And we are back! Welcome back to Rotten Reelz Reviews and... I have a ridiculous over the top film. Yeah you knew the first review of the year would be something just odd. This time around we are step into the duo genre of Horror Western. While this phenomenon has been a constant replenishing itself in the last 4 decades, this film is part of the first notion of introducing historical figures with fictional characters. Okay enough positive. Now let's get through this.
This is Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter.
First off the title is wrong. Yes Jesse James is the key character but he meets Frankenstein's Granddaughter. So yeah already right out of the gate and we got issues.
|No, not a ten gallon hat, I'm just pleased to meet ya.|
This film is part of a drive-in/marque double feature also directed by director/actor William Beaudine who did TV episodes of Naked City, The Green Hornet and dozens of Lassie episodes. Both features were shot in 8 days at the Corriganville Movie Ranch and you can honestly say, that was clearly shot in 8 days. Along with this opus came the Horror Western, Billy the Kid vs Dracula. Oh don't worry, we will have a video review coming soon all about that stink nugget.
Jesse James (John Lupton of Airport 1975, Julius Caesar, Red River, B.J. And the Bear, Miracle on Ice, Charlie's Angels, The Rockford Files) is the notorious Kansas City outlaw hiding out in Mexico avoiding the Marshal MacPhee (character actor Jim Davis of Big Jake, Time Tunnel, Dallas, The Day Time Ended, Comes a Horseman, Project U.F.O., Oregon Trail and The Choirboys). Brother Frank is, well he's not here. Maybe they went their separate ways, maybe he died from syphilis and maybe he atoned and became a priest. All those options would be theatrically sound and a decent flashback sequence but nope! Not this film.
|Doll, my milkshake brings all the dead to the yard.|
So the other oddity in this here one horse town is a European castle in Mexico. A tad out of place wouldn't you say? The castle is owned by a Frankenstine? Frodrick perhaps? No it is in fact granddaughter Maria Frankenstein (Narda Onyx of Wire Service, Broken Arrow, Steve Canyon, The Third Man, 77 Sunset Strip, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, North to Alaska and The Tall Man) who has taken up the family business. And by that, yes digging up corpses attempting to reanimate them. You lack Dr. West's formula!
Back to Jesse, who is not traveling alone as he has a huge slab of beef watching his back. Seriously this dude makes Jason Vorhees' Kane Hodder look small. Hank (not Hardware but Cal Bolder of Bonanza, One of Our Spies Is Missing, Daniel Boone, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Star Trek and Cimarron Strip) looks like he could wrestle a Kodak bear and the bear would tap out.
After a gunfight ensues and Jesse is the victor, Hank got injured and the villagers tell him of Lady Frankenstein (no not the Italian Softcore Porn/Horror) and how far her castle was. Given you could see this gaudy out of place castle quite easily I guess pointing to the matte painting wasn't really needed. Over a half hour into the movie and our leads finally meet up. That robbery subplot was vital I guess.
Maria is overwhelmed by these visitors and goes right to assisting Hank...with of course her own ideas in mind. Frankly I thought she was going to jump his bones from all the eye banging she was doing.
|Me and Boomstick's getting hitched. IT'S NOT WEIRD!!!|
Will Hank be okay? Can Jesse stay above the law? Will Maria turn to outlaws into walking corpses?
Hey kids! Who wants a fun, film fact?! No one? Tough titty.
Bought and built by Stuntman Ray "Crash" Corrigan, this ranch has been the scenic background for movie and TV such as: Star Trek, Fort Apache, The Lone Ranger, The Robe and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. With a oak woodland providing terrain like caves,lakes, mountains and rock outcroppings. There is even a man made lake and waterfall giving a bunker with thick windows gives way to underwater shooting, allowing camera and crew to stay nice and dry.
Now thankfully we have an older man rather than the usual fresh faced twenty something portraying this bandit and well, his performance is better than this film deserves. No I do not think it rivals Robert Duvall in The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid nor do I feel it comes close to Bill Paxton's depiction in Frank and Jesse but at least we have a harden cat playing like a man on the run. Twitchy, on edge and sharp to dealing with trouble with his coffin nail driver. Or if you prefer, six shooter.
With the charming location, the deep woods and the quaint folksy environment, the stage is set but alas the film is too confusing for this to be deemed worthy of a Hammer productions or the Universal Studios Movie Monsters alumni. I took away from a professional creation in the allotted 8 days they shot it and with the quality it is a sound production but again just felt silly.
|Damn, these castle orgies do go on all night.|