Batman has been a famous and iconic superhero for many people. His spectacular wit and mysterious personality add to his long-established prominence among fans of comics and hero series. As a superhero, he has been waging (eternal) war against all criminals in Gotham City in the name of his murdered parents.
Obviously, there isn’t anything new with Batman fighting merciless antagonists. There have been countless films and comics depicting the black-suited superhero clashing with The Joker, his famous rival, or with The Penguin. And Dracula is not an exception to that. In fact, American artist and director Andy Warhol once released a film called Batman Dracula in 1964. This was followed by The Batman vs. Dracula produced by DC and Warner Brothers in 2005.
But have you heard of a Filipino film portraying the same superhero (but differ in plots) with that of Andy Warhol and DC? Most people are utterly unaware of this thing, but we really did have a Batman vs. Dracula film released in 1967 by local producers entitled Batman Fights Dracula. It was helmed by Leody Diaz and scripted by Bert Mendoza.
The plot revolves around Batman protecting the people from criminals. Dr. Zorba, a mad scientist who has had enough with the hero’s interference in his illegal smuggling activities, decided to bring back to life the ancient King of Vampire, Dracula. With some minor deviations from the original Dracula of Warhol and DC, the Dracula in the film would cause chaos into the people, and Batman, along with his sidekick hero Ruben (inspired by Robin Hood), would do everything to stop the ruthless antagonist.
Produced by Lea Productions, the film featured Jing Abalos as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Dante Rivero as Dracula, Ramon D’ Salva as Dr. Zerba, Vivian Lorrain as Marita Banzon, Nort Nepomuceno as Turko, and Rolan Robles as Ruben.
The film was surprisingly not authorized by DC Comics. Perhaps because the intellectual property rights during that time were very different from what we have today, besides, it was a 1967 film. Things were definitely very different back in the ’60s.
Some considered the film as a lost one simply because several people only knew about this. A film is considered a lost film when it is no longer known to exist in any studio archives, private collections, or public archives. Nevertheless, Batman Fights Dracula can arguably be regarded as one of the Philippine cinema’s hidden gems.