Billy the Kid Versus Dracula
billy the kid vs. dracula | billy the kid versus dracula | william beaudine | carl k. hittleman | john carradine | chuck courtney | melinda plowman | dracula | billy the kid | vampire | action | drama | western | united states
Film: Billy the Kid Versus Dracula
Director: William Beaudine
Writer: Carl K. Hittleman
Starring: John Carradine, Chuck Courtney and Melinda Plowman
This film starts with a family in the American west. They are actually from what I am assuming is Germany. The mother is played by Virginia Christine, her husband by Walter Janovitz and their daughter by Hannie Landman. They hear something and it is a bat. They are superstitious. They go to sleep. The bat becomes John Carradine, who is Count Dracula. He attacks Landman.
Carradine then gets picked up by a stagecoach. Inside of it is a woman, played by Marjorie Bennett. With her is her brother, played by William Forrest. We learn that Forrest is from Boston and with Bennett’s husband dead, he will help her run her ranch. She shows a picture of her daughter to Carradine and he is smitten. She informs him that Forrest has never met her daughter.
The stagecoach has to stop for the night and when it does, they see a tribe of Native Americans. Carradine’s eye is caught by an attractive maiden, played by Charlita. He attacks her and she is found the next morning. The stagecoach starts off again, being chased by the Native Americans. It then crashes, killing everyone. Carradine changes into a bat, heading toward town.
We then meet Bennett’s daughter, played by Melinda Plowman. She is now engaged to the lead ranch hand. The problem is that her mother doesn’t know yet. She is engaged to Chuck Courtney, who is actually the notorious thief and gunman Billy the Kid. He has reformed his life. Courtney heads for town while Plowman gets ready to join him.
Carradine arrives first. He meets with Richard Reeves, who runs the saloon. He takes a room upstairs and states that he does not want to be bothered until the stagecoach arrives. Courtney comes next and goes up to meet him. Soon after it is reported that the stagecoach has crashed, killing everyone. Also coming to this place is Christine, Janovitz and Landman. She needs medical attention, so the doctor is called who is played by Olive Carey. She doesn’t know much as her husband was the doctor until his death. Carradine sees they are there and Landman tries to tell everyone he was the one that hurt her. Carradine uses his ability of persuasion to stop her.
That night Carradine finishes off Landman. Her mother knows about vampires and its lore. She ends up in the service of Plowman. Carradine is posing as her uncle James Underhill. He doesn’t like Christine, who has an idea of who he is and what he is.
Courtney and Carradine butt heads from the beginning and Bing Russell, who also works on the farm is trying his best to get him fired so he can take over. Carradine is also interested in the silver mine as he can setup it as his home.
Courtney continues to anger Carradine and when he starts to believe he could be a vampire, he is fired. Will Courtney prove that Carradine is a vampire before it is too late? Can Carradine use his power to convince Plowman to be his bride? Will anyone survive this ordeal or will the frontier be overrun by vampires?
I will give this film credit as it is an interesting crossover. This meshes the western with the horror film. Not only that, but you have one of the best fictional characters of all time going against one of the greatest outlaws in history. This film actually kind of follows the story of Dracula, in that he has found someone he wants to have as his mate and goes after her. I think Carradine is a good Dracula. Courtney isn’t all that bad as Billy the Kid either. He does come off as real goody two-shoes which is odd for someone who was an outlaw. I also found Plowman to be quite attractive as well.
I did feel there were quite a few issues. The first is that the word vampire is used in the first couple minutes of the film. I think that what makes vampire films scary is that there is the unknown. There are people dying in the same mysterious way and we don’t know why. Christine thinks she hears a vampire and then she is the source of most of the knowledge the rest of the film. I thought everyone seemed to know what a vampire was for the most part, which was kind of odd to me. This film was also kind of boring. Not a lot happens. There is one gunfight and then a hilarious kill scene of Dracula. I also didn’t understand how Carradine could be out in the sunlight, when that is supposed to be his weakness.
With that said, I would avoid this film. It has a good concept and the story isn’t all that bad. There is a meshing of two genres and combining a great fictional character and having him square off against a legendary outlaw. The problem is that we don’t get much in the way of the action though. The acting isn’t all that bad, but there are a lot of things that don’t make sense. This film violates the rules of vampires. It also doesn’t build suspense or pull any emotions out of me. This film is a cult classic though, so if you’re into that kind of thing, then I would say give it a viewing. If not, then definitely there are better Dracula films out there.
My Rating: 3 out of 10