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Only the Monster she made could satisfy her strange desires!
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 02/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The title character in "Lady Frankenstein" ("La Figlia di Frankenstein") turns out to be the daughter of the mad scientist and not his wife. Baron Frankenstein (Joseph Cotton) has been trying unsuccessfully for two decades to bring dead tissue to life. Using the corpse of a recently hung man as his test subject (note the interesting place they pick to hang the guy), the Baron finally succeeds. But there is something wrong with the brain and the monster kills the Baron and goes off to wreck more havoc on the countryside. Now that she is in control of the laboratory, having watched her father work since she was a little girl and having graduated medical school herself, the Baron's daughter Tania (Rosalba Neri, a.k.a. Sara Bay), wants revenge. However, Lady Frankenstein wants to do more than fight fire with fire.
Her plan is to take the brain of Dr. Charles Marshall (Paul Müller), her father's old lab assistant and the man who loves her, and put it into the hulking body of Thomas (Paul Whiteman), a manservant who is mentally retarded, so that she can have both brains and brawn. The plan is that this new creation will get revenge by killing the first creation, and then return to Tania's bedroom to find other ways of making her really, really happy. Meanwhile, Captain Harris (Mickey Hargitay) is investigating the Baron's death (Tantia makes up a story about a robber) and spouting interesting lines of dialogue to the suspects. It also turns out that Tania is not the only one seeking revenge. The original monster is going after the grave robbers, so there is a constant body count in this one. Actually it is not the dead people but the naked people who count more in this one, especially the quaint European custom of the man staying fully clothed while the women is totally naked.
Despite the cartoonish poster art for "Lady Frankenstein," director Mel Welles (a.k.a. Ernst R. von Theumer) creates an appropriately gothic looking horror film. However, the story is an uneven mix of interesting ideas (e.g., chemical batteries are better that lightning for reanimating dead tissue) and sundry plot holes (e.g., how Marshall's brain finally puts two and two together). Simply in terms of Eurotrash this is an above average example of the genre, in terms of both the story and the acting in addition to the bodies. Then again, as good as Neri looks (as long as you are not watching her eyes dart back and forth when she is listening to others speak) that is about how bad the monster (the first one) looks. Overall, the ending is the weakest part of "Lady Frankenstein," but that it is actually a plus because normally it is the set up that has you rolling your eyes. That is once you put your eyes back in your head, because when you cast Rosalba Neri as the lead character you are clearly deemphasizing the horror aspects of this particular horror film in favor of other attributes.
The DVD has some pretty good extras considering what the movie is, with a lot more than the theatrical trailer and televison spot for "Lady Frankenstein." Also included by DVD Drive-In are the trailers for other Italian horror movies from "Beyond the Darkness" to "The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave!" with "Revenge of the Living Dead," "Curse of the Living Dead," and "Fangs of the Living Dead" thrown in between. There are all sorts of production photographs, movie posters, and candid shots, several of which will make Neri's fans rather, ah, happy. There is also a short interview with the actress, as well as a longer walk down memory lane with the director Mel Welles, who tells a lot of stories about the production of the film (Roger Corman to the rescue). The deleted scenes are in Italian, so be prepared for that and make up your own dialogue. For me the extras are good enough to decide to round up on "Lady Frankenstein." Note: The Easter Egg on this one is the candle."
Creative Take on Frankenstein
Charles J. Rector | Woodstock, IL United States | 11/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lady Frankenstein comes off as one of the most creative if not the best retellings of the done-to-death Frankenstein theme committed to film thus far. It also stars one of the best actors who ever played the role of Baron Dr. Frankenstein, Joseph Cotten.
The Lady Frankenstein in this movie is the daughter of Baron Dr. Frankeinstein, Tania (Rosalba Neri). She comes home after graduating from medical school with her head filled with all sorts of "radical ideas." Among other things, she had engaged in unauthorized experiments involving human tissue and transplants. She is determined to assist her father in his experiments.
However, her father rebuffs her and ably assisted by his non-hunchbacked assistant, Dr. Charles Marshall (Paul Muller), he creates his monster. Frankenstein's plans go awry as the unexpected side effects of the electric shock aspect of his creative process results in a homicidal monster. The monster turns on its creator and kills him and then escapes the castle and spreads fear, havoc and ultimately, death in the surrounding countryside. Compounding matters, Police Captain Harris (Mickey Hargitay) is energetically pursuing any and all leads into the investigation of Frankenstein's death. This includes the possiblity that the monster that has been systematically killing folks off is linked to the late mad scientist Frankenstein in some way.
This situation presents a challenge for Frankenstein's young daughter. She proves herself to be worthy of the Frankenstein name by concocting an insane scheme to right the situation. Her idea is to take the brain of the laboratory assistant, who is deeply in love with her, and transplant it into the body of the handsome but mentally retarded servant. This new creation would then go forth into the wild and kill the monster and afterwards provide Tania with a suitable mate. The lab assistant is surprisingly agreeable to the bizarre scheme and after a surprisingly easy laboratory operation, the deed is done. The sharp mind of the lab assistant and the muscular body of the retarded servant are now one and the same.
The most striking aspect of this film is the atmosphere which makes you feel as though you were living in that very village and castle, among those people many of whom has something to hide. This movie features very good acting, in particular Paul Muller as the lab assistant, Rosalba Neri in the title role and, of course, Joseph Cotten as the Baron Doctor Frankenstein.
Lady Frankenstein is as much a tale about obsession, the insane things you will do for love, the risks you will take for money, the games people play with authorities and a complex morality play as a traditional Frankenstein picture, this movie deserves to be recognized. As such, Lady Frankenstein is a movie that is very much worth your time."
MOVIE FANS WITH TASTE BEWARE! (THAT'S NOT A BAD THING)
Stacy A Conner | Austin, Texas United States | 05/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let me first state that I love these kind of movies. If you're gonna pop this disc in your player and expect "SCREAM", "I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER", or any other somewhat recent horror movie, you're in for a Lady Frankenstein slap to the face. These movies are viewable only by fans who appreciate how bad/good they really are, and these fans know what I am talking about. For [the price] this disc is worth it. The movies are very fun and entertaining, and Lady Frankenstein showing a little skin to get her ways sets the standard for the classic "nudity for no reason rule" that we all love in our cheesy horror movies. It's presented in a drive-in double feature with trailers and an intermission cartoon, it's actually pretty cool. The only thing I can gripe about is that the quality of the film transfer can be very poor at times. Obviously not from a master soure, but hey it's 2 tasteless horror flicks for [a good price]. I am glad with this purchase. Enjoy cheese horror fans!"
M. Wilson | Los Angeles, CA | 05/08/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Another bad DVD double feature featuring two movies that are better off not seen. Joseph Cotton is billed as "James" Cotton on the case. (?) DVD Drive-In is releasing the official Lady Frankenstein DVD soon so if you want this flick, wait for that remastered version."
IT'S ALIVE... AGAIN!!!
Robert P. Bogdanski | Collin County, Tx | 07/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ah, where to start??? After creating life, Baron Frankenstein is murdered by his hideous creation that heads off to kill those people who were involved in its resurrection, or who are simply in the way. The baron's daughter, Tania, who has just arrived from university with the help of his lab assistant, decides to go on and continue with her father's work. To keep the high reputation of the family name and to satisfy her lustful needs. Tania seductively plans to create a perfect being with the brains of her fellow assistant and the body of the slow-witted servant.
"I am, my father's daughter". She sure is! And a whole lot more! This sleazy Frankenstein imitation (of Hammer's "The Horror of Frankenstein") is beyond warped with its kinky fixations with seedy sex and red paint jobs (gore, of course) within its highly Gothic surroundings, inspires this cheap Italian exploitation picture. Albeit at times quite nonsensical and melodramatic, at least it gave the mad doctor theme a huge revamp with its lewd nature and having a female protagonist who was in supreme control with her manipulative prowess. This refreshing twist was one of the few neat additions to this rough around the edges, but above-average production. Director Mel Welles shuffles around some assured moments of suspense, array of blinding images and builds upon the morbidly vivid atmosphere. Not to mention the creeping sound effects and crazy yet some what nagging music score really made it seem cheesier, but in a good way. The make-up effects were simply okay with the ghastly looking monster going on to aimlessly cause havoc like they mostly do in these stories.
When it came to the performances, one can only say they were quite laboured, despite a few decent turns. The very appealing Rosalba Neri grafts away with her conniving and forcefully voluptuous personality. She was quite hypnotic in the role and looked the part of Tania Frankenstein. Joseph Cotten gives the flick a steady head for the short time he's in it and Herbert Fux makes a more than a good impression as Tom Lynch the grave robber. The raw to-the-bone story and script aren't typically the best with their telegraphed patterns, but it lifted when it needed to by showing how much Tania has taken a shine to her father's aspiring work and there were hardly any dull spots.
"Lady Frankenstein" is an entertainingly tainted exercise on someone who cherishes what they do."