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The Independent Critic

 Cheezy Flicks' Shockorama!: Two Films From William Beaudine 
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Billy the Kid vs. Dracula
Billy the Kid vs. Dracula

In the first film of a fantastic two-fer directed by William Beaudine from those fine folks at Cheezy Flicks, purveyors of all things B-movie related, we also have the best film of the pair, 1966's Billy the Kid vs. Dracula.

Think about it... The world's most diabolical killer versus the world's deadliest gunfighter and, of course, a beautiful woman.

In a dual role as Count Dracula and James Underhill, John Carradine is a blast with an awesome mixture of cheezy evil and Snidely Whiplash smirking. He's matched nicely by Chuck Courtney as William "Billy the Kid" Bonney, and despite the obvious low-budget and pre-techno cinema you'll be amazed at how much you enjoy this film. In the film, Dracula has traveled to the American west and is intent on making a beautiful ranch owner (Melinda Plowman) his next victim. He doesn't realize, of course, that Billy the Kid is her fiance' and he'll do whatever it takes to stop him.

Fans of serious cinema aren't likely to find much to love here, but fans of old school B-movies know what to expect and will have a blast with it. There's no question that John Carradine is far and away the best actor here and, as well, there's no question that some folks in this ensemble cast are downright awful.

Isn't that the point?

Carradine, who also played Dracula in the 40's, clearly understands that this isn't serious cinema and doesn't expend much in the way of energy or intentionality. Instead, Carradine mostly plays the part physically with bulging eyes and an intimidating presence.

Director William Beaudine was a prolific filmmaker who created over 250 films in the course of his approximately 60-year career before his death in the 70's (some were silent films and shorts). If he were alive when the Razzies were created, he'd likely have a few on his mantle. He did make several Bowery Boys films that are fondly remembered for all the right reasons.

Billy the Kid vs. Dracula isn't a great film, but it's a great example of a B-movie that has endured and carries with it a tremendous affection from most B-movie fans. The film is now available as part of a DVD two-fer from Cheezy Flicks Entertainment, a wonderful distribution outfit that focuses its energy exclusively on the B-movie scene.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic


"Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter"

The second film in this Beaudine two-fer is likely to only please hardcore Beaudine fans and hardcore fans of B-movies. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is, somewhat surprisingly, actually preferred by most B-movie fans over Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (which I definitely prefer). Both films were completed in the same year and are generally regarded as companion pieces. Both films are also generally regarded as Z-movies, films so bad they don't really even qualify as B-movies. However, again, if you enjoy this sort of thing (and many do) you'll definitely have a blast with the film.

Jesse James (John Lupton) ends up at the doorstep of Maria Frankenstein (Narda Onyx) after a robbery goes wildly awry and his
badly wounded partner needs help. Maria is more than willing to help, but does so with the intention of doing a bit of brain swapping with this newly discovered strapping young man.

Sound silly? Indeed, but it's also quite a bit of fun.

It is arguable that this film is a more competently made film in terms of its production quality, but the vocal work is more shrill and the acting goes quite a bit more over-the-top (ie, irritating). Carl Hittleman's script meanders quite a bit, and the point of Maria's experiments are never clearly revealed.

While Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter doesn't have the star power of a John Carradine, it does have a stronger ensemble cast with Cal Bolder and Juanita Lopez also showing up and having a great time here.

For more information on this two-fer from Cheezy Flicks. visit the Cheezy Flicks website!

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic