Dracula vs. Frankenstein/Lava

November 1, 2008

 When was the last time you received a CD without a barcode and the liner notes are audio by the producer on the last track of the CD? How many CD’s do you have in your collection that can claim the honor of being in a list of the 50 worst movies ever made? Elysee Productions LLC has introduced Dracula vs. Frankenstein, their second recording in a series of cult soundtrack recordings for collectors (limited pressing of 1000).

Starring J. Carroll Naish (his last film), Lon Chaney Jr. (his last film), Anthony Eisley (Hawaiian Eye), and Russ Tamblyn, this film directed by Al Adamson also is disguised under 6 other names something Sam Sherman did as part of his Independent-International Pictures Company. Adamson and Sherman teamed up on such drive-in classics as Five Bloody Graves, Horror of the Blood Monsters, and Brain of Blood a short list of unforgettable films. Sherman is still working and plans a new feature film Escape of the Living Dead for 2009. This reviewer lived his teen years in the 60’s and while they were playing during that time I can’t remember any of them! Perhaps they were so bad I wanted to forget or I was being distracted.

William Lava, an unknown name to some of you, was one of the busier Hollywood composers spending time on cartoons (100‘s), serials, and low budget films often as an uncredited composer. He also worked on television shows F-Troop, Cheyenne, Pink Panther Show, Twilight Zone, Thriller, and others. I was first introduced to Lava and his fine work that he did on the radio program The Lone Ranger. Even today some of the cues he created still stand out in my mind during danger, action, and suspense situations on the timeless radio show. He nearly always worked with smaller orchestras but managed to produce a fuller sound, as is the case with this soundtrack, which only had 13 in the orchestra and included a theremin and a tuba! Quite an unusual combination.

The soundtrack is divided into three sections of material:

1…The Re-Edited Cues from Samuel Sherman used in the film. As explained in the audio liner notes Sam didn’t really like what Bill Lava came up with and made changes as well as using other cues from Harry Lubin, Universal and others.

2…The William Lava Session Cues originally done for the film. These are by far the best material on the CD in spite of the opinion of Sherman. Lava was a professional, knew what he was doing, and with the budget he had to work with came up with appropriate material. There is no theme I’ll ever remember and the majority is low register underscore mostly dissonant but definitely designed to create the mood of a horror film effectively.

3…Outakes, Radio Spots created by Sherman, and the Audio Liner Notes. The radio spots are fun to listen to especially if you grew up back in the 60’s as it relived some memories but after a listen or two it is just something to have. The same can be said about the outakes, which include the voice of the recording engineer or the composer as part of the cue. They’re nice to have but strictly as bonus material.

Overall this is going to appeal to fans of the film, collectors, and people who enjoy the work of Lava. This CD along with Mad Doctor of Blood Island is available from his site www.elyseeproductions.com.  Here is a chance to own soundtracks from two of the worst movies ever made.

Track Listing:

THE RE-EDITED CUES

1… Main Title (2:55)

2… Dramatic Horror (1:48)

3… Battle of the Creatures (2:11)

4… Walking Demon (1:46)

THE WILLIAM LAVA SESSION CUES

5… Prologue (:41)

6… Main Title (2:33)

7… Cue 4 (1:08)

8… Cue 5 (5:55)

9… Cue 6 (:54)

10.. Cue 8 (1:40)

11.. Cue 9 (:54)

12.. Cue 10 (3:31)

13.. Cue 14 (:53)

14.. Cue 20 (:53)

15.. Cue 21 (Jazz Chase-Not used in the film) (1:50)

16.. Cue 22 (:22)

BONUS TRACKS, OUTAKES & SESSION CHATTER

17.. Prologue (Take 3) (:48)

18.. Main Title (Take 1) (2:45)

19.. Cue 8 (Take 10 and Pickups) (2:37)

20.. Cue 9 (Take 14-Start and Stop) (:27)

21.. Cue 17 (Take 19-Shock Sting ) (:14)

22.. Cue 21 (Take 21-Jazz Chase) (1:59)

THE INDEPENDENT-INTERNATIONAL RADIO SPOT-0-RAMA

23.. Sixteen (16) Radio Spot Commercials

AUDIO LINER NOTES BY SAMUEL SHERMAN

24.. Commentary (13:30)

 

 

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