Saturday, October 16, 2010


This film, part of a cycle of teen-oriented horror flicks that began in the late 50s, has no such title character, but Dr. Frankenstein's grandson, who goes by the name Oliver Frank, is present to cause trouble in American suburbia. Frank works as an assistant for old doctor Carter who is developing a drug that would allow cells and tissue to live forever. Frank lives in Carter's house as does the old man's pretty high school-age niece Trudy. But behind the doc's back, Frank is working with the family's creepy handyman, Elsu, to, what else, make a monster. He's got the body parts all sewed together, now he just needs a brain. That problem is solved when Frank gets all hot and bothered over Suzie, Trudy's busty blonde friend. She goes out on a date with him, but when she resists his smooth moves, he runs her over and puts her brain in the monster's head. So even the monster isn't really the title character: it's a male monster with a slash of lipstick on its mouth. The one interesting concept in the movie comes from the assumption that, with a female brain, the beast will be more passive and conducive to take orders. But no, it's still a brute of a monster that does what it wants to do, causes destruction, and warns people once again not to tamper in God's domain.

This is catnip for bad movie buffs. Sets are cheap, acting ranges from amateurish to competent, and the script has holes galore. The weirdest thing is that, for the first half-hour, we're led to believe that the monster of the movie is Trudy, who falls asleep and turns into a kind of ape woman, or her face does anyway (see pic above--the opening minutes of the movie in which Suzie runs into the monstrous Trudy on a street at night is the best part of the film). Apparently, this is the result of drugs given to her by Frank, but this plotline goes nowhere. The cute John Ashley (at right; think B-movie Frankie Avalon, who was himself a B-beach movie Rock Hudson) is OK as Trudy's boyfriend; Sally Todd as Suzie is sexy and fairly vivacious; Sandra Knight (better known for her role in Roger Corman's classic cheapie THE TERROR) is adequate but colorless, as is Donald Murphy as Frank. Worst (or best, depending on your viewpoint) are Harold Lloyd Jr. as Suzie's randy boyfriend, who shouts his lines as though he's reading them from cue cards, and Felix Locher as the old doctor--to be fair, he has little to do except worry about his niece and be suspicious of Frank. Like I said, fun for fans of bad movie; all others, beware. [DVD]

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