look out for those rubber bats on a string!
This is uttered by Virginia Christine (the alluring Anaka in 1945's THE
MUMMY'S CURSE) when Melina Plowman tells her that her "uncle" casts no
reflection in the mirror. Another pithy line of dialogue, one you'd
never expect the legendary vampire to make, is (to his "niece") "Marry
a notorious gunslinger? I won't hear of it!" Carradine as Dracula comes
across as merely a crochety, vaguely sinister, eccentric uncle with an
elitist attitude against immigrants. The actor frankly seems in his,
uh, cups, but do you blame him? On the other hand, Chuck Courtney
brings a surprising believablity and bantamweight handsomeness and
likability to Billy the Kid; he looks somewhat like Audie Murphy, which
also helps. Melinda Plowman as Dracula's object of lust, looks like one
of those Noxema girls from the 1960's t.v. ads for that skin cream. The
strings on the shlocky flapping rubber bat are clearly visible, oh,
what joy! Right from someplace like "Eddie's House of Horrors" on
Hollywood Boulevard, probably where they also got that shiny big red
bow for Dracula.
Another source of delight is the wide eyed, dopey, open mouthed look of stupefaction and wonder on the young German girl's face as she realizes who Carradine is. The old female doc is played straight, and there is something appealing about the dusty, Hollywood/old Wild West 101 atmosphere, with its pleasantly juvenile shootin', fightin' and ranchin' atmosphere, oddly made more pleasant by the juxtaposition of the silly and cheesy vampire-comes-to-town-to-stir-up-the-locals story. This movie is best enjoyed either in a "matinee" time frame, say around 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, or at 2 a.m. that same night.
While the title is laughable, the production values were okay, as was the cinematography. The acting was...well...less than wonderful, but not bad enough to ruin the fun. Poor John Carradine..."Lo how the mighty have fallen" is about all one can say regarding his appearance in this film, but even old actors have to eat & pay bills, so we forgive him. There were quite a few old favorites working in this one. Roy Barcroft (everyone's favorite "bad guy" in almost all of the Rocky Lane movies), Bing Russell (yes, Kurt's daddy), Harry Carey Jr. with only a few lines early in the film, his mom, Olive Carey,(remember her from "The Searchers"?) as the town Dr., and a few others whose names won't ring any bells but whose faces are instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever seen a Western or a Cop movie/TV show. It was also fun to see the old Corriganville Movie Ranch sets again...a lot of fond memories for us old Western actors there! Chuck Courtney (the star),was quite a horseman. Watching him ride & handle his mounts was almost enough to make you forget that crummy rubber bat. He did a credible job of acting, & his fast draw skills were very good. I did some stunt work with him many years ago, & he was well respected in the industry as both a daring stuntman & a competent stunt coordinator. When you did a fight scene with him, it always looked real & no one got hurt. All in all, this movie is not a "great" horror classic, but it is fun to watch as light entertainment. A real "popcorn & beer" film for late night viewing.
There is a point where camp and serious meet and the line between the two can be quite difficult to trace. Luckily here, one need not worry too much about that line as nothing is to be taken too terribly serious from this film. With a title like Billy the Kid VS. Dracula, a starring credit for Z actor John Carradine, and the directorial reigns in the hands of William One-shot Beaudine - did anyone really expect anything else? I echo all the comments of how badly this film was made. Its production values are breathtakingly bad. As viewers noted: a red light is focused on Carradine's face for the "scary" moments, bats are flying courtesy of obvious, visible wires, editing concerns change story continuity repeatedly(guess it all wasn't done in one shot), the actors seem to have been propped up in many instances giving some of the most wooden performances I have ever seen, and then there is the storyline and its inane dialog - tattooing every Western cliché and then even adding a few you wouldn't expect nor should expect. John Carradine, whenever he is given an opportunity to be the star in a film vehicle, typically turns in a most hammy performance, and this film is no different. He is coiffed to look like some devil leering throughout the picture at his 18 year old "niece." He at least has some talent as he barks out orders and acts more like a raving madmen obsessed with the virginal qualities of his future mate rather than being a sophisticated vampire. The guy playing Billy the Kid is just plain awful. His acting range never moves because it doesn't exist. Chuck Courtney, aka Billy, stares his way through the role when he is not fake fighting. He acts like a choir boy most of the film. This was the infamous gunslinger Billy the Kid? As for the rest of the cast, don't expect much more than some good, unintentional laughs as they wade through the muck that is the script. My favorites have to be Virginia Christine as Eva Oster - a German who is inexplicably traveling in America with her husband and daughter spouting fear for vampires, and Olive Carey as Dr. Henrietta Hull - or as Carradine so succinctly says, "the backwoods female pill slinger." Dialog like that is a joy to behold. I loved watching this film. It definitely is one of those-so-bad-its-good movies to watch. Every scene will show something whether it is incompetence behind the camera or in front. This movie has Dracula, Billy the Kid, John Carradine, a vampire test, Dracula cruising about by day, and so much more fun that you really need to see it to believe it.
I actually stayed up late to watch this one night. How could I resist a
title like "Billy The Kid Versus Dracula."
Not only was it incredibly historically accurate, but Dracula was very well played by John Carradine. I was thankful that it was shortly followed by another treat with "Jesse James meets Frankensteins Daughter."
The fact that someone actually green lighted this movie is the most horrifying thing around.
I will say, it is worth the watch just for the final showdown between Billy and Dracula. After firing about six shots into Dracula, Carradine stands with the most sinister of stares only to be belted squarely across the nose with a gun that Billy throws across the room. The quickness and "Doh!" factor almost makes me think John Carradine wasn't acting. It is a little too realistic (something not characteristic of John Carradine's acting). I was laughing myself to tears when I saw that.
If you want a good laugh, stick around to the end.
Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966)
*** (out of 4)
Billy the Kid (Chuck Courtney) has settled down and is now working on a ranch where he has fallen in love with its owner Elizabeth (Melinda Plowman). Her uncle (John Carradine) shows up to pay her a visit and soon Billy realizes that he's really COunt Dracula.
If you go into a movie called BILLY THE KID VERSUS Dracula and take it serious then you really need to take a long, deep look at your life and wonder why you take things so seriously. THis here was obviously meant to be camp and with WIlliam Beaudine behind the camera they managed to get the movie in the can in five days. Who would have thought that all these decades later that the film would still have a nice little following among bad movie lovers?
For my money this here is one of the greatest bad movies ever made and it's entertainment value is pretty much off the charts. The only bad movie that comes closer to such entertainment is PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE so these two really are the kings of their sub- genre. What makes this film so entertaining is the fact that everyone is taking it pretty serious. The cast are all extremely serious and they're treating these events as if they were in a serious drama.
The one exception is Carradine who appears to know this is pure camp. He's simply wonderful here and you can't help but call this a great comic performance. I mean, look at an early scene where he's in a bar and a girl with her parents have accused him of being a vampire. He says "a vampire" and take a look at his eyes as he says the line. Pure camp. The actor was a very smart man and a terrific actor who took roles like this to take care of his children. It's clear he knew he was making a low-budget horror movie and he's just making it fun.
Beaudine actually makes this look like an actual Western and the film comes off as a real production and not just some cheap film. I'd also argue that the entire film is just about as entertaining as something like this could get. The horror elements are all rather silly as is everything else about the film but it has a certain innocent charm that really comes across.
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