We kick off the Svengoolie anniversary month with the first of four new shows for June- with John Carradine again portraying the vampire count- but not in the old country, nor in the Louisiana bayous- in the rather unusual setting of the wild west! He’s out to claim a ranch- and its pretty young owner- as his own – even if he has to face one of history’s greatest gunslingers- in “Billy the Kid VS Dracula”!
As this 1966 cowboy chiller opens, it’s nighttime, and a caravan of immigrants is sleeping- only to be visited by what appears to be- a vampire! The well-timed appearance of a cross seems to thankfully turn him away from their young daughter. Soon, we meet another group travelling by stagecoach- one, a tall, thin, well-dressed fellow, was picked up in the middle of nowhere! His fellow travelers include a liquor salesman ( who enjoys his own samples) and a woman who owns the Double Bar-B Ranch, along with her brother, whom she is entrusting to take over management of the place, assisting her and her beautiful daughter Betsy. The mysterious stranger orchestrates an attack on the stage- enabling him to assume the identity of the brother- and move in on the ranch!
Meanwhile, Betsy is awaiting the return of her mom and uncle at the ranch- with her fiancé, the ranch foreman, Billy Bonney. Yes, THAT Billy Bonney- Billy the Kid- but, he’s now reformed. That doesn’t matter much to Dan Thorpe, the man he replaced as foremen –and as Betsy’s beau! He’s looking for any excuse to get back at the ex-gunslinger.
Word comes about the stagecoach massacre- but somehow, Betsy’s uncle was not there, claiming he rode ahead of the stage, and has taken a room at the town’s saloon/inn. Also arriving at the saloon is the immigrant family we saw at the start of the movie- and they have no doubt that the attack was perpetrated by the vampire they saw. That very fiend appears in the saloon, but uses his hypnotic power to keep the daughter from revealing who he is! He obviously is not done with the immigrant lass- and afterward moves on to the ranch, where he proclaims himself guardian of the lovely Betsy as well as owner of the ranch. Billy, warned about who dear Uncle might be by the immigrant mother ( yes, she’s Virginia Christine- best known as “Mrs. Olsen” from the “Folgers” commercials), interrupts a one-on-one meeting between Unc and Betsy- and so begins the vampire’s scheme to eliminate Billy from the picture and take control of the ranch and his “niece” ( ewww!)- with very UN-uncle-like intentions! Rival Thorpe does all he can to help- while Billy’s battle against the supernatural menace is joined by the immigrant mom and a friendly female doctor. And then there’s the family’s old mine…
This film, which John Carradine wasn’t very fond of, has some less-than-special effects we’ll point out to you- and we’ll go over the cast and the director’s reputation, while also providing the usual Sven fun!
“Billy the Kid VS Dracula" blazes a trail on MeTV tonight at 8pm eastern/pacific, 7 central – if unsure of time and channel, check local listings or at www.metv.com . Once again- if you’re setting your DVR to record- check what they are listing our show as- the show title Svengoolie or the movie title. Lots of Sven fans live-Tweet during the show on Twitter- you can join them, using the hashtag #svengoolie . Chicago area viewers can relive the tail end of our “Monstrous May” with “Ghost of Frankenstein” at 11 am on WCIU, the U !
Next Saturday, I’ll be appearing at The Franklin Park Fest, in Franklin Park, IL from 11 am to 1 pm! Come meet me, get an autograph and take a photo while enjoying this family-friendly festival with live music, a carnival, and more! Check out the “appearances” tab on this website for more information.
We are SO CLOSE to revealing some big news- please be patient, and keep checking back here!
Meanwhile, saddle up for corpuscles in the corral tonight on MeTV!