EDitorial Comments

Now Available: When Dracula Met Frankenstein

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2021 @ 3:20 pm

Murania’s first book published since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic also happens to be the first not written or edited by me. But it’s an excellent addition to our line and I’m delighted to announce its availability.

In 1968 two ambitious young filmmakers, working on a shoestring, made a movie about a ruthless motorcycle gang. Titled Satan’s Sadists, it became the initial release of their new company, Independent-International Pictures, and was wildly profitable. Over the next two decades Sam Sherman and Al Adamson collaborated on a succession of low-budget films that attracted moviegoers to drive-ins and hardtop theaters alike. They exploited all the hot trends—horror, sci-fi, biker films, martial arts, sexploitation, blaxploitation—and marketed their product with dynamic, occasionally lurid campaigns. IIP used limited resources wisely and cast its films with a mix of talented young performers and former stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Along the way Sam and Al encountered many of the industry’s most colorful characters, both behind and in front of the camera.

Sam Sherman (left) and Al Adamson in the early ’70s.

Their films included some of the most memorable—and most memorably awful—attractions that played in urban entertainment districts such as New York City’s “The Deuce” (42nd Street to the uninitiated) and on drive-in screens all across the country: Girls for Rent, Women for Sale, Females for Hire, Mean Mother, Dynamite Brothers, Naughty Stewardesses, Blazing Stewardesses, Brain of Blood, Brain of Ghastly Horror, Horror of the Blood Monsters, and of course the legendary Dracula vs. Frankenstein. And those are only some of the jewels in IIP’s celluloid crown: the company’s holdings run to several hundred films, a good number of them foreign exploitation films that IIP imported and released domestically under new titles.

In this book Sam Sherman revisits those halcyon days and reveals the behind-the-scenes story of IIP’s rise and fall. But When Dracula Met Frankenstein is more than the chronicle of one company: It paints a vivid picture of the entire drive-in era and the feisty independent producers and distributors who comprised the lower strata of the motion-picture industry. Accompanied by nearly 250 images—posters, scene stills, and candid on-set photos (many never before published)—Sam’s memoir is a must-have for casual fans and film historians alike. Its 378 pages are chock full of behind-the-scenes anecdotes that not only put to rest the most outrageous rumors about IIP but also provide valuable insights about the under-documented underbelly of the movie trade.

Full disclosure: Sam Sherman and I have been friends for nearly a half century. Even before I knew him, I knew who he was, because as a grade-school kid and budding film buff I religiously followed Screen Thrills Illustrated, the magazine he co-edited with the late Bob Price for Famous Monsters publisher Jim Warren. Friendship notwithstanding, though, I’d have been delighted to publish When Dracula Met Frankenstein. It’s a terrific reminder of those years I spent on The Deuce, seeing obscure horror and exploitation films that never made it to the multiplexes in my suburban New Jersey neighborhood.

Sadly, Al Adamson died in a manner befitting any number of characters in IIP movies: He was brutally murdered by a larcenous contractor renovating one of his houses, his corpse entombed in the concrete bed of a hot tub. But in this book Sam pays more than ample tribute to his resourceful, hard-working partner, whom he calls “the brother I never had.”

You can order When Dracula Met Frankenstein now by clicking here.

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