Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Good Daughter: Frankenstein's Daughter

We're one year removed from my 3-Part review series called 'The Good Sons.'  In them, I reviewed three films about the sons of famous movie characters- Son of Dracula, Son of Kong and Son of Frankenstein.  For all of you who were not reading the site at this time last year (hiya), I tell you this to prepare you for this new segment: 'The Good Daughters.'  First up, a 1958 B-Movie called Frankenstein's Daughter.  Is it about the famous doctor's daughter?  Well, no.  In fact, this movie's Dr. Frankenstein (call him Dr. Frank) is actually the grandson.  In a weird way, this works out well for me, since it's written as a follow-up to Son of Frankenstein.  Of course, that film had Universal backing & such actors as Basil Rathbone and Bela Lugosi in it.  This film was by the guy who made Missile to the Moon & features such actors as Harold Lloyd Jr.  This should be interesting, huh?  This is...
 The film begins with a lady monster showing up outside and...doing nothing, apparently.  The witness saw a monster, but is still alive.  Um, okay.  Our heroine is a brunette and speaks to her boyfriend about having a dream of a monster, which ties in with her friend's story.  Meanwhile, a younger man is working for an older scientist on some sort of vague potion to heal disease or something.  When a movie can't nail down it's own fake science, we're in trouble.  It becomes readily clear that the other man is keeping stuff from his boss and is much more than a lackey.  As it turns out, the groundskeeper is working with him on some sort of experiment & even brings him a dead person's hand!  Of course, we know what he's doing, since this is, after all, a FRANKENSTEIN MOVIE!  I appreciate the dramatic foreplay, but it's a bit silly here.  We learn that night that the assistant is testing out the prototype of their MacGuffin formula on the young woman and it turns her into some sort of unibrow-sporting monster.  Of course, it's just a cheap, silly mask.
The real meat of this movie involves Dr. Frank and his conniving.  He eventually gets all of the parts he needs for his *secret* experiment.  All he needs now is a head.  Naturally, he decides to hit on the blond girl from earlier and kill her, after she spurns his advances of course.  His experiment seems to fail, since they all do, but the monster eventually wakes up and escapes.  It wanders onto the docks and kills some guy using its best Tor Johnson fighting style.  It actually kills a guy by closing a door on him and pressing it!  Right after he tells her that nothing is going on, the monster shows up at the door and Dr. Frank pulls it away.  It is around this time that the logic really strains itself.  You see, the old man has a lab, but Dr. Frank has a lab built behind it- even going so far as it have it be two stories.  How did that get in there without him knowing it?!?  In fact, the secret door doesn't even have a switch on it, so we have to pretend that the guy never once leaned on the bookcase in all of this time!
 The finale of this movie just acts dumber than anything else you've seen so far...somehow.  The old doctor has been stealing chemicals for the experiment and finally ends up being caught.  At the same time, the girl is *coerced* into throwing a party in the backyard.  After teasing the girl, the lone, single guy is *forced* to sing...which he does in a really rehearsed manner.  By the way, he's played by Harold Lloyd's gay son- go figure!  The finale involves the monster killing one policeman (giving me the 'fire all your bullets and then die' cliche) and facing off with the boyfriend, with the girl's health on the line.  The other cop distracts the monster and our hero throws a bottle of acid.  This actually hits Dr. Frank(enstein) and he dies in a silly manner.  The monster stumbles around, lights itself on fire and dies.  The film ends with the happy couple getting over the death of the uncle (off-screen), the many murders and the monster.  How?  By making out and pushing Mr. Lloyd into the pool.  Hey, you know his girlfriend was killed and decapitated, right?  The End.
So yeah, this is not a good movie.  The plot is silly, the acting is hammy and the production values are super-minimalistic.  As a bonus, the party scene has two musical numbers to pad the run-time.  The first part of the movie is a fake-out as the girl's monster form is actually unrelated to all of this.  I suppose you could say that it's foreshadowing, but it's just downright deceptive!  The monster itself looks ridiculous, but did you expect anything else?  By far, the best part of the movie is Dr. Frank, who has all of the subtlety of a gunshot blast to the face!  He makes the guy from The Brain That Wouldn't Die look like Stephen Hawking!  As per the time, there really is no gore, save for the 'acid splash' bit and the monster make-up is just goofy.  That said, it's not really that boring.  It's stupid as hell, but it's not boring.  Put this on a Double-Feature with Frankenstein vs. The Space Monster & you've got three hours of funny shit- just for all the wrong reasons.
Next up, Universal tackles this whole thing properly with the one true sequel to Tod Browning's Dracula. Has 70 years of obscurity helped or hurt this?  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment