No, I’m not joking. This is a real movie about the meeting between the infamous Billy the Kid and the mythical Dracula. I had heard about this film long ago and was never able to track it down until the magic of Netflix. This is a film for those that enjoy a bad movie. The fact that everyone took this film completely serious is what makes it enjoyable. Be prepared for silly dialogue, sillier violence and a few major WTF moments. Then enjoy Billy the Kid vs Dracula.
The story centers on Dracula, played this time by John Carradine, who was no stranger to the role. He had played the immortal count back in the mid 1940s in Universal’s House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein. It might be noted that for an immortal he died in both films. Twenty years is a long time for a moral actor though and Carradine seems ill fit for Dracula. He seems much a threatening villain, and more a cantankerous senior citizen who has just found out casino night was canceled. I have a lot of respect for Carradine and his work in horror, but this wasn’t the right casting for a serious film. For fans of bad cinema though, it’s brilliant but sad casting.
For some ungodly reason Count Dracula is traveling on a stage coast out west. In another weird move on of the fellow passengers, decides to show the leering old man a picture of her nubile young daughter. Dracula’s face turns red and his eyes bug out. Seriously, this is his “I’m a vampire face.” Ignoring this “I’m a perv with a hard on” look from the stranger, she goes on to tell him about her ranch and the cave full of bats nearby.
Since Dracula is an elderly immortal and apparently not much for conflict, he arranges for a group of Indians to attack the stage-coach. Killing everyone on board except him (he failed to get on at the last stop). After the slaughter, he pops in and assumes the identity of the ranch owners brother. Did I mention he did all of this in the bright sunlight ? In fact throughout the movie Carradine’s Dracula moves about freely in the daytime without so much as a sparkle.
Now we cut to the ranch where, the nubile object of Dracula’s elderly erection, Betty, is target practicing with Billy the Kid. Now it seems that Billy has reformed and is living under the assumed name of William Bonney. Yeah, yeah, well that’s the way I understood it. Facts, smacks, we’re talking Hollywood baby.
Billy has settled down and now spends his days courting Betty, running the ranch, and beating the shit out of his pudgy ranch hand plated by Harey Carey Jr. Though usually Billy has to resort to pulling his gun and threatening to kill him. He is reformed ya know.
Dracula shows up and moves into the ranch in order to woo Betty. Which with him pretending to be her uncle should be easy. This brings him into conflict with Billy. Billy begins to believe “Mr. Underhill” is a vampire. Why? Because a couple of Germans told him so. It might seem hard to belive but the townspeople are reluctant to belive Billy, a former cold blooded killer, when he tells them the kindly gentleman is a blood thirsty immortal demon. A blood thirsty immortal demon with wrinkles and a few grey hairs.
Battle lines are drawn between Billy, the Sheriff, and the local female doctor on one side, and Dracula, the mesmerized Betty and fatty the cow wrangler on the other. The climactic battle takes place in the abandoned silver mine. Where Billy shoots Dracula to no avail (Bullets wont hurt a vampire, you have to drive a stake through his heart) and then throws his pistol at him. While bullets had no effect, the thrown pistol knocks Dracula on his ass. He lays stunned long enough for Billy to stake him.
Staking not only kills Dracula but sends a bat flying out of the cave to crash and die, while Dracula lies inside wilting away. Once he is gone, Betty revives, and that’s pretty much it.
Billy the Kid vs Dracula is one you seriously have to see to believe. There are so many scenes that will leave you laughing. Most notably for me was the “vampire face”, which was simply a red light shown on Carradine while he bugged his eyes out, and Dracula getting floored by a thrown pistol. It’s stupid, silly fun. It does drag as a lot of these cheapos do, and it’s one of the things that hurt these so bad they are good films. Bad acting and bad plot add to the fun at times, but boring and slow takes away from that fun.
Also the girl playing Betty, was really boring. If I was Dracula, I would have nailed the Indian hottie that he drained and left to piss off the war party. Carradine was fun to watch but probably not in the way he hoped. Watching him move across the screen, you wanted to give him a hand more than run in terror. Carradine played Dracula again in the 70s, and I would love to see that when I get the chance. I really do love the old gent, and he’s a true horror icon.
So final verdict? If you can’t enjoy a bad film, don’t bother. But if you can, and you want to see a piece of Americana on film, check out Billy the Kid vs Dracula