Tuesday, June 13, 2006

FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER

Another legendary B movie finally makes its way to DVD thanks to those twisted geniuses at Dark Sky Films. In fact, for diehard fans of vintage drive-in cinema, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER (1965) is probably the most essential DVD release of the year.

Martians in a flying saucer keep blowing up America's rockets because they think they're hostile missiles. Confused, and determined to stop losing valuable flesh and blood astronauts, NASA sends a remarkably advanced (and certainly expensive) android named "Frank Saunders" (Robert Reilly) on their next space mission. The Martians shoot him down too, of course, causing his capsule to crash land in Puerto Rico. In one of those classic cosmic coincidences, the Martians land there too and hit the beach to round up bikini babes for breeding purposes. Frank, damaged in the crash, wanders the Puerto Rican landscape in a malfunctioning, murderous daze while his creator Dr. Steele (James Karen, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) searches for him from the back of a Vespa scooter. Eventually, all the above parties collide, and the space age Frankenstein (get it?) must go toe-to-toe with the Martians' shaggy Space Monster (Bruce Glover – Crispin's dad – who also plays one of the Martian crewmembers).

Padded with tons of stock footage – close to half the running time, by my estimate – and loaded with camp acting, shoddy sets, military surplus costumes and nearly non-existent production values, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER may well be the cheapest, most absurd, inane, inept and oddly enjoyable exploitation flick of the Sixties.

Dark Sky's DVD is a delight, with a remarkable 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is amazingly sharp and clear (except for the extensive stock footage, which varies considerably). Audio is clear Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. For extras, Dark Sky has included a 16-page booklet with liner notes by the film's screenwriter, a still gallery, and the original theatrical trailer. Even the cover art is great, reminiscent of Sixties monster mags.

Highly recommended for aficionados of "bad" movies.

BUY: Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster