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Thursday, January 22, 2009


You've simply gotta love any movie poster in which the hero looks like he just took a huge, fear-fueled dump in his jeans.

I dunno what the hell was going on back in 1966, but it sure was a banner year for the zero budget horror/western hybrid movie, what with JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER and this being unleashed around the same time. I was barely a year old when those landmarks in cinema came out, but some three years later I clearly recall encountering BILLY THE KID VERSUS DRACULA on TV, placing it among the very first handful of movies I ever saw, and I remembered parts of it vividly upon seeing it again nearly forty (!!!) years later.

Just like its sister film, JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER, BILLY THE KID VERSUS DRACULA was directed by William "One-Shot"Beaudine, but is the far livelier of the two movies thanks in no small part to the presence of legendary actor/whore John Carradine , whose famous deeper-than God's balls voice gave the film's vampire a bit of extra "oomph." Oh, and for the record, the vampire in this story is never identified as Dracula or even given a name at all, so go figure.

John Carradine as the film's vampire (significantly not Dracula), working the Jedi Mind Trick.

Much like its sister film, this flick bears the look and tone of an especially whacked-out episode of BONANZA, and the story kinda/sorta manages to outdo JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER thanks to being a lot more lively and featuring one of the worst (best?)endings in the history of either the Western or horror genres, but more on that shortly.

The movie opens as a family of German immigrants sleep outdoors next to their covered wagon and the unnamed vampire shows up to slake hisbloodthirst upon the family's nubile daughter, but he's driven off by a handy crucifix. Thwarted, the vampire hitches a ride with a stagecoach bearing a whiskey salesman, a widow who owns a ranch (which is the stagecoach's destination) and her bachelor banker brother from Boston. During a brief stopover, the vampire spots some friendlyInjuns and of course drains one of their number (a cute actress in cheesy costume shop Pocahontas drag), thus spurring said Injuns to totally massacre the stagecoach, killing everyone onboard . The vampire waits until the dust has settled and steals the banker's identification so he'll have an alias ready for when he shows up at the widow's ranch, his objective being the seduction andvampirism of the widow's comely niece, Betty (Melinda Plowman), so he'll have an undead squeeze to keep him warm on those lonely nights, er, days. Now going by the name of "Mr.Underhill ," Dracula (or whoever the fuck he is) arrives at the ranch and announces he's the new owner/proprietor now that the widow is dead, but first he kills the German immigrant girl whose family is staying at the local boarding house.

In case you're wondering how the hell Billy the Kid (Chuck Courtney) figures into all of this, he's now a reformed outlaw and the foreman at the ranch and is involved in a tepid territorial pissing contest with the previous foreman over him having usurped both the guy's job and his girl, the aforementioned Betty (the actual Western-style ranch conflict plot is utterly beside the point, so it won't be discussed any further, except to say that at one point the former foreman kicks Billy's ass likenobody's business). Anyway, Billy befriends the now-childless Germans and gets them jobs at the ranch, much to Drac's annoyance since they both have his number as being an undead suckface and know all the lore of how to spot and handle undead suckfaces (mirrors, wolfsbane at the windows, etc.). Needless to say, nobody believes the pair — although Billy begins to catch on — and their obvious suspicion of Drac doesn't please him one bit...

I'll spare you the rest of the particulars, but it all comes to a head when Drac kidnaps and semi-vampirizes Betty in order to make her his undead mate, and Billy hauls ass to her rescue. Upon arriving, Billy empties his revolver into the vampire, who merely looks at the outlaw like he's completely out of his mind and promptly hands Billy a pretty decentbeatdown (the second he's received thus far. Some Western tough guy!).

Dracula (or whoever he is), kicking Billy's ass.

As Billy lays on the ground, the sheriff and the town doctor show up and the sheriff also empties his gun into the vampire, who this time around actually states aloud that guns are useless against him. Once the sheriff's gun is empty, Billy gets up from the floor and grabs the sheriff's gun, lobbing it square into the vampire's face, sending him toppling to the floor unconscious. Billy then borrows a scalpel from the town doc and uses it in place of the traditional stake to polish off the evilsuckface. THE END.

No, seriously! That actually happens, and you can click here to see this flaming bit of lunacy for yourself!

At a mercifully short seventy-three minutes, BILLY THE KID VERSUS DRACULA must have been intended as part of a double or triple bill when originally released, and at so short a running time it's over and done with before it has a chance to get boring, so give it a look for a few cheap laughs if nothing else. And kids love it!

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