Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jesse James vs Frankenstein's Daughter

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966)
Starring: John Lupton and Narda Onyx
Director: William Beaudine
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

After Jesse James (Lupton) is ambushed by lawmen during a stagecoach robbery, he seeks help for his wounded partner from a pair of reclusive doctors living in an abandoned Spanish mission. These doctors just happen to be the granddaughter and grandson of Victor Frankenstein, and they are carrying on the family business of trying to create life. Well, sort of. Will one of the Wild West's greatest outlaws survive his encounter with mad science, or will he become FrankenJesse?

When you take a third-rate western and merge it with a Z-grade Frankenstein sequel, you get "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter." Although the acting is better than I would have expected from a movie like this, the fact that it must have been made for $1.95 is laughably obvious. The height of the movie's badness comes when a kindly Mexican girl points Jesse to the place where the doctors live... and we are treated to perhaps the worst matte painting ever. (The Frankenstein Kids apparently live behind a giant, ametuerish landscape painting!) And things get worse once Jesse's partner in crime is monsterfied and rechristened Igor by mad scientiest Maria Frankenstein (Onyx.)

I'm giving this one Two Stars, because for all its badness, it is watchable in a bad western kind of way. If the film's pace wasn't so darn slow, it might even rate Three Tomatoes--the acting is okay, and the sheer foolishness of the concept is kind of fun. Too bad it wasn't better executed.