It would be easy to assume that Blacula is a cheesy throwaway with camp-only value, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Blackenstein, on the other hand, is a sad, sad excuse for a film. On some level, though, that’s what makes it so good — er, well, bearable. It’s bad in every conceivable way that a movie can be bad — plot, acting, direction, special effects, lighting, sound, editing, and most likely catering — but if you can make your way past the horrendous pacing (hint: fast-forward), there are some unintentional laugh-out-loud moments, such as the hydrogen peroxide bottle in the laboratory with “DNA” scrawled in magic marker on the side.
The story revolves around Dr. Winnifred Walker (Ivory Stone), whose fiance Eddie (Joe De Sue, whose acting is possibly more lifeless before he turns into the monster) loses his arms and legs in Vietnam. She approaches Dr. Stein (John Hart), who supposedly just won the Nobel Peace Prize for “solving the DNA genetic code”, for help. In the midst of attaching Eddie’s limbs, Stein’s butler Malcolm (Roosevelt Jackson) sabotages the experiment because he wants Winnie for himself. As a result, Blackenstein is unleashed to kill indiscriminately.
For all its suckitude, Blackenstein delivers a bit of T&A and some surprisingly explicit gore, with intestine-ripping scenes years before the likes of Dawn of the Dead (I’m not saying that it’s well-done, but it’s there.). Writer Frank Saletri is rumored to have directed a film called Black the Ripper in 1975, but it has yet to be found. That’s probably for the best.