Hooray for the dread, fright and- Boo! Tonight on MeTV, we celebrate the 4th by observing in the sky- not fireworks- but a sinister bat-that transforms into a familiar vampire count- portrayed again by John Carradine! This time, however, he is not in the old country, nor in the Louisiana bayous- he is roaming the range in the old west! He wants to stake ( oops- wrong word to use ) His claim on a family ranch- as well as its pretty young owner- but to do so, he’ll have to face a notorious gunslinger- it’s the showdown of “Billy the Kid VS Dracula”!
This unusual 1966 cowboy chiller opens on what was a peaceful night, with a caravan of immigrants sleeping out on the prairie- only to have their slumber disrupted by- a vampire!? The coincidental appearance of a cross luckily turns him away from a young daughter- but for how long?
We then meet another group of travelers in a stagecoach- one of which, a tall, thin, well-dressed fellow, was suspiciously picked up in the middle of nowhere! His fellow travelers include a liquor salesman ( who’s enjoying his own samples a wee bit too much) and two elderly folks- a woman who owns the Double Bar-B Ranch, and her brother, whom she is bringing in to help manage the place, along with herself and her beautiful daughter Betsy. The mysterious stranger, through the first of many devious acts, brings about an attack on the stage- which conveniently enables him to assume the identity of the brother- and thus take control of the ranch!
Meanwhile, young Betsy is awaiting the return of her mom and uncle to the ranch- with her fiancé, the ranch foreman, Billy Bonney. That name may sound familiar- because he was indeed known as gunslinger Billy the Kid- but, he’s now a reformed man. That doesn’t mean much to Dan Thorpe, the man he replaced as both foreman of the ranch–and in Betsy’s heart ! He’s looking for any excuse to get back at the ex-gunslinger, and return to both former statuses.
News breaks of the stagecoach massacre- with Betsy’s mom among the casualties- but somehow, Betsy’s “uncle” was NOT there, claiming he rode ahead of the stage, and took a room at the town’s saloon/inn. Also making their way to the saloon is the immigrant family we saw at the start of the movie- and they-especially the mother- have no doubt that the stagecoach attack was the work of the vampire they narrowly escaped. That very individual approaches them in the saloon, but uses his hypnotic power to keep the daughter from revealing who he is! He still has designs on the immigrant lass- and after taking care of this unfinished business, moves on to the ranch, where he proclaims himself guardian of the lovely Betsy -as well as new owner of the ranch. Billy, who was warned by the immigrant mother( yes, she’s Virginia Christine- best known as “Mrs. Olsen” from the “Folgers” commercials) about who dear Uncle might actually be, interrupts a one-on-one meeting between Betsy and the “uncle”- and triggers ( a gunfighter allusion!) the vampire’s scheme to eliminate Billy from the picture and take control of the ranch and his “niece”- with intentions very unbecoming an uncle! Billy’s rival Thorpe becomes an ally to the mysterious uncle, and does all he can to help- while Billy must battle against the supernatural menace, joined by the immigrant mom and a friendly female doctor, who both know the truth about the man taking over the ranch. Also playing into the scenario is the family’s old mine…which proves handy to the vampire uncle!
John Carradine wasn’t very fond of this film, which has some less-than-special effects we’ll point out to you- and we’ll go over the cast and the movie’s director’s reputation, while also providing the usual fun from the Svengoolie comedy corral!
“Billy the Kid VS Dracula" shows up on MeTV , not at high noon, but tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central – if unsure of time and channel, check local listings or at www.metv.com . Lots of Sven fans are live-Tweeting during the show on Twitter- you can join them, using the hashtag #svengoolie . Chicago area viewers get an encore of the Ray Harryhausen classic “Seventh Voyage of Sinbad”” at 11 am on the U .
The “Svengoolie At Home” box is selling briskly- as well as the Sven Studio Set- so, if you’re interested, visit our store here on our site or the store at www.metv.com
Tune in tonight to MeTV for six-guns and stakes!