Lady Frankenstein

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.


About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 1970's, 50 chilling classics, famous movie monsters, foreign and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Lady Frankenstein

  1. backlashcomix says:

    If only this review had stopped at “boob and bush shots” above the poster, then I might have looked out for it. However, from what you then go on to say, it kind of looks like one of those boring horror films that I’m glad you watched and not me. Are you sure that it just ended suddenly, or did you “accidentally” turn it off…

    • scarina says:

      There are much better movies with seventies boob and bush than this one. This one is just damn annoying. There’s this weird music that sounds like someone breathing when they’re sick and one nostril is stuffed up. That whistling noise. That’s the music. Nope, it really just goes black while he’s sex choking her.

      • backlashcomix says:

        I don’t want to try and intellectualize this clear turd of a movie, but maybe the ending was supposed to symbolize the death of the girl by the fact that it suddenly goes black. As though we, the audience, are being sex choked with her. Aye? Thought of that? Hmm? Hey? Hmm?

      • scarina says:

        I wish it were like that but it’s pretty impossible for the audience to sympathize with her.

  2. Freddie Jaye says:

    This movie certainly has a high WTF factor, especially given the abrupt ending. I own a copy of this public domain film, and scarina is honest: it doesn’t so much end as it comes to a complete stop. No resolution, no credits, no nothing. But LF’s wikipedia page shows a running time of 99 minutes, far longer than any version I’ve seen floating around the web, so it’s possible these prints are of a mangled version. Which could explain a lot.

    • scarina says:

      I never even noticed the run time on Wikipedia or IMDB. I usually consult them to double-check the names of characters and actors and if I can come up with any fun facts. My version is an hour and twenty-four minutes. I can’t imagine that fifteen minutes would make this movie any better but now I’m curious!
      Thanks for the comment.

      • Freddie Jaye says:

        I think an extra fifteen minutes could help. Imagine trying to read a book that’s had about a sixth of its pages torn out in random chunks — including the last 30 pages that wrap everything up. That might have been what happened here: not so much editing/condensing, as chopping.

      • scarina says:

        I’m just not sure the extra 15 minutes is enough to save this movie. It felt like it was much longer than it really was when I watched it, probably because of the extra long boring lab scenes. Here’s hoping the extra footage makes the characters less two-dimensional.

  3. Crypticpsych says:

    19th Century Medical school? I thought that involved picking up a drifter out back and switching some organs around for fun and profit.

    If you really want to know how those extra 15 minutes go, you should know that Shout Factory released a four-pack as part of their releasing deal with Roger Corman that includes this (in the version you saw and the full extended cut), The Velvet Vampire, Grotesque, and Time Walker.

    Myself? I haven’t seen it. Kind of want the four-film set I just mentioned though. Oh and that last Monster face kind of reminds me of The Toxic Avenger.

    • Crypticpsych says:

      I miss the old days when I could post a link like that and NOT inadvertently add a massive photo. lol

    • scarina says:

      Don’t forget grave robbing. There’s always grave robbing.
      Hmm, I’m curious but I also really hated this movie. I don’t think I’ll give it a second try.
      There is something Toxie about him.

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