Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter - 1966

Alright, I guess I might have overstressed how unique White Buffalo was way back when I reviewed it (man, that feels long ago).  In fact there is a whole subgenre (isn't there always) that's called Weird West, and it's Western-ish movies that have another element to them, whether it's sci-fi, horror, whatever the case may be.  And yes, Wild Wild West does fit in there somewhere.  But the whole Weird West subgenre (fuck you autospell, that is a word) is also inclusive of this film, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (JJMFD).  Most parenthesis ever in one paragraph?  Maybe.

Controversially, this was also the last film of Estelita Rodriguez, and she might've been involved with one of the makers of this film, there's this whole thing online about it.  Who cares?  Not me.  She plays Juanita Lopez in the film, and is the main love interest for the Frankenstein monster, which in this movie is depicted by slab of beefcake Cal Bolder, and he's not called a monster but, rather confusingly, Igor.  Uh, guys, Igor is the assistant, you know the hunchback one that's not in the original novel at all?  God, WTF.

Jesse James is the western outlaw and legend, in case you were wondering if it was supposed to be "that" Jesse James or not, it is.  So basically, things dawdle around until 41 minutes in when Jesse and beefcake man Hank Tracy are taken in by Frankenstein's granddaughter (aka NOT Frankenstein's Daughter as the title clearly states) and they hang out there for a bit while subversively Frankenstein's grandDaughter plans on putting Hank Tracy to work as her next monster.

I just read online that not only was this filmed in 8 days, this AND the double feature it played alongside (Billy the Kid vs. Dracula) were both filmed at the same time, and that 8 days was for both of these movies.  Holy shit, so basically this was shot in 4 days.  That may be one of the quickest films I've seen, and that's counting Roger Corman and Ed Wood's films.  It doesn't really show, surprisingly.  Uh, surprising isn't a strong enough word for that, how about "that's fucking insane"?  That is incredibly fast, and pretty damn skilled.  I'd challenge just about anyone to make a movie in 4 days now and have it still be even slightly entertaining.

Once the monster is made, it's controlled in the typical way - by use your strongest, most commanding voice.  The monster kills some people, and eventually it comes down to Jesse James, the monster, the grandDaughter, and a struggle of who can throw out their most powerful voice to make the monster do what they command.

As a monster, Frankenstein is pretty lame in this one.  Totally not enough makeup or anything, it just looks like the same guy with some fake stitches on his head.  I prefer a more monstrous monster myself.  He's also too smart; as a human Hank Tracy was kind of an idiot anyways, so when he's turned into the monster, he is pretty much just the same dude, except supposedly scarier.  I can't imagine anyone getting their scares, getting their kicks, getting anything real by watching this movie.  It stands (not alone) in that completely bland field wherein it's kind of nothing except a mild sciency fictiony movie that accomplishes nothing.  Which, as you might be aware, is why you would see it nowadays.

There's better films out there, more classic and whatever.  Maybe if Jesse had actually fought the monster or something, it would get a higher rating.  But as it is, 2 stars is more than enough.

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