This Months Screening

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein

‘Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein’ represents director Jesus Franco at his most enigmatic. It’s poorly made, laughable and wildly incoherent, but it has a creaky oddball charm to it.

Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein demonstrates that Franco was always beyond any real criticism, but he has an underground following championed by directors such as Quentin Tarantino and John Waters, so there has to be something in there of merit. If you need an introduction to Franco’s work, check out ‘Venus in Furs,’ ‘Faceless’ or ‘Bloody Moon’.

Trying to decipher the plot to Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein is akin to explaining a self prescribed lobotomy. The film features Dennis Price (looking like death warmed up) as Frankenstein, using the blood of female virgins to resurrect the infamous count. The ultimate goal of the doctor, it seems, is to build an army?! What makes the story difficult to follow is a distinct lack of dialogue for thirty minutes or so. When people do begin to speak, it still seems impossible to follow. Allegedly Franco was simultaneously directing the superior and sleazier ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’ (in no way to be confused with the Hammer Horror classic), with a number of the same cast and sets in tow, so it is easy to see why the plot is so ill-defined.

What interest there is for Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein is a contradiction. The film is both dull and unintentionally hilarious, for example, vampire bats, clearly on fish wire, constantly attack people. The production values are hopeless. Every shot seems to be out of focus, badly framed or repetitive, yet despite its problems, the film has an otherworldly quality. It’s one of those film you simply have to let wash over you. That or you can nod off to sleep. Those brave enough to track down Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein can do so via a Tartan Video Grindhouse double bill release with The Curse of Frankenstein.

Be warned, if you are unfamiliar with Jesus Franco’s highly prolific career, this is not the best to start with, but for all connoisseurs of bad films, Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein worth checking out once.

Starring: Dennis Price, Howard Vernon, Paca Gabaldón
Director: Jesús Franco
Screenplay by: Jesús Franco
Date released: France October 17th 1971
Genre: Horror
Duration: 85 min
Official URL: N/A
Reviewed by: Conor Flynn

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