Monster Movies: THE FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER – THE SOLO EFFORTS

A few weeks back, in celebration of monsters in the movies, I looked at the Frankenstein Monster in two of the most famous Frankenstein movie series, Universal and Hammer. The monsters in these two series are also the most well-known.

Today we look at some of the Frankenstein monsters in films that were not produced by Universal or Hammer. And once again I will rate these monsters using my exclusive brain system, with a rating of four brains being the best and 0 brains the worst.

Here we go:

I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN (1957) – The Monster- Gary Conway – The first non-Universal/Hammer Frankenstein movie on the list scores high on the monster meter. Released several months after Hammer’s megahit THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) this film tried to out gross-out the mosnter make-up in that movie and comes close to succeeding! Pretty hideous looking face. The film isn’t half bad either, with Whit Bissell doing his evil best portraying a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein.

Monster Meter: three brains.

FRANKENSTEIN 1970 (1958)- The Monster – Mike Lane – awful grade Z production stars Boris Karloff as Dr. Frankenstein. Dreadful movie. Dreadful monster.

Monster Meter: 0 brains.

JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER (1966?) – Monster- Cal Bolder- Another grade Z movie, another grade Z monster.

Monster Meter: 0 brains

FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (1965) – The Monster: Koji Furuhat. Leave it to Toho Studios to make a movie about a giant Frankenstein Monster. This one isn’t half bad and is actually a lot of fun.

Monster Meter: two brains

WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS (1966) -Monsters: Haruo Nakajima, Yu Sekita. Toho’s FRANKENSTEIN sequel features two monsters, or gargantuas as they are called in the American version. Superior to the first movie, filled to the brim with giant monster action.

Monster Meter: three brains.

DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1971)- The Monster: John Bloom. This Grade Z 70s flick does feature an aging Lon Chaney Jr. and J. Carroll Naish (his final role) in the cast, with Naish playing Dr. Frankenstein. Not to mention Forrest Ackerman in a cameo role. But this one is really, really bad. Monster make-up so-so.

Monster Meter: one brain.

FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973)- the Creature: Michael Sarrazin. Not really the true story as it takes lots of liberties with Mary Shelley’s novel, but this handsome made for TV production is one of my favorite Frankenstein movies and features James Mason in a scene stealing performance as the menacing Dr. Polidori. Interesting take on the Creature by Michael Sarrazin, who starts off handsome and then deteriorates. Average make-up.

Monster Meter: three brains.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)- The Monster- Peter Boyle. Much like ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948), this comedy spoof by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder is one of the best Frankenstein movies ever made. It’s not only hilarious comedy, but it stays true to the Frankenstein movie canon. Peter Boyle is fantastic as the Monster, and his is one of the best onscreen performances of the Monster ever, and this is in a comedy!

Monster Meter: four brains.

THE BRIDE (1985) – The Monster/Viktor – Clancy Brown – Arthouse remake of THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) starring Sting as Victor Frankenstein and Jennifer Beals as his female creation is a colossal bore. As is the Monster.

Monster Meter: two brains.

FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND (1990)- The Monster: Nick Brimble – Roger Cormans’s Frankenstein tale is ambitious and interesting, and even involves time travel. Ultimately it doesn’t really work but it’s certainly not boring. Same can be said for the Monster.

Monster Meter: two brains

MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN (1994) – Creature: Robert De Niro – De Niro is probably the most famous actor to ever play Frankenstein’s creation. I’m still shocked that this movie is as bad as it is. I mean, you’ve got Kenneth Branagh directing and playing Victor Frankenstein, and De Niro as the Creature. Yet none of it works. De Niro was miscast, sadly.

Monster Meter: one brain.

VAN HELSING (2004) -The Monster: Shuler Hensley – Horrible movie, featuring the whiniest Frankenstein monster of all time.

Monster Meter: 0 brains.

I, FRANKENSTEIN (2014) – The Monster/Adam – Aaron Eckhart – the 2000s have not been kind to Frankenstein, mostly because Universal has tried to re-imagine their monster universe and have failed miserably at it. Stupid movie with a halfway decent monster.

Monster Meter: two brains

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN (2015) – The Monster/Prometheus – Spencer Wilding- Another awful Frankenstein movie, in spite of Daniel Radcliffe as Igor and James McAvoy as Victor Frankenstein.

Monster Meter: 0 brains.

So, as you can see, with very few exceptions, most of the FRANKENSTEN movies and their monsters not made by Universal or Hammer have been pretty bad.

Hope you enjoyed today’s column and join me again next time when I look at other Monster Movies.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

One thought on “Monster Movies: THE FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER – THE SOLO EFFORTS

  1. I can say that there are some of Hollywood’s efforts at at scaring I find offensive — perhaps because starting more so with Vietnam — we began to encounter and embrace the reality of physical disfigurement and disability in our day-to-day lives. When we see Frankenstein’s monster as an assemblage of dead parts, we are sound in the embodiment of Horror and questioning the right things. But when we use disfigurement and facial deformity as a SOURCE of Horror, we have left the Literary point far behind and are indulging in exploitation and insult. For that reason I have a particular fondness for films about the monster that show the “bolts and stitches” instead of that overstated and shocking violence to the face…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s