What can I say about Lady Frankenstein? Lady Frankenstein is strong enough for a man but made for a woman. Actually, with all the seventies boob and bush shots I suspect it was really made for the men. Here’s the poster;
What happens on this poster is more exciting than anything that happened in this movie. I had high hopes for this movie since it has 4.8 stars on IMDB and that’s pretty high for a movie from my 50 Chilling Classics collection. I think that 4.8 stars for a Mill Creek movie makes it close to a Criterion Classic. I strongly suspect that the high rating comes from every guy who caught this movie when they were a kid and saw boobs.
I have to admit that I didn’t understand what happened for about 80% of the movie. It’s well-filmed (For Mill Creek) and you can hear everything okay, it’s just the kind of movie where characters are suddenly on screen with no introduction and it’s dubbed so you have no clue who’s talking. There are long stretches where absolutely nothing happens and then someone will shout, “How can someone so lovely be such a bitch?”
Joseph Cotten is Baron Frankenstein. You remember him as the crabby-appleton lawyer from the much better Mill Creek movie The Hearse.
He receives corpses from a trio of grave-robbers led by a guy named Lynch (Herbert Fux, yeah I laughed at his last name too), the most unshowered man in all the land. The very next day his daughter, Tania Frankenstein (Rosalba Neri as Sara Bay) arrives after completing whatever qualifies as 19th century medical school.
She looks roughly to be about the same age as her father and has such weird chemistry with him, it’s more like they’re a married couple. Is this another layer for this movie? Who knows.
Tania (Pronounced “Tonya” like Tonya Harding), her father, and her father’s lab assistant, Dr. Charles Marshall (Paul Muller) witness the hanging of Jack Morgan (Peter Martinov), a criminal. The police captain Harris (Mickey Hargitay), a character I had to look up because I had no clue who he was or what he was doing on screen, harasses Lynch, claiming he knows his no-good grave-robbing ways.
Lynch gets Baron Frankenstein the body he needs and Frankenstein successfully reanimates his Monster (Peter Whiteman). The creature looks like one of the aliens from the “To Serve Man” episode of The Twilight Zone with an exploded face cyst.
First order of business? He kills Baron Frankenstein. Then he runs off into the countryside. There’s a good 40 minutes of movie left at this point but I barely remember what happened. I think someone spilled a grape Nehi on the film and it got all sticky or something. The film culminates with Tania getting Marshall to confess that he loves her. She admits that she could love him but his body is just so damn old. They decide to switch his brain into the body of the retarded but handsome Thomas (Marino Masé.) The monster’s running amok but this will stop him somehow. The brain switch is successful and now Marshall/Thomas has superhuman strength because of reasons. You think someone brought back from the dead would be frail, their body would be all threadbare.
Oh, and there’s a horrifying scene where Tania seduces Thomas so that Marshall can kill him. It’s at least as awkward and traumatic as the similar scene in Devil Times Five. You see Tania having sex with Thomas and Marshall starts smothering him with a pillow and Tania is just still on top of him. A part of my heterosexuality died forever after that scene.
Anyway, the monster comes back and kills everyone involved with his creation. He comes back to Tania’s castle at the same time a torch-wielding crowd arrives. They set fire to the castle and the monster fights Marshall/Thomas. Tania hides most of the time and you can tell she’ll throw her allegiance with whichever abomination wins. Marshall/Thomas wins the fight and Captain Harris and Thomas’ sister find Marshall/Thomas having sex with Tania as the castle burns down but then Marshall/Thomas starts to choke her. The movie ends there, no credits or anything. Fine, movie, end that way, see if I care.
This was just an ugly little movie. There was literally no one to root for. Some people have suggested that this is a feminist retelling of Frankenstein but the character of Tania is absolutely devoid of morals. I’m not going to support a character just because they have the same junk as me. Plus, the movie lacks the moral subtlety of the original.
The absolute only thing that I liked about this movie was the unique design of the creature, and that was probably only a result of budgetary constraints. I really like the story of Frankenstein but I hate the Boris Karloff look associated with the eight billion movie adaptations. People spend so much time focusing on that that they miss the entire point of the story. This movie gives us a monster who makes this face.