Friday, October 12, 2012

Frankenstein 1970



(1958)***

Baron Victor Von Frankenstein reluctantly allows an American television crew to shoot a documentary about his famous “mad scientist” ancestor.  Victor is a cantankerous old fart who was tortured by the Nazis during the war and as a result walks hunchbacked and crippled.  He does not hide his displeasure about hosting the film crew in his home however he agrees to this arrangement because he needs money to purchase an ‘atomic reactor’ to heat his large estate, or so he says. Estate manager Wilhelm Gottfried fears that Victor’s true motive is to recreate Dr. Frankenstein’s famous experiment. When Wilhelm asks Victor if he is aware that bodies have been reported missing from the local morgue, Victor plays dumb.  Once the atomic reactor arrives and is installed Victor gets to work. In a secret lab deep in the estate Victor assembles his Frankenstein. The lab is equipped with recording devices enabling Victor to track the movements and conversations of everyone in the estate. After murdering his butler for his brain Victor’s monster is complete. Soon bodies begin to pile up as the monster is unleashed on the guests.


Director Howard W. Koch no doubtscored a coup getting Boris Karloff to sign on for this film, which was the first time he acted in a Frankenstein movie since 1944’s ‘House of Frankenstein’.  It’s too bad that ‘Frankenstein 1970’ falls short; a completely wasted opportunity in my book.  Some judicious editing might have been able to tighten the plodding story up a bit, however even a shorter runtime would not change the been-there-done-that feel this film engenders. Frankenstein 1970 features a “monster” that resembles the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man more than the menacing hulk we expect and demand. Karloff, as always, shines in his role, chewing the scenery with amazing gravitas, which is especially impressive given the silly material he is given to work with.  Despite my somewhat negative take, it’s still fun and worth a look.

6 comments:

Octopunk said...

He uses the brain of his butler? FINALLY a mad scientist scheme I can get behind. If you're going to have a monster in the house, it may as well be helpful.

DCD said...

Unlike the lobotomized basement dwellers!

Trevor said...

I think the funniest thing here is the marketing team that decided "Frankenstein 1970" was the ideal title. For a film made in 1958, did they really think that 12 years in the future would be an exciting enticement for viewers?

why not at least go for a cooler sounding year?
I suggest...
Frankenstein 1977
Frankenstein 1985
Frankenstein 1999

The tortured by nazis thing would still work with all of those titles.

Catfreeek said...

Stay puft marshmallowstein hahaha! Funny review.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I don't like how Boris Karloff plays the doctor instead of the monster. That monster is LAME looking. Still, I must see this movie if only for historical purposes!

AC said...

sounds just interesting enough, but too bad it wasn't better.