User ReviewsReview this title
(Perhaps I overthink things. . .)
This is a movie to goof on and in that respect it triumphs tremendously.
Not for all tastes, this is actually pretty good if you catch it in the right mood and if you have a sense of humor.
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is neither the best Jesse James nor Frankenstein movies ever made. However, it's a lot of kookie fun. Also, it's slightly better than the infamous companion film Billy The Kid Versus Dracula.
Under the supervision of of veteran director William Beaudine, this is a pretty even mixture of the old poverty row western and horror films, slathered in a thick coat of 1960's color and shot in widescreen.
Giving credit where credit is due - unlike many other Jesse James flicks, this one actually cast an actor that looks like James!
TIP: Watch this movie on MUTE and insert your own dialog for an added treat!
The title alone should tell you how bad it is. In fact Jesse as played by John Lupton doesn't even meet the Baron's daughter, he meets in fact a pair of grandchildren, Narda Onyx and Stefan Schnabel.
Now how did all this occur you ask? It seems as though Lupton is fleeing from the disastrous Northfield, Minnesota raid in which his gang was pretty well decimated. Jesse managed to make it all the way to the Arizona desert with another of his gang, 6'5" Cal Bolder.
I read a little of Bolder's biography. In addition to his height, he sported a 52" chest and a set of biceps to make Hercules drool. Bolder gets wounded when another outlaw betrays them and that sends Jesse in search of a doctor.
So who do they find, but the Frankensteins who've fled Europe because the family name is somewhat tarnished and have set up experimenting in the Arizona desert in a village inhabited mostly with Mexican people. The Frankensteins start experimenting on the populace and the place becomes deserted which is how Lupton and Bolder find it.
Well I have to tell you that she takes one look at the wounded Bolder and decides he'll make a perfect subject. The way she eyes him, not only will he do her killing for her, but she's thinking great big man toy in the off hours.
A whole lot of people die in this one, either at Jesse's hands or at the monster's hands before the film ends. But this unbelievably bad horror film is so deliciously campy it has an honored place as a classic of its kind.
And the cast not only kept a straight face, but served the audience with the biggest slice of ham in 1966.
Narda Onyx and Geray are a funny team; and they don't revive corpses, in the family's tradition, but transplant brains. As a scientist, she seems less dignified than ancestor; and, from reading about the need to wire two brains, she concludes she needs a strongman.
For some reason, she believes that her grandfather was a count.
Jesse wins fistfight bets using his sidekick, who later falls in love with a peasant girl; she kills him, and Jesse leaves her. So, the storyline may be gloomier, but also more sensible than usual. The plot is boosted by sexual fantasy (Maria's), unrequited loves (the girl's, the sidekick's), and indifference (Jesse's). When Maria courts Jesse, trying to win him, she compares her brother unfavorably . Jesse is the blandest of the characters. Davis gives a straight performance as the marshal.
'Jesse ' has an awesome score.
The audiences mocked the title, or whatever they felt like, perhaps even when this movie premiered its gentle humor was generally less understood; but there's a subdued, subtle irony in Maria's quips about her being surrounded by peasants (that is, about her story being made as a low-budget western).
The story has Frankenstein's daughter Maria and her assistant living in a large house near a Mexican village. From here they conduct some nefarious experiments with the local people, leading everyone to desert the village. Enter Jesse James and his lumbering sidekick, who seek refuge at Maria Frankenstein's house. She immediately clocks Jesse's sidekick as an ideal candidate for her experiment in creating a living dead being.
Bizarrely Jesse James is portrayed as a noble Robin Hood type of criminal, in that he steals from the rich and gives to the poor! This certainly goes against the more traditional view that he was a violent murderous outlaw. But then again, to the best of my knowledge no member of the Frankenstein family set up shop on the Mexican border on the grounds of that area having good quality thunderstorms. So perhaps, any further analysis on this point is somewhat of a waste of time.
More often than not hybrid movies fail because they don't succeed in any of the genres they combine. This film, in fairness, is a good example of this. So it's difficult to know who to exactly recommend it to. Probably trash movie enthusiasts only.
Jesse and his badly wounded partner Hank are directed to the Frankenstein's by pretty local girl Juanita Lopez, Estelita Rodriguez, against her better judgment. Since the Frankenstein's are the only doctors within miles and if Hank doesn't get medical attention very soon he may very well bleed to death. Unknown to everyone involved, Jesse Hank & Juanita, the Frankenstein's Doctor's Maria & Rudolph Frankenstein, Narda Onyx & Steven Geray,are experimenting in the science of the creation of life without the benefit of sex. And as off late those experiments have been nothing but a great big and total flop. It so happens that Rudolph has been sabotaging Marie's experiments by injecting her subjects with poison in order to put them at peace instead of having them become brainless and walking zombies.
Maria at first takes a liking toward the handsome and dashing Jesse James but he turns her down, for his horse? Juanita also takes a shine for Jesse but like with Maria Jesse would rather ride into the sunset with his horsey then spent time alone with the pretty Juanita.
Maria has Hank turned into a mindless hulking monster by giving him a brain transplant with the help of what looked like an old US Army surplus WWII helmet. That transplant turned the big and likable Hank into the brutal and monstrous Igor.
"Jesse James meets Frankenstein's daughter" comes to it's predictable conclusion with Igor going on the rampage killing Rudolph. That after Maria found out he was sabotaging her experiments and sicked the monster on him. Later Igor attacks and kills Maria after she orders him to kill Jesse! Who Igor seemed to remember as his friend but a moment later he goes back to strangle Jesse only to be shot and killed by Juanita.
Jesse instead of thanking Juanita for saving his life and hiding out with her and her family is seen at the end of the movie leaving with Marshall MacPhee to face justice and possibly execution for his crimes. Thus leaving poor and distraught Juanita all alone, what a jerk! You wonder just where did Marshall MacPhee come from since moments before he was attacked by Igor and put into a massive bear hug that seemed to have killed him or at least broke all his ribs! How did the Marshall survive and if he did how did he recover so fast?
Jesse James obviously got away from the Marshall, off screen, since he never stood trial or was executed for his crimes. Jesse was a fugitive from the law until the afternoon of April 3, 1882 when he was shot in the back of his head and killed at his home in St. Joseph Mo. by Bob Ford.
I have to say that John Lupton, who looked both alert and sober, did an excellent job of acting by keeping a straight face in all of his scenes in the movie. Lupton was able to do this without the use of booze or drugs or both in order for him not to lose his concentration on the script and thus keep himself from cracking up.
This has all the makings of a camp classic--a ridiculous title, a stupid plot, bad acting and campy dialogue. Unfortunately it's also very slow and dull. I kept dozing off during it! The only interesting things about it are seeing Bolder with his shirt off (that man was BUILT) and Onyx's way over the top performance as Frankenstein. Other than those two things this is a snooze. Avoid.
I guess the leading actor is giving it all he's got. He can't save this pointless movie. Maria Frankenstein claims that her brother has been poisoning the people they experimented on. What? He was supposed to be the ethical of the two. So he's just going around killing people? It's mentioned that they killed three children. He'd rather do that than see his sister's experiments come alive? There's a subplot at the beginning with a gang known was the Wild Bunch which is mostly pointless and adds nothing to the film. The voices are pretty annoying in this too. Neither Victor Frankenstein nor Frankenstein's monster appear in this, so it's pretty worthless. The experiment is referred to as "Igor" even though that wasn't the name of Frankenstein's Monster and it is a completely different character. *1/2
I was expecting this movie to be a really dorky, cheesy film or something that I could laugh at but this one is actually pretty good, interesting which is surprising to me. This one is serious and can easily be taken that way.
This one does not have a "mysterious" feel about it like a lot of horror films of the time era (except for the Gothic castle) but an overall aura of the old west as expected. The combination seems to work well in this film as strange as that sounds.
The plot (such as it is) has the daughter of Victor Frankenstein and her "brother" moving to American Southwest to continue the experiments. There they run across Jesse James and Jesse's friend who was shot during a subplot. She experiments on the burly, dumb friend. Things go to pot.
Film has flaky science, random things like Jacob's Ladders running for no reason, a random Native American attack for no reason, bad accents...its a definite case of beer making fun of it film.
Drunken Zombie has a commentary for this film. It's in the public domain.