Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965): United States – directed by Robert Gaffney
Not rated by the MPAA – contains some mild violence and a few 1960’s bikinis
There are lots of things one could say about Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, so it’s difficult to know what to mention first. You could discuss the plot, but it is so simple that it would hardly warrant much discussion. More interesting is the manner in which the film was made, but even that thrill fades after a cursory glance. This is truly a D-grade movie, possibly worth watching, but only because it has a funny title.
There are a couple competing factions in this film. On the one hand we have a small spacecraft full of dozens of Martians. They have obliterated their own planet so are looking for a new suitable home. At the same time they must collect breeding stock to repopulate their species, since all the women died, save one. Princess Marcuzan (Marilyn Hanold) is their leader. She wears an odd leather ensemble and is surrounded by bald, incompetent spacemen. They also have a space monster on board, who is hairy and ferocious. He has very little to do with the story.
On the other hand we have some intrepid scientists. Their goal is to send a man to explore Mars. To achieve this they have crafted one of cinema’s first cyborgs, the titular Frank (Robert Reilly.) As they send him up on the space rocket, however, the space men feel the need to destroy it. It manages to survive and crash land in Puerto Rico, leaving one half of Frank’s face exposed. In the process his central chip is destroyed (or something) and so he wanders around like a zombie with the head of the Terminator.
It is inevitable that his path will lead him across the space men, because that’s the title of the movie. His creators also come looking for him, including the stockable-for-breeding Karen Grant (Nancy Marshall.) You can bet that the space men will abduct her and Frank will have to pull his electronic wits together to save her, which may include a fight with the dreaded space monster.
Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster is utterly preposterous and terrible. The plot is lame, the effects are terrible, and it appears that no one on the crew had an eye for continuity. At the very beginning there are shots of the inside of a car that includes a driver, three people in the backseat, and one person apparently floating between the two level of seats. Exterior shots of the car reveal a two-door coupe.
Part of the problem may have arisen from that fact that at least one third of the film is stock footage. The coupe is required to go through a security checkpoint at the space center, and I wonder if all the filmmakers could get was that stock footage, so they had to cut it the best they could with their interiors. Stock footage is also responsible for us seeing several rockets blast off (rockets which change shape and year between cuts), the army respond to the crisis in Puerto Rico, and Air Force jets firing missiles at the hapless spacecraft (which is impervious to human armaments.)
There are some amusing moments in the film. There’s a pool party which features many young hipsters dancing. Gratuitous closeups reveal the shapeliness of the women before the space men interrupt the party, disintegrate a man on the diving board, and abscond with several of the women. The stock footage is a laugh, because it’s stock footage. They did a good job matching most of the stock quality with their own quality of film, but sometimes it is painfully evident that we are watching Korean War footage.
There’s not much else to say. The title is amusing, but the film is bad, the acting is bad, the script is bad, the effects are bad, and even the poster is bad. If you’re into very poor sci-fi flicks, you can’t do much worse than Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster. However, if you want to be able to say you’ve seen a movie by that name, watching this is the only way you can achieve that goal.