The Batman vs. Dracula is a 2005 direct-to-video animated American movie based on The Batman television series. It has a much darker tone than the show, and features Vicki Vale, in her first animated appearance, voiced by Tara Strong, who voiced Barbara Gordon/Batgirl on The New Batman Adventures.
The movie was released to DVD on October 18, 2005 and made its television debut on Cartoon Network on October 22, 2005. It was released on DVD as a tie-in with the live action Batman Begins.
The Joker and the Penguin break out of Arkham Asylum and race each other to find a stash of stolen money hidden within a crypt in Gotham Cemetery. The Joker is quickly intercepted by the Batman and is electrocuted when he falls into a river by his super-charged joy buzzers while the Penguin takes the opportunity to enter the cemetery himself.
While searching through a crypt, the Penguin accidentally cuts his hand while using his umbrella-sword to open a coffin he hopes contains the money, finding a body instead. The blood from his hand drips on the corpse’s heart, which brings it to life; it is none other than the vampire lord Count Dracula.
Dracula hypnotizes the Penguin into becoming his non-vampiric servant so that he may lead him through Gotham to feed and guard his coffin during the day while he regains his strength.
The invigorated Dracula appears at a party attended by Bruce Wayne, disguised as a cultural anthropologist under the name Doctor”Alucard”, claiming to be visiting to study the Batman, and takes an interest in Vicki Vale, a reporter who is interviewing and dating Bruce. Realizing the imminent danger, Bruce immediately deduces “Alucard” is Dracula.
Upon further research, Bruce learns that Dracula is behind the disappearances of several Gotham citizens, who have been dubbed “Lost Ones” by the media and turned into vampires, and attempts to find a way to synthesize a vaccine for the victims. Due to eyewitnesses claiming to see a bat-like figure during the attacks, however, it is mistakenly reported that the Batman is behind the disappearances instead.
There have been two other movies in which Batman fought Dracula: Batman Dracula (1964) and Batman Fights Dracula (1967). However, neither of these films were authorised by DC Comics.
One of the very earliest Batman villains, in fact, was a vampire, The Monk, who debuted in 1939 (exactly one year before the Joker’s debut). Batman fought against the vampire Gustav Decobra in Detective Comics #455.
Critical reaction to The Batman vs. Dracula has been mixed. Maurice Cobbs of DVD Verdict said, “The Batman vs. Dracula was good enough that I wish it had been better, but in the final analysis, the product is exceptionally average. While there are good points to this production, they just aren’t plentiful enough to overcome the flaws, and while this may be a spooky and entertaining diversion for the younger set, more mature viewers may be left wanting.”
Batman-on-Film wrote, “Overall, I enjoyed The Batman vs. Dracula. If you group all the animated Batman movies together, this is one of the better ones. I give it a grade of B- and would tell any Bat-fan to add it to their Bat-DVD collection.”
The World’s Finest Online said, “In the end, the negatives barely register in the grand scale of things. The movie has an excellent story, great dialogue (sans puns), amazing animation, perfect voice actors and a score that keeps up and enhances them all. There’s very little not to like about this film.”
Kevin L. Carvell of Cinema Crazed said, “Though incredibly predictable and by the numbers, this is a really good and fun animated action horror combination that picks up the slack with Batman as he’s supposed to be while fighting Dracula as he’s supposed to be. Stormare approaches the role with enthusiasm making this all the more watchable.”
The SF, Horror, and Fantasy Film Review wrote, “It feels more like a case of the comic-book canon having been twisted out of shape in order to make it work as a vampire story. The title team-up intrigues one, but you can’t help but think how much more depth and character could have been invested into the effort if The Batman vs. Dracula had been made as part of the Bruce Timm universe.”
The Batman Strikes #15: The Lost Ones
This moody tale, which guest-stars the Penguin, serves as a companion piece to The Batman vs. Dracula, and introduces Dracula into Gotham City.
Even though the Penguin is under Dracula’s control, that doesn’t keep him from tending to his own business. He exploits the missing Gothamites/The Lost Ones, by kidnapping citizens and holding a ransom, and is aided by the Kabuki Twins.
As the issue comes to a close, Batman is about to apprehend Penguin when he is rescued by Dracula. Dracula doesn’t appreciate the exploitations of his activity, and makes sure to keep Penguin on a tighter leash.