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The Evil of Count Dracula (1974)

The Power of Frankenstein (1974)

Lincoln International Studios’ first foray into horror was inspired by Hammer’s successful “Dracula in 1972 AD,” which brought new life to gothic horror but set it in the modern day (making it cheaper to produce.)

The hastily written scripts by brothers Bishop and Deacon Lincoln were filmed back to back in Yugoslavia (The same area used in the film “Gymkata”) in the blazing hot summer of 1973; both films starred local Yugoslavian theatre actors whose lines were dubbed into English by the late Mel Welles.

For Dracula, the actor’s name is under the alias “Radu Warlock,” the actor portraying the Frankenstein monster is listed only as the mysterious “Azrak.”

Both films serve as loose modern-day adaptations of their source novels.

A scene from The Evil of Count Dracula where the Count has his way with his first victim.

The Evil of Count Dracula” revolves around an all-girl rock group, “the Stokers,” and Johnathan, their manager, having to spend the night in Castle Dracula when their van breaks down on the last leg of their European tour.

The film presents the Count as perfectly charming until he strikes, and then the film uses the uncommon trait of vampiric transformation during those scenes; his hands become large claws, and a green gel is used to give him an undead pallor.

The film also utilizes a copious amount of blood, and the original Japanese print featured a glaring amount of female nudity, which was cut for the North American release (which was again terribly butchered for Television.)

UK Lobby card for “The Power of Frankenstein”

The Power of Frankenstein” features a handsome young descendant of the mad scientist travelling to his family home (which looks suspiciously like Castle Dracula). There, he runs into romance, an evil hunchback and the monster, who gives a mostly mute performance. The film again provides several nude village women and an angry monster who tears his enemies apart in a gory explosion of stage blood.

The uncredited actor billed as “Azrak” is believed to be a young Austrian bodybuilder who towers over the cast until he meets his final demise falling off of a power plant dam.

A very rare set of Spectra-X Glasses from Lincoln Monsters

The films were marketed double feature across Europe in 1974, with the extra marketing of Spectra-X, a psychedelic film process that gave the films a very “Mod” feel. They wouldn’t hit the US until 1975 when Trigon distribution ran heavily edited (all of the nudity and some of the gore were removed) but poorly promoted campaigns in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, eventually selling even more heavily edited prints to Television.

Rare Newspaper ad for the Lincoln Monsters

While Famous Monsters magazine deemed Radu Warlock “the new king of Horror”, other critics were not as kind. Leonard Maltin called the films “Cheap, crass exploitation of Karloff and Lugosi,” and Roger Ebert deemed the films “pointless knockoffs of movies that aren’t much better,” but in fairness, they were watching the heavily edited US versions, which sacrificed the story.

The films were only released on home video once by Dungeon Video in 1983; these were well-worn TV prints with so many missing scenes that the movie barely made up 80 minutes. A legal dispute forced all copies to be recalled by 1984, and they are very rare and highly collectible now.

There are rumours of a Japanese laser disk of “The Evil of Count Dracula,” but it’s primarily confused with the similarly titled Japanese film “The Evil of Dracula,” which was also released in 1974. (Editor’s note: The movie was retitled “Dracula Castle” in Japan)

When Lincoln International Pictures collapsed, their film library was subject to numerous legal battles over ownership and rights. These arguments held the films up for decades until the warehouse fire of 1992 destroyed the original masters of the film.

Some believe the fire was arson, but it’s never been proven.

Lincoln Monsters releases on VHS by Dungeon Video.

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