Forty-six years ago, Batman met the original Prince of Darkness for the first time. It wasn’t in the pages of Detective Comics or Batman Magazine as many would think. Strangely, the first epic battle between the two creatures of the night was a 1967 color Filipino film entitled “Batman Fights Dracula.”
Take a breath before you start feverishly clicking away on Google looking for a link to a torrent of the movie. Unfortunately, “Batman Fights Dracula” is what Hollywood refers to as a “lost” film. There are no existing copies of it to be found anywhere. At least, no one has located one yet. Who knows what could be in the basement of some old projectionist’s house somewhere in the Philippines.
Not much is known about “Batman Fights Dracula” except what can be found on the only existing promotional piece from the film. A poster features a few shots from the movie and the names of the actors and filmmakers.
Batman / Bruce Wayne was portrayed by S.O.S Daredevils member and stunt coordinator Jing Abalos. The emblem on his chest was some type of human figure instead of the familiar Bat-symbol.
Award-winning actor Dante Rivero took the role of Dracula. Ramon d’Salva played Dr. Zorba. Most likely his character was a villain, as d’Salva was cast as the bad guy in many of the films he starred in.
Rolan Robles was Ruben, who was probably Robin. The poster features the Boy Wonder, but no character named Robin is listed on it.
The poster also shows the Filipino Dynamic Duo in several scenes that promise a lot of super hero action. Batman stares down a bloody-mouthed Count Dracula as he holds one victim in his arms with another lying at his feet. Other images show the Caped Crusaders leaping on a speeding truck, riding a motorcycle together, and taking part in hand-to-hand combat with what must be Dracula or Dr. Zorba’s henchmen.
Chances are “Batman Fights Dracula” was fashioned after the popular campy American TV series which was airing at the same time this was released. It’s been labeled a comedy, but obviously featured plenty of action as the poster shows. Maybe someday a copy of the movie will be unearthed and Batman fans will get to see firsthand. If and when that day comes, the legend surrounding the lost treasure will most likely be more interesting than the film itself.
The Dark Knight and the Count met again years later in two different formats. They traded blows and matched wits with each other in 1991’s alternate reality “Elseworlds” graphic novel entitled “Batman / Dracula: Red Rain.” The two crossed paths for a third time in the 2005 animated feature film “The Batman vs. Dracula.”
“Batman / Dracula: Red Rain” is available now in paperback, hardcover, and standard comic book forms.
“The Batman vs. Dracula” is available now on DVD and as a Digital Download.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
“Batman Beyond: 10,000 Clowns” Graphic Novel Review
Artist Norm Breyfogle Talks Batman Beyond Unlimited and “Beware the Batman”
“Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Volume 2” Graphic Novel Review