SHOCK digs up 5 failed Frankenstein films that will blow your mind.
With the November 25th release of director Paul McGuigan’s Max Landis-scripted, ultra-revisionist take on the house that Mary Shelley built, VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN, upon us, fright fans are wondering just what in the blue blazes to expect.
Certainly from the trailer, we can glean that Fox is trying to channel some the kinetic energy of Guy Ritchie’s overly stylized SHERLOCK HOLMES movies into their bouncy, multiplex-friendly riff on the FRANKENSTEIN tale, with pretty actors (Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy) making whatever bio-horrors happen easier to swallow.
But no matter how VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN fares, no matter how critics or audiences respond to its charms, it’s a safe bet that it will be BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN compared to the five Frankenstein films we’ve selected below.
Indeed readers, these are the worst FRANKENSTEIN movies we’ve ever seen, bastardized insults to ” The Modern Prometheus” of Shelley’s text and slipshod excuses to pervert it to suit their cash-grabbing ends.
FRANKENSTEINS DAUGHTER (1958) Before he accepted the offer to sail to BLOOD ISLAND and become a major player in the emerging Filipino genre flick scene, John Ashley was being groomed by AIP to be a teen heartthrob. And to be honest, his James Dean-meets-Elvis-lite presence in Richard Cunhas fun but dumb revisionist Frankenstein riff FRANKENSTEINS DAUGHTER, is one of its strengths. Donald Murphy plays Oliver Frankenstein, hiding out as an assistant to kindly professor and secretly turning his cutie pie niece (Sandra Knight) into a buck-toothed monster that runs around at night spooking kids. Meanwhile, hes quietly stapling together a new monster from pieces of murdered men. Hes a bad dude. And this is most certainly a bad Frankenstein movie
DR. FRANKENSTEIN ON CAMPUS (1970) This bizarre Canadian film is a daft excuse for a horror movie and while its a flunk as a Frankenstein flick, it sure is a doozy of a head trip on its own terms. Originally titled FLICK (we know this because the word FLICK remains on the bottom corner of the screen for the entire opening of the picture), DR. FRANKENSTEIN ON CAMPUS stars future Canadian TV weatherman Robin Ward as a young Baron Frankenstein, blacklisted from his native Austria and hiding out as a student at the University of Toronto. There, he conducts brain experiments on cats and dogs and has weird psychedelic sex with his comely girlfriend before launching a reign of terror on his classmates and the faculty. Oddly, the similarities between this and RE-ANIMATOR are interesting (and almost certainly accidental). Totally obscure and truly fascinating, this is a super-silly Shelley stunt that stands alone.
DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1971) Starting production as THE BLOOD SEEKERS, this turgid Al Adamson offering stars declining (rapidly) Hollywood star J. Carol Naish as a descendant of the original Frankenstein who reluctantly teams up with the worst Dracula in cinema history: a bearded, white-faced ponce who says all his dialogue through an echo-chamber and is played by a dude named Zandor Vorkov. Frankensteins assistant is played by a boozed-to-oblivion Lon Chaney Jr. and the great Angelo Rossito from FREAKS and MAD MAX 3 adds a dash of class to what is a typically tacky bit of Adamson oddness. But man, what a cast, including TWIN PEAKS vet and Adamson regular Russ Tamblyn and monster magazine legend Forry Ackerman.
FRANKENSTEINS CASTLE OF FREAKS (1974) On the surface this Italian exploitation offering looks like it cant lose. Oscar winner Michael Dunn is in it as a horny dwarf, the great Rosanno Brazzi operatically slums to play Dr. Frankenstein, Eurotrash legend Boris Lugosi (aka Salvatore Baccaro) plays a monstrous caveman and the entire pudding is stirred by international genre movie kingpin Dick Randall (LIVING DOLL, PIECES). But my God, is this flick dull. Ive seen it a dozen times (because I have serious problems) and I cannot remember anything about it, save for a bit of topless hot springs frolicking and some reasonably handsome production design. Frankenfail supreme!
FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND (1981) By the early 1980s, Hollywood icon John Carradine would sign on to star in any piece of crap offered to him. FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND isnt any piece of crap, however. Its sub-atomic dump of the lowest order and it comes courtesy of Jerry Warren, the dude who gave the world another dead-things junkfest in 1960s TEENAGE ZOMBIES. Carradine stars as the disembodied, floating head of the original Dr. Frankenstein who gives sage advice to his daughter, Sheila Frankenstein Von Helsing(!), a nutter who is up to no good on the titular island. Cameron Mitchell wanders around in a daze in what is honestly one of the most insane movies I have ever seen. Recommended as the ultimate F*** you to the Frankenstein mythos.
What are some of the worst Frankenstein films you’ve ever seen?