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July 2, 2021

Frankenstein vs Dracula (aka Assignment Terror) 1970 - Movie Review

There’s no way in hell I’m going to enjoy this movie to the point of singing its praises, or commending its production value, acting, makeup, f/x, plot, etc. There’s…just no fucking way.

Spoiler Alert I: I was right.

SPOILER ALERT II: I’m probably going to spoil plot lines and twists so if you haven’t seen it, stop reading, go watch the film, then come back.

Frankenstein vsDracula (aka Assignment Terror) is the most convoluted, ridiculous film I’ve watched in a while. Plot description on IMDB: After an alien convinces a werewolf, Dracula, Mummy, and Frankenstein’s monster (at least they got that right) to help him destroy the earth, all hell breaks loose.

And this is absolutely NOT the plot.

Well, it is and it isn’t. The basics are kinda there. What’s going on is a superior (in their minds) alien race is dying. They need to find a new planet. They decide on Earth but wouldn’t you know it, it’s filled with earthlings. So they plan to exploit mankind’s foolish superstitions and fears (you know, monsters and shit) in order to dominate them or destroy them completely.

Sure, they could blow up the entire human race with nukes, but they need the planet intact. Otherwise, they’ll have no place to colonize. Duh. And despite the fact they’ve already got a shit ton of agents and spies in place on Earth, the success of this particular mission will decide if they end up calling Earth home or they die out completely.

And you’re going with this whole scary monster thing, huh? Okay then…

The three main aliens working on this RIDICULOUS plan are Dr. Odo Warnoff (the most condescending of the trio), Dr. Maleva Kerstein, and Dr. Kerian. Because the aliens are soooo superior to humans, they don’t have to worry about becoming influenced by their puny fears and emotions. So the aliens are incarnated into existing human bodies. And since they know that beautiful women are like powerful magnets, they’ll use the buxom beauties to attract statesmen, scientists, and generals, then steal all their vital secrets.

I’m sure that’ll work out just great for you.

OMG! BTS is coming in concert next summer!

They find an actual vampire, werewolf, mummy, and Farancksalan’s monster (no, I’m not kidding). Their big plan is to use a mind control device on each one, turning them into willing slaves to the aliens, while the aliens use the monsters’ blood to create clones that will destroy mankind.

Fortunately for us Earthlings, the cops figure out what the hell is going on and thwart the alien takeover, after a few epic monster battles, of course. HUMANS: 1; ALIENS: 0


Normally I would delve into further details of the film, scene by scene. But honestly, I can’t be bothered. It’s not really worth anyone’s time to stare into the abysmal nature of this movie. But I can discuss a few elements.

  1. I really enjoyed Paul Naschy, who played – you guessed it – his iconic role as the werewolf, Waldemar Daninsky. He was the only monster given a fully developed backstory, and the years of Naschy playing this exact character backs it up. He’s really one of the few characters that the viewer can get behind and root for. Any completist Naschy fans out there will probably want to watch this, just for Waldemar.
  2. The makeup for the mummy is the best of all the monsters. Looks very realistic, and not just a bunch of latex and toilet paper mushed together to create the appearance of a desiccated corpse.
  3. There was slight character development with Inspector Tobermann. He takes on the brunt of the investigation, falls in love, starts to get overstressed with monster hallucinations, and gets to have all the human-on-monster fights in the film. He also had some fun banter with his boss. I’m not saying I gave a shit about anything he did, but at least the writer tried. Guess who the writer was? Paul Naschy. Hmmm, that could explain why the werewolf got so much play…


Beyond these few things, the movie was a pile of nonsensical idiocy. We never come back to the idea of beautiful women stealing secrets from powerful men; aliens hammer on the idea of how superior they are but become susceptible to human emotion and fuck up their mission, in a completely surprising and not predictable in any way turn of events; the high mucky mucks in the police force immediately believe the story of aliens using monsters to destroy the world. Naschy missed a huge opportunity to explore that aspect to create tension.

The music never fit any scene it was used in. The editing was choppy at best, migraine inducing at worst, and made transitions so muddled that I couldn’t be sure we had moved on to a brand-new scene until 30 seconds after the cut. Most of the special effect makeup was terrible, particularly for Fetasalad’s monster. It looks like someone put a hat box on his head and painted over it.

Here, watch me do my Dirty Harry impression.

I did like that Waldemar’s character had the most backstory, but some of it seems rather convenient just to be able to give credence to monsterkind in general by explaining how a high-ranking judge crossed paths with the werewolf years earlier. With that, and more intricate coincidences, made the rest of the monsters shallow and unimportant. But again, Naschy wrote the story and the screenplay.

By the time we reach the conclusion, complete with alien lab explosion, and our cop hero philosophizing out loud for the benefit of us all, the story has become so convoluted and overflowing with minutia, the viewer feels dissatisfied, empty, and probably pissed at losing 90 minutes of their life they can never get back.

1 hatchet (out of 5)

P.S. I don’t know why this was ever titled Frankenstein vs Dracula because 1) Dracula isn’t the vampire in this movie; and 2) the werewolf and Frank keep duking it out, for reasons unexplained.




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