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I love this take on the "man creates monster" tale. This 1958 movie
stars Donald Murphy as Oliver Frank (short for Frankenstein), grandson
of the original monster maker. It is 1958, Los Angeles, and he is
living with Dr. Carter Morton (Felix Locher) and assisting him with his
experiments. Unbeknownst to Dr. Morton, Oliver is using the lab for not
just legitimate experiments, but to try to carry on the "family
business", creating a human being from body parts.
Sandra Knight portrays Trudy Morton, Dr. Morton's teenage niece. John Ashley is her good guy boyfriend, Johnny. To make a long story short, Oliver creates a woman monster using the head of Trudy's va va voom friend Suzy (played by 1957 Playmate of the Year, Sally Todd) who was killed by Oliver in a jealous rage, and various other body parts, mostly male. The resulting monster with a female head, all be it butt ugly, and male body is hilarious to say the least. There is also a side story where Oliver is drugging Trudy with a drug that turns her into a monster because she won't play hide the salami with him. The monster make up on both monsters is not scary, but laughable.
All teen oriented movies in the 1950's had to have a few dance/song sequences with that new music, rock and roll, and this movie is no exception. Surprisingly enough, John Ashley doesn't perform (he was a singer and sang in several 1950's movies, most noticeably to 50's scary movie fans in the movie "How to Create a Monster"). Instead, Harold Lloyd Jr. sings two songs with the Page Cavanaugh Trio. The songs are funny although I think they were meant to be serious back when the movie was released.
This movie has everything you would expect from a 1950's low budget horror movie...cheap sets, grade b actors, crapola make up and cheezy song and dance routines. In other words, everything for a fun movie!
For many years people derided this film as the worst Frankenstein movie ever made. Of course that was before things like FRANKENSTEIN '80 or FRANKENSTEIN'S CASTLE OF FREAKS came along. I grew up watching this film on "Chiller Theatre" and now I have a beautiful sepia tinted print on video so it is indeed a pleasure of mine, and not a guilty one either. I like this film and I am not ashamed to admit it, so there! What a cast, Felix Locher, real life father of actor Jon Hall, as a dedicated but misguided scientist; Donald Murphy as yet another "last of the Frankenstein's" (the third one the movies offered us in the space of a single year!); Harold Lloyd Jr as the comedy relief, Sandra Knight (future Mrs. Jack Nicholson) as both the girl in distress AND the fill-in monster; and last but not least John Ashley as the hero. Two men played the title monster: mostly he (she?, it?) was played by Harry Wilson, former stunt double for Wallace Beery (you can see Mr. Wilson briefly in THEM! in the hospital scene. He is in the bed next to the one occupied by Olin Howland) and for the scene where the Monster is on fire stuntman George Barrows takes over. Ms. Knight is memorable as the crusty faced, bug eyed monster who dominates the first half of the movie. If she had just gone on one date with Mr. Murphy perhaps he would not have experimented on her; but of course the plot had to advance. It's the title monster that gets me. An ostensibly male body with the severely mutilated head of a female hit-and-run victim grafted on; talk about gender confusion! Mr. Murphy gets a classic bit of male chauvinism when he declares "The brain of a female is conditioned to a man's world, therefore it takes orders." Wanna bet? The first thing the monster does after it wakes up is wander out on its own and kill someone! It is polite enough to knock when it returns home at least. You have to love the party scene. Harold Lloyd Jr (backed by Paige Cavanaugh and his Trio, a jazz combo trying to ease into rock and roll) sings "Special Date" and "Daddy Bird" and nearly steals the second half of the movie. Oh, and for your trivia folder, that burned face makeup on Mr.Murphy that was immortalised in the opening credits of "Chiller Theatre" was accomplished in less than 5 minutes thanks to some clear gel, lens paper, and chocolate syrup. Director Richard Cunha made other features, but I do believe this is his best.
**1/2 out of ****
My earliest memory of seeing FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER was somewhere back in the early 1970s when I was very young. I was living in Queens, New York and back in those sweet days I used to bounce between TV stations to catch a Saturday night horror film on either Channel 5's "Creature Features" or Channel 11's "Chiller Theatre." Well, "Chiller" won out on that particular evening. It was the heart of summer and my street was having a festive block party. I can still hear the sounds of music and kids laughing and playing, as someone would frequently run inside and ask me why I wasn't outside joining in all the fun. As much fun as I knew the family and neighbors were having outside, I couldn't have cared less; I was riveted to an old-fashioned television set watching FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER and adding this night to my memory banks. I'm sure they've all since forgotten their block party...
It's strange to think that this film was only a dozen or so years old when I first saw it! Since we weren't yet too jaded by gore and splatter, I found some genuinely powerful moments in FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER: There was blood on some of the the victims, we got a glimpse of a dismembered hand, and we were also treated to mangled and meaty body parts. The icing on the cake was a shot of a character's face virtually melting away after being splashed with acid. Pretty potent stuff compared to what I was already accustomed to.
The 1958 feature seemed very relative to me at the time. My Queens block looked very much like the residential streets in the movie, and the basement laboratory could very well have been my own cellar, had I dressed it up with some test tubes and a large table. The added fact that the story was about teenagers (okay, so they looked more like thirty-something's) also gave me a point of identification. A backyard barbecue scene again struck a chord, and was particularly appropriate on this festive evening where a noisy shindig was actually occurring a few feet away, just outside my own screen door.
The movie starts with a pre-credits sequence: Sandra Knight is prowling the neighborhood in cheap (but effective) monster make-up, with bushy eyebrows and decaying buck teeth. One of her girlfriends (the sultry Sally Todd) is just getting home from a date with her boyfriend and screams at the very sight of her. The next morning, Knight awakens as a normal-looking girl with no memory of what went on the previous evening, though when she meets Sally for tennis, her friend insists that she saw some sort of monster last night. This strange revelation triggers memories of bad dreams for Knight, and she soon thinks that she could have been the creature in question.
Meanwhile, Knight's elderly Uncle (played with hilarious ineptitude by the always-funny Felix Locher) is experimenting with a formula to render man ageless. He has acquired a young assistant named Oliver Frank (short for Frankenstein, of course) who is supposedly aiding him, but who would rather see the old man dead so he can gain full use of the laboratory to concentrate on his own masterful experiment. Donald Murphy plays Oliver, and he's one of the most detestable snakes ever to slither down the Frankenstein Family Tree. He's a joy to watch at work, using the "nutty old man's" formula on his own niece by spiking her nightly glasses of fruit punch, thereby turning her into the grotesque monster from the opening sequence!
Later, Oliver connives his way into a date with Sally Todd and tries in vain to make out with her, only to be slapped across the face by the stuck-up vixen... "Hey," Oliver protests from Lover's Lane, "you agreed to park here with me!" Soon he has a better idea: he gets even by mowing her down with his car as she tries to run away! Then, taking her body to the basement lab, Frank decides to use her head on the hulking carcass he's assembling behind the old doc's back. When the automation comes to life, it's actually a male actor (Harry Wilson) who portrays her with a toasty-looking face (reportedly, nobody bothered to tell makeup artist Harry Thomas that the monster was to be female, so he solved the dilemma by smearing some lipstick on its kisser!) Amidst the rampages of Frankenstein's Daughter, we are treated to the aforementioned evening backyard barbecue. Still wondering where their friend Sally Todd vanished to, the other teens ease their pain between hamburgers and frankfurters while enjoying the live music of "Page Cavanaugh and His Trio". The band treats us to two '50s gems: "Daddy Bird" and -- my own guilty favorite -- "Special Date." I have since memorized all the words, and it's a riot!
With lovable horror clichés, gooey monsters, and funny dialog, this is a cult classic of its type from director Richard Cunha. It's a lightly-paced thrill ride from start to finish and one of the best teenage monster movies of them all. It's easily Cunha's masterpiece (if such a word applies here). At its worst, FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER is a harmlessly funny exploitation farce; at its best, it's one of the most underrated monster classics of the 50s. I'd love to give it three or four stars just based on sheer cheesy enjoyment value!
This movie and MISSILE TO THE MOON were the pinnacle of achievement in Richard Cunha's short life as a film director, although SHE DEMONS GETS honorable mention also. Donald Murphy is excellent as the descendant of Frankenstein and cheap movie regular John Ashley does his best Ricky Nelson imitation as the boyfriend of the girl Frankenstein experiments on. Despite a large smear of lipstick on its face, the final creature still looks like a big burly man in a costume. Sandra Knight's transformation into the monster-in-a-swimsuit is actually a bit scary with its huge unblinking eyes and big fangs as it approaches the camera in one scene. But watch out for her hilariously inept fainting scene.
This is the movie that almost killed me. Watching it many years ago, at NYC's Thalia Theatre, as part of an amazing double feature with "The Monster From Green Hell," I laughed so uproariously that I really thought I was going to rupture my spleen. It has been my favorite "bad movie" ever since, and I love it to this day, for many reasons. First of all, we have to wait a mere 20 seconds or so before we see one of the film's two impressive monsters. That first one is Trudy, who, when we first see her, is an ugly, bucktoothed, bushy-browed horror in a nightgown. Come morning, Trudy is as pretty as can be, but retains memories of the previous night. Could all this have something to do with the presence of her uncle's research assistant, Otto Frank (nee Frankenstein), in the house? What would you think? As it turns out, ol' Otto, the grandson of the original good Dr., is using Uncle Carter's lab for some projects of his own. The creature he ultimately creates looks like a wrinkled mass of toadstools, while the monster's female brain "is conditioned to a man's world; therefore takes orders where [19th century ones] didn't." (This line always brings the house down in theatres!) Fifties stalwart John Ashley provides his usual sturdy support to the befuddled Trudy, director Richard Cunha remarkably brings in his fourth awesome film of 1958 ("She Demons," "Giant From the Unknown" and "Missile to the Moon" being the others), and the Page Cavanaugh Trio performs two swinging rock 'n' roll numbers. Indeed, the song with the refrain "Shaba-labba-lop, bobba-lobba lobba-lop" (which I now know to be called "Daddy-Bird") was the one that almost killed me back at the Thalia. This really might be the most entertaining teen/horror/rock 'n' roll movie ever made, nicely presented on this crisp-looking Image DVD.
as a kid in Paterson new jersey i loved channel 11's chiller theater,the claymation hand coming out of the grave grabbing the letters that spell chiller,anyway Frankensteins daughter is a wonderfully cheesy b-movie that scared me as a kid,but now its one of my favorite cheesy monster films.the monster is supposed to be a woman but looks like a man monster with lipstick.the spooky music was used in missile to the moon the same year which was a remake of the 3d movie cat-women of the moon.harold Lloyd Jr plays a descendant of Dr Frankenstein,so he decides to create a monster in the basement of his doctor employer,whose niece(Sandra knight)is unknowingly used as a guinea pig for Dr franks experiments.she turns into a bug eyed big toothed monster that looks amazingly like one of the she demons.no surprise it was made at the same studio as she demons,Astor films. john Ashley the king of b-movies from the 50's and later star of the Filipino monster movies plays the girls boyfriend.i actually thought this was better then the usual b-movies.Sandra knight went on to star in the terror with her future husband jack Nicholson,and the legendary Boris karloff.7 out of 10.a good bad movie.
If you enjoy bad movies, then Frankenstein's Daughter is a film that you should see. The original Frankenstein's grandson is assisting a scientist in his research to find a cure all drug. On the sly, he is continuing in the family tradition, conducting his experiments in an unused wine cellar off the basement lab. This is one of many teenagers vs the monsters type fare of the late fifties. The Frankenstein monster is one of the hokiest monsters ever seen. In addition to all of this, you are treated to some rock and roll performances during an outdoor barbecue. The dialogue is hilarious.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You can take a Frankenstein out of the Old Country, but you can't take
the Old Country out of a Frankenstein.
Yet another of Victor's descendants, Oliver, trucks his mad experiments all the way to the suburbs of L.A.
Charting the family tree of the randy Frankenstein clan is daunting. Ollie would seem to be the son of Wolf (the titular 'Son of Frankenstein'), perhaps the older brother of Dr. Freddie ("Frahn-ken-SHTEEN!), nephew of the lusty Lady Tania Frankenstein, and either nephew or cousin of Maria Frankenstein (think she was fudging on her age to Jesse James).
Though he hides his identity behind a truncated last name, Oliver is full-blooded Frankenstein, with a healthy dose of his forefathers' urbane insanity and his aunts' horn-dog chromosome.
Oliver can barely keep his mind on monster-building while Trudy Morton is around. Trudy is the niece of his employer, Carter Morton, a tottering mad scientist with a perplexing Germanic accent. (played by Felix Locher, who portrayed Frenchmen, Spaniards, and even Sitting Bull -- twice -- during his long career.)
Oliver adds a whole new dimension to sexual harassment by slipping Trudy fruit-punch mickeys laced with Digenerol, an apparent early version of Rohypnol.
Trudy keeps waking from nightmares where she's been running around the suburbs in her bathing suit or blue nightie, with bug eyes, Bubba teeth, and a profuse amount of facial hair.
When other members of the community begin to describe seeing the same scantily-clad creature, Trudy deduces that she must be the monster, and proceeds to tell just about everyone she knows. They all pooh-pooh the notion, because, after all, the movie still has 65 minutes to fill.
At this point, we get to know a little more about Trudy's close friend, Suzie (played by February 1957 Playmate, Sally Todd). Seems Suzie is still sore because Trudy stole her boyfriend, Johnny. Suzie can see that live-in employee Oliver has a thing for Trudy, so she plans to get a piece of that action for herself.
Date night comes, and Suzie gets more of Ollie than she wants. Slapping a Frankenstein is a capital offense, and the mad scientist salvages Suzie's brain for his brand new monster.
Exposition ensues, as Mad Doctor Frank explains to his henchman Elsu that he is placing a female brain in his male monster's head because, "the female brain is conditioned to a man's world, and therefore takes orders ...". Ollie forgot that this particular brain just got done slapping the snot out of him.
Elsu, who must be older than dirt, also assisted Granddaddy and Daddy Frankenstein when they brought their own creatures into the world, and gets the notion that Oliver's motives are less honorable than his predecessors. Not good at taking constructive criticism, Dr. Frank tells his henchman, "From here on in, I decide what's evil."
While the mad scientist works hard to spark life in his creature, old man Morton picks that inconvenient moment to have a heart seizure. Hearing his cry for help, and needing to keep him from staggering in on their secret experiment, Oliver and Elsu rush out to aid Morton. As Trudy runs downstairs to see what's the matter, Morton makes a miraculous recovery.
Wouldn't you know it, just when the mad doc is out of the room, the monster gets the jump-start he/she needs, and shambles out of the laboratory. We get our first good look at the new Suzie, and wish we hadn't. Androgyny wasn't in vogue in 1958, so instead of giving us a Prince or a Sting, the director resorted to the old sideshow freak trick of putting lipstick and make-up on the right side of the monster's face, while the scarred left side is that of a man (specifically, Hollywood tough guy Harry Wilson).
Apparently gender-confused, the monster makes a point of ripping the frilly curtains off the window before busting through the front door into the night.
Cut to the two unluckiest dockworkers since Abbott and Costello met Dracula. Suzie the monster does a Mummy shuffle along the dock, and catches the attention of one of the workers, who demands to know "Who are you?". Suzie tries to use her new monster vocal chords to say, "Miss February, 1957", but it all comes out as a grunt. Frustrated that she can't make the crowbar-wielding worker understand, she leans on her best feminine wiles, and repeatedly bitch-slaps him. In this new monster body, though, Suzie bounces him all over the dock.
Tired of killing for the night, Suzie heads home to her mad doctor. A little humanity shines through, as the monster stops and politely knocks at the very same door he/she had smashed through just an hour before.
Expecting boyfriend Johnny, the hapless Trudy answers the door and collapses in a total wiggins at the sight of her new dead best friend, Suzie.
The monster gets whisked away by his/her maker, Trudy is revived and duly convinced by concerned loved ones that she's nuts, and Uncle Carter urges her to have a teenage rock-n-roll dance party barbecue by the backyard pool, just to calm her nerves.
The viewer is invited along, as the four-man (?) Page Cavanaugh Trio plays jazzy, hep hits for the come-as-you-are teen party-goers. This is the way life should be. There should always be combos playing in the backyard while newspaper headlines scream "WOMAN MONSTER MENACES CITY!" Not even Godzilla should keep us from grabbing a little gusto. Hollywood filmmakers should resurrect the tradition of musical interludes in horror movies, so we can relive great moments like this and the barn dance in 'Giant Gila Monster'.
This movie adds a timeless tune, 'Daddy Bird' to the teenage horror movie hit list -- right up there with 'Beware the Blob', 'Ghoul in School' from 'Werewolf in a Girls Dormitory', and 'Kiss My A--' from 'Zombie High'. 4 out of 10.
Frankenstein's Daughter (1958)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Dr. Frankenstein's grandson (Donald Murphy) moves to L.A. where he becomes an assistant but in his off time he is creating another brutish monster. This film runs 86-minutes and I can't help but think it would have been much better had twenty-minutes been edited out. As it stands, this is a mildly entertaining film that has a few 'so bad it's good' laughs but in the end there's just not enough going for it to be rewarding in its running time. What does work are the monsters, which includes the one the doctor is making but we also have a second one involving a young woman (Sandra Knight) who is being drugged by the bad doctor, which transforms her into a beast. The make up effects are rather silly looking but they do create a couple interesting monsters, although it's very hard to believe that actress Sally Todd is behind the main one. Now, what really kills the film is that the two monsters get very limited screen time as most of it focuses on the doctor, the young woman and her boyfriend. All the teen drama stuff just doesn't work and I'm not sure how many scenes we need with people not believing who or what the monster is. John Ashley, Knight and Murphy turn in decent performances but quite often they garner laughs due to the rather weak screenplay they're working in. Harold Lloyd, Jr., has a small role here but doesn't impress too much either.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Drive in classic about a decedent of Frankenstein turning a woman into
Painful bad movie used to be a staple on late night TV and in the drive ins across the country. I've seen this film I don't know how many times and every time I do I can't believe I'm actually sitting through it. Don't get me wrong its great fun in a bad movie sort of a way, but at the same time there is no way to get around the fact that the film is a stinker. Its silly and goofy and everything you really don't want in any sort of movie. And yet there is a certain amount of charm that makes this the sort of thing that in the right frame of mind or with a bunch or witty friends can be a great deal of fun.
Recommended for bad movie lovers
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