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LOS MONSTRUOS DEL TERROR/THE MONSTERS OF TERROR- 1969
(American title: Assingment Terror/Dracula vs. Frankenstein)

 

 

 

Director: Tulio Demichelli and Hugo Fregonese
Screenplay: Jacinto Molina
Music: Franco Salina
Cast: Michael Rennie (Odo Varnoff), Karin Dor (Maleva), Paul Naschy (Waldemar Daninsky), Craig Hill (Tobermann), Patty Shepard (Ilse), Angel del Pozo (Doctor Kirian), Maneul de Blas (the vampire), Ferdinando Murolo (the Feranksollen monster), Gene Reyes (Pha-Ho-Tep, the mummy).

Eastmancolor, Cinemascope

Running time: 90 min.

DVD Availability: In the USA, as FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR; Sam Sherman commentary and loads of extras. Click here to order from Amazon.com.

 

Mexican Lobby Card; note images of Christopher Lee
as Dracula and Karloff as the Frankenstein Monster

 

Swedish Poster (courtesy Richard Svensson)
Richard writes:
"The title 'Varulven jagar Frankenstein' translates as 'The Werewolf Chasing Frankenstein', sort of 'Werewolf vs Frankenstein', but we hardly ever use 'vs' in Swedish so itīs 'meets', 'against' or 'chasing' usually."

Thank you, Richard!

Two reviews:

Dracula vs. Frankenstein. Rather a mess. (At least the United American video version under review here.) Direction was split between two people, Tulio Demichelli and Hugo Fregonese, and the filming was interrupted because of financial difficulties. Financial difficulties also resulted in the script not being filmed as intended. As screenplay writer, Naschy overextends himself, gathering together aliens, a vampire, a Frankenstein-type monster, a mummy, and, of course, a werewolf--Waldemar Daninsky. Aliens and gothic horror do not mix, and the best moments in the film occur at the mostly gothic-tinged end, where the monsters roam the subterranean vaults of the castle to attack whomever is in their way. The fight between the Wolf Man and the mummy is a highpoint, but there is no battle between Dracula and Frankenstein, as the title suggests. Not a problem, since both of these "monsters" look ridiculous, particularly the Frankenstein-type monster (called a creation of "Dr. Feranksollen," due to fear of a lawsuit from Universal). The Daninsky character, unfortunately, is not really explored. He is just one among many in the nightmarish ghoul group. The film ends with a sweet message that man with his hot passions is superior to cold-hearted aliens. 

[Source print: United American. Recorded in LP speed, this print is filled with splices, and United American squeezes the sides in, to get more of the scope film into the frame; color quality is tepid. What's worse, there are cuts in the film (the source print is actually the British version of the movie.) An American TV version, Assignment Terror, apparently restores these cuts, but it's unclear whether there's even a better version around. Phil Hardy's Encyclopedia of Horror Movies lists a time of 89 min.; the United American version is listed as 77 min. Twelve extra minutes could make some difference, particularly if they deal with the Daninsky character. Some difference, but probably not much. A complete, fine copy of this film, with scope dimensions intact, will necessitate a reappraisal, however.]

Assignment Terror. What a difference a tape makes! This version, from Luminous Film & Video Wurks, is the most complete print of Los Monstruos del Terror currently available. Actually a French print layered with English-language dubbing from another print, Assignment Terror is presented in the fullest widescreen ratio I've yet seen, and sans the cuts found in the United American version. Additionally, the beginning is now complete and relatively healthy, unlike the splicy, erratic jitters that so marred the UA print. The result of all of these differences is that we finally get a good taste of what the film might have been like on the screen and, more importantly, what the artistic intentions were of the filmmakers. Indeed, this time around, I wasn't bothered by the "alien" angle--in fact, it became apparent that the film emotionally centered around the aliens and the Michael Rennie character, Odo Varnoff. (No surprise now, that the film once had a working title of El Hombre que Vino de Ummo/The Man Who Came from Ummo.) A sequence missing from the United American print, with Rennie looking upon go-go dancers with distaste but maybe some stirring of erotic feelings and then going over to the bar for a drink, underlines the conflict in controlling emotions that are considered at time human "weaknesses," yet which are ultimately powerful and undeniable. You walk in our human shoes and you cannot but help to be effected. Another important sequence, which has Rennie shedding tears while punishing the Karin Dor character, was lost in the full screen UA print but is clearly seen in the Luminous version. Then there's the look of the film. In widescreen the movie just looks better, gathering more information at the sides and presenting a more aesthetic sense of composition. Not to say that we have a perfect film here. There should have been more development of the Daninsky character and, particularly, the love affair that arises almost instantaneously between him and a female assistant of Varnoff. Perhaps some footage exists somewhere that elaborates these points, perhaps not. Whatever the case, the film cries out for such exposition. The worse thing about the movie, though, can never be altered. The makeup on the "Frankenstein Monster" character is simply awful, awful, awful! Even Jess Franco had better looking "Frankenstein" monsters, and that's saying a lot!

[Source print: Luminous Film & Video Wurks. Widescreen, with a minor reddish vertical line along the right edge and some information still missing along the left (no wonder, the film was originally presented in 70mm!), recorded in SP speed, this is a French print with added English-dubbing from another print; at times this video surgery works quite well, but there are instances of faulty synchronization (due to PAL/SECAM conversion?) where one character's speech overlaps another character's moving lips. Even with these difficulties, this is the best version I've seen of this film, and Luminous should be commended for putting it together. Running time ca. 83 minutes.]

Addendum: Well, a far better quality version of LOS MONSTRUOS has turned up. Its origin is a German tv showing, and the clarity and widescreen dimensions outshine previous versions. Unfortunately, only in the German language. 

-- Mirek

 

 

 

Screen captures from Germany's DVD of DRACULA JAGT FRANKENSTEIN show the best picture quality so far, though in the darkesh side.

 

 

Contact info: Mirek Lipinski at eurosin@aol.com