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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Nicholson/Arkoff fans rejoice!Feb. 7 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Two of the cheesier films from AIP vaults are presented well on a really good DVD transfer. Herbert L. Strock directed both, and "Blood of Dracula" is really the better one. A girl vampire? What fun! Jerry Blaine singing "Puppy Love", and some crazy Lesbian overtones make this loads of fun. If it was released today, politically-correct idiots would be protesting. "How to Make a Monster" is also tacky, a sort of toned-up version of Ed Wood, but not as entertaining as Wood's films. If Ed Wood had studio backing, he might've had a chance. Mr. Strock had that support. Ed Wood was around at the wrong time; the drive-in crowd came only a bit later, and Nicholson & Arkoff cashed in. I absolutely love this stuff for its tackiness, bad acting, bad attempts at musical interludes... I was around for that drive-in crowd back when, and words can't express how fun it was. Even if the films were garbage, we were entertained, and, despite what critics say, I believe entertainment is what it's all about. I was entertained, and never forgot how much I enjoyed these tacky films.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Arkoff/AIP legacy revivedDec 1 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
Another double dip into the drive-in glory that is AIP. A double dip into the career of director Herbert L. Strock. How to Make a Monster (1958 - 73m). A madman is loose on a movie set. And it's hard to tell what killing is prepaid. Don't be shocked at the color part of the black and white film. Blood of Dracula (1957 - 68m) A woman is turned into a vampire by more than getting her neck bit.
If you grew up a fan of the Creature Double Feature or have bought up MGM's Midnite Movies, this is perfect for your collection.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Blood of DraculaAug. 26 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I have waited a long time for Blood of Dracula to come to DVD. In the mid-1990s I had a VHS version of the horror classic and, being the age I was at the time, enjoyed the campy fun as well as the chill of horror. I suppose this film plays on every students idea that his/her teacher is experiementing on them in one way or another.
If you have a young horror fan in the family this is a safe movie to enjoy as a Halloween treat and certainly has some history in their about the Arms Race. There is also a corny musical number that the family will enjoy laughing about before getting back to the vampire thrills.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HOW TO---AND HOW NOT TO---MAKE A MONSTERApril 30 2010
FRED C. DOBBS
- Published on Amazon.com
Like most grade B horror flicks of the 50's the poster art is significantly more menacing than the typically talky and tepid movie itself. And as is typical for these types of movies, the "G" factor [Gore, Guts, Gals] is a 1 out of 3, mainly due to the loony dames in Blood of Dracula. How To Make A Monster  was a mild surprise with its novel plot and effective lead actor. Lead Robert H. Harris, whose face will draw you to his numerous, superb Alfred Hitchcock Presents [1955-1962] roles, plays a Hollywood film monster-maker/make-up artist whose 25-year tenure at the studio is abruptly ended. It seems the new owners, who feel that times have changed, want to steer away from the horror genre. The old pro is not too pleased. He concocts a make-up cream that seems to diffuse through the skin and into the brain allowing for mind manipulation. He uses it on his last two actors---a couple of naive kids who are trying to make it in the business---one who plays Frankenstein and the other The Wolfman. The orders: kill---especially those who have pink-slipped him. Harris is splendid as the portly, glib and perturbed monster-maker who himself becomes a fiend, murdering vicariously. An actor named Paul Brinegar, who also appeared in a few Alfred Hitchcock Presents [AHP] episodes, plays Harris' loyal but inept and spineless assistant annoyingly well. He starts to become unglued when a nosey security guard starts putting things together and the cops start closing in. A bit creepy at the end as Harris tries to silence the now-cognizant young actors by inviting them to his museum-like home which is filled with the cephalic replicas of the monsters he has created over the years [including some actual American International Pictures monsters from prior films]. A fire is accidentally started and the replicas begin to melt in rather macabre fashion [see MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM, 1933, for the inspiration]. Although this is a black-and-white movie this last part is presented in color! This one played like an extended AHP or Twilight Zone episode. Overall, a decent effort for its B-to-Z origins. Rating: 3.5/5 *'s. As for Blood of Dracula , the less said the better. The "mad scientist" and the killer here are both women, as are most of the supports. As in many B's we have a mix of pretty decent vet actors with pretty bad young ones [some were also in How To Make A Monster]. Here, an insane chemistry teacher uses a chemical and an amulet to transform an obnoxious new boarding-school attendee into a creature that resembles a Wolf but acts like a vampire. At first the beast is a trifle scary [as are most two-legged things with fangs that scamper towards you in the night] but as she keeps appearing the overdone make-up makes her appear rather ludicrous. Should have been retitled, How NOT To Make a Monster. Grade Z camp. Rating: 2/5 *'s. I do recommend this DVD for aficionados of those late-50's horror B's [especially for How To Make A Monster] including fans of 50's teenage camp or the "so-bad-they're-good" subgenre [for Blood of Dracula].
Although it was short-lived (only 3 double feature DVDs in 2006), I take my hat off to Lionsgate for making available these Samuel Z. Arkoff Cult Classics in first class, high quality prints. Of the three discs released, this one is by far and away my favorite. HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER combines elements of AIP's (American International Pictures) previous teenage monster films with HOUSE OF WAX to come up with this bizarre story of a veteran make-up artist, fired by new studio heads, who hypnotizes his creations so they can murder the new owners for their callousness. Robert H. Harris gives a remarkable performance as the nutso artist but it is the behind the scenes look at AIP moviemaking and the color finale that make it really special.
The second feature, BLOOD OF DRACULA (as has been pointed out elsewhere), should really have been titled I WAS A TEENAGE VAMPIRE. The setting is an exclusive girl's school where troubled teen Sandra Harrison is turned into a vampire through hypnosis by weirdo science teacher Louise Lewis. What makes these drive-in movies so memorable today is the hidden subtext in both. Whether intended or not (and it must have been), both films have a strong homoerotic undercurrent and are sharply critical of adults and conformist behavior. They are also incredible time capsules of the teen drive-in culture of the 1950s which AIP helped to foster. They won't scare you but they will inform you as to what was going on under the surface of the placid 1950s.