Al Adamson is one of the heroes of drive-in movie history. A true independent, his reputation lies somewhere between Ed Wood and Roger Corman. Adamson was a decent director, as far as ultra low budget movies are concerned, but he wasn't as shrewd or as talented as Corman. He doesn't have the cult appeal and fan appreciation of Herschell Gordon Lewis. The movies don't have the oddball charm Ray Dennis Steckler brought to his productions. They aren't as sleazy as Andy Milligan or as fun as something by William Castle. He made some pretty good movies. Satan's Sadist's comes directly to mind. Adamson also made some Thanksgiving fare with turkeys like Dracula Vs. Frankenstein.

I tried to watch Dracula Vs. Frankenstein a couple of times, but I never made it to the end. It's pretty bad. I love Satan's Sadists, and I consider it one of the most entertaining biker flicks. I didn't much like Blood of Ghastly Horror or Angel's Wild Women. I remember seeing a double bill at a decrepit drive-in when I was around eighteen years old. It was Nurse Sherri and House of Psychotic Women. The former is a Carrie/Exorcist ripoff directed by Adamson and the latter is a re-titled Paul Naschy Giallo called Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll. Both were distributed by Independent International Pictures, a company ran by Al Adamson and Sam Sherman.

When Dracula Met Frankenstein is an account of Sherman and Adamson's misadventures in the low, low budget screen trade. It's a detailed portrait of the world of business deals from the classic drive-in days.

Sherman writes with enthusiasm, but his prose isn't very compelling. His overuse of exclamation marks is grating, and a substantial amount of the book concerns details about the ups and downs of distribution deals. Frankly, that's one of the least interesting elements of moviemaking.

When Dracula Met Frankenstein is a game effort though, and I mostly enjoyed it. Sherman has some pretty good stories. There are also a lot of monotorious anecdotes in the book. Hearing about the re-titled, reedited, and regurgitated productions grew more than a little tedious.

I like the story about how Something Weird Video approached Herschell Gordon Lewis about distributing his movies on videotape. Gordon's response was "Why?"

Sam Sherman is proud of his efforts, even when they deserve little admiration. "One of our very best!" He seems like a good guy who made it in a tough business. I don't think he ever got wealthy, but he survived. That's saying a lot.

Al Adamson was murdered by a handyman in 1995, and he was entombed in concrete on his property. I was curious about it, but Sherman chose not to dwell upon the traumatic incident. The two were partners and best friends for a long time, and the subject is a painful one. Information about the whole thing can be obtained elsewhere.

I don't mean to sound too down on When Dracula Met Frankenstein. I liked some things about the book. I found myself skimming parts of the latter section, which detailed the Adamson productions. Often when I read something like this, I find myself wishing to fill in the blanks of my viewing. I cannot summon the interest in hunting down copies of Girls For Rent or Five Bloody Graves. They simply do not sound very good, or even entertaining. Maybe if it were the late seventies, and I was at a drive-in with a carload of friends and beer, but not to watch at home at this late date.

Written by Mark Sieber

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