“Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter” (1966)
Released as a double feature with “Billy the Kid vs. Dracula”, William Beaudine’s “Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter” is the kind of matinee movie in which it might have proved prudent to hand out a Rosetta Stone to each attending tot, as the mixture of impenetrable accents (are they supposed to sound Mexican or Austrian or is half of the cast simply afflicted with mouths full of novocaine?) render much of Carl Hittleman’s dialogue incomprehensible. On the other hand, the chatter that does rise above the fog of obscurity makes make you wish for a sudden flare-up of hysterical deafness. However, no amount of desensitizing can disguise the fact that the performers would have had to graduate from decades of Actor’s Studio training to rise to the level of appalling.
Maria (Narda Onyx) and Rudolph (Steven Geray) Frankenstein are conducting experiments in a Southwest matte painting above a backlot village. Maria, concerned that her continued series of failed experiments (she replaces healthy brains with artificial ones so that she might create “someone to do our bidding who can’t be put to death”) have emptied the local village of usable children (unless her plans include sending the mindlessly obedient tykes to ravage the neighborhood demanding Burpee Seed orders, it’s unclear as to why she doesn’t understand that her dream of world domination doesn’t make a bit of sense), until after consulting her grandfather’s notes (which even the stupidest of scientists might have done before running through the local population), she discovers an error in her medical procedure and realizes “a man, a giant” would be a more suitable candidate for her experimentation.
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