Monday, October 13, 2008

31 Days of Halloween - Day 13 Movie 2

Made the same year as "Curse of Frankenstein," "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein" (1957) also attempts to reinvigorate the familiar Frankenstein story with added gore, but also by bringing it to the modern era and attempting to appeal directly to a teenage audience by making the monster one of their own. Except for a switch to color with a climactic electrocution scene, this movie is in black and white and about as low budget looking as you can get.

Whit Bissell, fresh from transforming Michael Landon into a werewolf in "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" (1957) returns to turning kids into monsters. This time he plays Dr. Frankenstein working on a way to perform succesful organ transplants, but deciding to prove it can be done by creating an entire living, young, human being by carefully selecting various parts from ideal specimens and stitching them all together into his own creation. This movie, unnecessarily informs us that this Dr. Frankenstein is a descendant of Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein, also making me wonder if he didn't have any descendants who opted for a career other than medicine.

Bissell, again convincingly delivering ridiculous pseudoscientific dialogue and a few campy one liners, is great as the cold, backstabbing scientist who will do whatever it takes to make his experiment a success and assure his own fame and fortune. Stolen and murdered bodies go into his creation, and I'm not sure how he thought he'd get away with revealing this fact to his scientific peers. Unwanted parts are fed to an alligator residing in a pit beneath his home. Gerry Conway, who portrays the monster as a physically fit young man, with an incredibly hideous head, is very sympathetic and in no ways evil, merely manipulated into doing what Frankenstein asks of him in a desperate drive to be given a new face, one that won't terrify people, and will allow him to go back out into society.

It's a very watchable, entertaining, crappy movie, with a cool looking monster and some laugh out loud dialogue.

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