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Image Entertainment presents
Killer Barbys vs. Dracula (2002)

"What the hell's all this?"
- Count Dracula (Kike Sarasola)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 24, 2005

Stars: Silvia Superstar, Lina Romay, Dan Van Husen, Kike Sarasola
Other Stars: Aldo Sanbrell, Katja Bienert, Bela B. Felsenheimer, Carsten Frank, Billy King, Sandra Ibarra, Peter Martell
Director: Jess Franco

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild horror violence)
Run Time: 01h:25m:25s
Release Date: February 01, 2005
UPC: 014381258127
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D- FCB- D-

DVD Review

As a director of primarily low-budget horror, Jess Franco is nothing if not prolific, and few will argue that over time he has at least made some truly memorable films (such as Exorcism, Vampyros Lesbos, and The Dr. Orloff series). But he has also made some really awful trash along the way, and this 2002 release—a mix of horror and comedy—is one of the worst, and could possibly be one of the dreadful films I have ever seen.

I hate breaking bad on Franco as I generally consider myself a fan of his work, but Killer Barbys vs. Dracula is a mess all the way around, and the thing that makes that even more depressing is that the premise—written by Franco—shows truly great promise as big, dumb fun, but it all gets executed in a painfully amateurish manner.

Real-life German bubblegum metal band the Killer Barbies (yes, it is spelled differently than the film's title) star as basically themselves, and are headlining at some sort of desolate European amusement park when a hearse arrives bearing a coffin containing the staked-through-the-heart remains of Count Dracula (Kike Sarasola). Though dead, Drac is smitten with the music (and attractive lead singer Silvia Superstar), comes to life and wreaks some poorly staged havoc, and at one point ends up dancing onstage with the band while they perform.

All of the potential good (Dracula, rock and roll, sexy girls) is wasted by an overdose of bad (a horrible English dub, vaudevillian acting led by an embarrassing performance from Franco regular Lina Romay, uncharacteristically by-the-numbers camera work), and to compound matters, a complete lack of nudity, something that the normally exploitive Franco never shied away from in his prime. The sad thing, and I'm almost ashamed to admit it, is at one point the only shred of anything that was remotely holding my interest was the thought that Silvia Superstar, who one character refers to as "a capitalistic minx", might drop her top.

What the hell is wrong with me?

There are quite a few songs sprinkled throughout, and only pad an already anemic story that never reaches its camp potential. Did I dislike the Killer Barbies cover of Candy, featuring Die Ärzte's Bela B? They're no Kate Pierson and Iggy Pop, but it was acceptable fluff nonetheless, even if it served no purpose whatsoever. In fact this entire film serves no purpose other than to possibly appeal to fans of the Killer Barbies, and I have to think that's a fairly small audience.

Somebody ought to check on Jess Franco and make sure he's okay.

Rating for Style: D-
Rating for Substance: F


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer is fair, alternating between short bursts of pleasing colors to a set of oversaturated reds that make everyone look orange. Image detail is very soft, bordering on the blurry at times. The good news, it's anamorphic widescreen. That's about it.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: There are two audio choices, both bad English dubs, and are available in either 5.1 Dolby Digital surround or 2.0 surround. Both tracks are fairly interchangeable, with neither one offering anything dramatically more substantial than the other. Surround cues are virtually nonexistent, and the only benefit of the 5.1 track is that the frequent Killer Barbies songs sound marginally fuller.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra is an automated Stills Gallery (05m:44s), and damn if the pictures don't make Killer Barbys vs. Dracula look like it should have been better.

The disc is cut into 10 chapters.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

I'll be brief: this is awful.

Jess, what the hell happened?


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