Title: “The Great Frankenstein Caper”
Director: Talia Sanjorf
Starring: Nigel Friday, Vicki Tucker, Imelda Miyamoto
Talia Sanjorf’s independant hidden gem from 1996, “The Great Frankenstein Caper” has two jewel thieves copying the late Victor Frankenstein’s work in order to create the perfect tough guy to help with their latest heist. The movie works as a sharp and tightly-wound farce that deftly balances a series of interwoven plotlines, with a tone that manages to evoke genuine thrills as well as laughs.
Vicki Tucker plays Cherie-Lynn Burnette, one of the jewel thieves, who uses her scientific genius to figure out foolproof new ways to steal valuable and historically-relevant gems. When she builds the Creature, her partner in crime Kattie Song (played to the hilt by the under-appreciated Imelda Miyamoto) acts as the Igor of the duo, until the heist begins. Nigel Friday plays a rather childlike version of the Creature, easily distracted by anything shiny (to the inconvenience of the jewel thieves), and by his own gigantic toes.
This oddly madcap story inspired by Mary Shelley’s classic science fiction and horror character largely ignores the content of the novel and even the old Universal movies. In fact, the biggest influence for “The Great Frankenstein Caper” may have been the Oscar-winning animated short “Wallace And Gromit: The Wrong Trousers”, although only Talia Sanjorf would know for sure.
As entertaining as it is, perhaps “The Great Frankenstein Caper”s most valuable achievement is what Sanjorf was able to do visually with a microbudget that puts most new film school graduate projects to shame. Rumour has it, filming secretly on other people’s property was as much a caper as the content of the movie. Illegal, but impressive.
Rating: 4 lightning bolts out of 5
* This film does not actually exist, but it should.