Cinemagraphe


Frankenstein Island - 1981

Frankenstein Island - Released November 27, 1981. Directed by Jerry Warren

A legendary bad film full of incoherent low-budget invention and showing influences from many older movies, such as Island of Lost Souls and Karloff's Frankenstein. Sometimes praised as an unintended laugh-riot, but only for the very patient or those who can supply their own commentary track.

A hot air balloon crashes near Frankenstein Island, and the crew paddles to shore aboard a blowup raft and once they step onto the island they declare they're going to build a raft (?) They were originally using their balloon to search for another balloon that had disappeared, but after that is established it is not mentioned again for the remainder of the film, which is how many of the plot threads in the story start and end.

Like curious tourists at a theme park, the group wander about the island. There are many sections with mundane footage of the group walking in fields, walking into buildings, walking up stairs, and walking back out again, stretching the run time and the patience of the audience. This group often seem to be on a field trip.

They meet unusual people: Sheila Frankenstein (Katherine Victor), great-grand-daughter of the the famous doctor, also a large gaggle of young women who are all dressed in leopard-skin swimsuits. The story tells us they are "aliens," but they are called "amazons" by most of the characters. There is also a very modest laboratory where indecipherable research is barely going on (it does have a Tesla or Strickfaden electrical machine, though!)

John Carradine appears in a few places as a large head briefly projected onto cave walls and trees (like the Great and Powerful Oz). Andrew Duggen and Cameron Mitchell also appear in this movie and their characters are likewise strangely out of synch with the story, not that the story really ever gets into synch with any one main idea, but seems to constantly be spinning toward something new and jettisoning what came before.

The Frankenstein monster (in primitive Karloffian makeup) appears finally after over an hour into the tale, but by then the old Gothic monster seems completely out of place, and when he goes into the interior of a building where the amazons are manning a 50-calibre machine gun (?) a brawl breaks out between basically everybody, but it looks more like dancing in a semi-violent discotheque with terrible decorating.

Bad-movie aficionados praise Frankenstein Island for the on screen disaster and for it having the feel of a bad 1950s or 1960s film, though it is in such bad shape in the storytelling department that it makes something like Plan 9 from Outer Space look like Citizen Kane.

AMAZON STREAMING: Frankenstein Island


Original Page February 2017

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