Frankenstein movies you never saw

Classic Film* Review: “Frankenstein vs. the Fairies”

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Title: “Frankenstein vs. the Fairies”

Year: 1928

Director: Maurice Mclaughlin

Starring: Danielle Smash, Kirk Keller, Muriel Stone

You won’t find Maurice Mclaughlin’s surrealist silent-era masterpiece “Frankenstein vs. the Fairies” on Netflix or on Amazon for that matter, but it is well worth tracking down if you can find it. The premise is difficult to describe. Some of the characters may be fairies. One of the characters may be a mad scientist who may have a reanimated corpse slave, or a daughter, or both. “Frankenstein vs. the Fairies” may, in fact, be one of the earliest film adaptations of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Maurice Mclaughlin may have had his five year old daughter draw the storyboards, which he then shuffled around and slammed together in random order, though some say he outsourced the storyboards to a reanimated corpse. Many film historians would add, however, that legends about silent-era movies should not be taken too seriously, since they never posted anything to social media. Pics, as they say, or it did not happen.

Kirk Keller plays a character, Danielle Smash plays another character, and Muriel Stone plays yet another character. Some have theorized that they play new characters for each scene, as one does with sketch comedy, or that each character represents a different aspect of one central character’s psyche, as one does with Disney Pixar’s “Inside Out”.

Film historians rarely include “Frankenstein vs. the Fairies” within the general canon of Frankenstein movies, but neither do they count it among fairy tales. It has no story, while encompassing every story. The stunning camerawork by one-time-only cinematographer Clemenson Howard are both gorgeous and revolting in equal measure, which is the mark of true art. Clemenson Howard may or may not have chopped off his camera cranking hand with an office paper cutter so that there would be no pressure to repeat or exceed his achievement. Film historians are still searching for pics.

Search the old video stores and libraries for “Frankenstein vs. the Fairies.” Let it change your life by expanding your horizons, or at least let it become something to geek out and / or laugh about at a cocktail party. Others will pretend that they too have seen it, which is also the mark of true art. Demand pics.

Rating: Not applicable. It would be sacrilege to rate such a masterpiece with mere stars, or in the case of Fake Frankenstein Reviews, lightning bolts.

* This film does not actually exist, but it should.


Classic Film* Review: “The Great Frankenstein Caper”

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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.


Classic Film* Review: “Frankenstein And The Loch Ness Monster”

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Title: “Frankenstein And The Loch Ness Monster”

Director: Eldin Spooner

Starring: York Holloway, Oliver Mobley, Cicely Poole

While most film historians say that the period of classic movies about Dr. Frankentein’s infamous creature ended with the release of “Bud Abbot Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein” in 1948, but Eldin Spooner’s hidden gem “Frankenstein And The Loch Ness Monster” had its limited release the next year, and stands firmly on its bare, undead feet.

Following his creator and nemesis on his way to the arctic, Frankenstein’s Creature (Holloway) arrives in the Scottish town of Drumnadrochit, by Loch Ness, and he’s starving. Kicked out of a local pub, the Creature tries his giant, sewn-together hand at fishing, only to come face to face with Nessie, voiced with by the dryly funny Cicely Poole. When he finds out that she is the last of her kind, just as he is the first of his, and lonely, the Creature defends the Loch Ness Monster from a boat full of harpoon-wielding tourists, led by Oliver Mobley as Captain Artair Macleod. They turn their harpoons (and apparently pitchforks and torches) to attack the Creature, but Nessie comes to the rescue and sinks their boat before they can destroy her new friend.

This oddly sentimental adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic science fiction and horror character takes its cue from part of the story near the end of the novel, but takes it in a direction that emphasizes the “Friend good!” catchphrase made famous in James Whale’s second Frankenstein movie. One particular highlight of the whole film is the scene where Nessie teaches the Creature highland dancing, a marvelous piece of choreography, especially since Nessie has no feet.

The Scottish stereotypes are cringe-worthy, and Nessie is quite obviously a rubber puppet with a stiff neck, worked by a beginner puppeteer, but overall “Frankenstein And The Loch Ness Monster” holds up as a unique contribution to the tradition of Frankenstein films.

Rating: 3 lightning bolts out of 5

* This film does not actually exist, but it should.