Space Disgrace: “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” (1965)

The excellent character actor James Karen makes an inauspicious film debut in Robert Gaffney's unfortunate "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster"; the movie equivalent of a cruel incident of fraternity hazing.

The excellent character actor James Karen makes an inauspicious film debut in Robert Gaffney’s unfortunate “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster”; the movie equivalent of a cruel incident of fraternity hazing.

   With “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” the Gothic trappings of Mary Shelley’s seminal work of horror literature are abandoned in the service of timely expediency in capitalizing on the then-current frenzied Space Race, with the concept of the eponymous artificially created man/monster evolving from a sutured amalgam of cadaver trimmings to a transistor-based man/robot with malfunction issues. In fact, except for the robot’s name being Frank, there is little (none actually) resemblance to the classic tale, though there are intrinsic narrative elements that would later form the basis of Larry Buchanan’s equally accomplished “Mars Needs Women”.

    The robot Frank is intended to substitute for a human astronaut on a perilous deep space mission, but there is little scientific exposition (again, none) concerning the nature of such a mission that would require such a drastic substitution, (with the filmmakers apparently unaware of either the Mercury or Gemini programs of the day) though  there is an abundance of funky stock travelogue footage of Cocoa Beach circa early 60’s, maddeningly cross-cut with inappropriately timed shots of the Earthly cast endlessly driving in a car (Insane Thought #1: Could this film have been an influence on Andrei Tarkovsky for his later “Solaris”?) while evidently having difficulty remembering their lines.

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
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2 Responses to Space Disgrace: “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” (1965)

  1. I’ve heard of (own) a lot of the strange films that have used the names of Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. for an extra grab at attention. I have not, however, heard of this one. Just when you think you’ve seen it all…

    • Unfortunately, this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface as far as oddball films which are titled with or subject about the “classic” film monster characters that I’ve endured (sometimes as few as twenty or thirty times each) and I hesitate to dredge up the great bulk of them as it becomes rather depressing to consider how many years I’ve shortened my life by watching this stuff. Do you suppose there’s some sort of patch to wear to wean a person off such dangerous and socially unacceptable addictions? (Though I proudly say I’ve always resisted the hard stuff- Elizabeth Taylor films.)

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