DIE NACHT DER OFFENEN SÄRGE
"The Night of the Open Coffins"
Drácula contra Frankenstein / Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein / The Screaming Dead
1971, Colosseo-Film (Germany), 2.35:1, 82m (BD-A)
Though there has never been any particular shortage of it, Jess Franco's DRÁCULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN has always been a much sought-after title by his collectors. It had a badly-pan&scanned VHS release here in the States from Wizard Video back in the 1980s, under the title THE SCREAMING DEAD, after which it surfaced with modest letterboxing and a different title sequence in Japan, a version subsequently marketed here through Bill Knight's mail-order company Midnight Video. There have been subsequent DVD releases, both here and abroad, but they have always been marred by something - usually an inaccurate aspect ratio. This new German Blu-ray release, region-free, is the first ever to present the film in its authentic 2.35:1 format, but it's still not all that we hoped for. The nudity promised by a swatch of German lobby cards, for instance, does not materialize on this disc, which strongly suggests we may never see the alternate "adult" version that exists for so many other Franco titles.
The film is one of those dashed-off-on-a-napkin Franco plots: When Dracula's reign of terror is finally foiled, Dr. Frankenstein arrives in Transylvania (in a limousine driven by a misshapen chauffeur - though the film, up to that time, has the look of a period piece) and reactivates the vampire with his laboratory equipment, enslaving him to do his bidding. Drunk with success, Frankenstein unleashes his "New Gods" on the village - causing Amira, a gypsy sorceress (Geneviève Deloir, the future Mrs. Ivan Reitman, giving the film's best performance), to invoke the return of the Wolf Man on the night of the full moon.
Most easily obtained Stateside from Diabolik DVD or Amazon.de.
(c) 2017 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.