Frankenstein Island (1981)
User ReviewsReview this title
The dialogue seems to have been written by someone who's never actually heard a conversation between people before, and acted by people who've never participated in one.
However, it's extremely amusing. This is an extraordinarily bad movie, but that's not because it's boring. The pink lunchbox, the contact lenses with white-out on them, the rubber skulls, the guy who keeps laughing constantly for no reason, the suburban living room in the middle of the deserted island, the power that attacks your arm when you "mix the particular place, not here but on the outside" (that is, say the name of a city)... champagne cinema.
You could do much worse than track a copy down - but beware - some video copies have the goofiest scenes edited out!
John Carradine is in this movie less than any top-billed star has been in any movie. You will see that he was no doubt not on the same set. In fact, you will see his performance does not even demand that he be on any set.
The very end is so cheap that it will make you mad. Still, this movie pleased me and I laughed a lot.
Quite possibly, this may be our finest piece of cinematic flourish. You won't find a study of it in any film class, which really makes one question the need for such studies, and very little referrence in books. This one registers "off the blicker" one-hundred percent.
Say what you will about the effects, acting, scenery, bikini-clad babes, zombies with ski-knit caps, erroneous use of John Carradine footage, men who wear a scarf (yet, are not gay), horrible dialogue, Cameron Mitchell's eye-patch, et cetera, et cetera... I have to say that this is one of the most entertaining films, I have ever seen. If you lower the bar, low enough, you can't go wrong. A true curiousity, for those lacking curiousity.
You've gotta love any film with the name "Frankenstein" in the title, that holds back the appearance of said monster until 78 minutes into it. Now, that's either a great example of commitment, or lack of budget. Who can really decide?
"FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND" was made in 1981, yet it looks like something out of the late '50's to mid '60's. A definite time warp. But, then again, that's Jerry Warren for you. The man's got style.
It's impossible to parody such a film, as it is the perfect parody of itself. Does it really take itself seriously, or are we fools for thinking it does? Perhaps, the joke is on us, the whole time. Either way, this film is brilliant. A definite must see for any enthusiastic or non-enthusiastic film enthusiasts.
It's not worth that much, but I urge you to see it for all it's worth. This film will either p**s you off, entertain you or, like a sliced onion, bring tears to your eyes. From a logical standpoint, there is no doubt that this may be one of the worst films ever made, but let's be logical about it... a film that bears that distinction could, in fact, be one of the best films ever made.
My philosophy: Expect nothing, and get everything.
YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE to appreciate how truly bad it is. You will be embarrassed for all associated with it. You will be angry with yourself for wasting your time to watch it. I can't believe I'm wasting my time writing about this horrible horrible movie. Can one suffer from PTSD merely from having watched a bad bad movie?
What an amazing mess. Watching it is like watching 9th graders (trapped in the bodies of adults) trying to pretend they are acting out a Boris Karloff movie. The only good thing you can say for it is that the movie doesn't seem to take itself seriously - it's just trying to have a swinging good time and to entertain the audience.
Watch it for the sheer novelty value only.
Jerry Warren: Your guarantee of movie incoherence.
1. WHY IS THING LIKE A BAD 50'S HORROR FLICK?
2. WAS THIS A TAX WRITE OFF?
But when ya come down to it..it's so bad it's funny!
"Ballonists" crash land on a island no one has "charted" which is inhabited by Lepoard Skin Bikinnied women called Amazons!
If that wasn't bad enough the Practice "witchcraft", aka dancing with fake snakes, and jiggling their bodies alot, lol!
Then..they run into crazed guy left from a crashed sailing ship...who offer them a chance to go to "the house" after a cusomary groping of the Lepoard Skin Bikinnied women called Amazons!
Soon thereafter the "Ballonists" are taken to an OBVIOUSLY fake jail facility whre they meet Jayson- a crazed sailor who has been imprisoned for 17 years and spouts alot of Poe for no reason.
Soon the "Ballonists" meet Mrs. Frankenstein! She explains to them that the assistant to Doc Frankie is still alive after 200 years due to some osrt of "blood transufions" from the Lepoard Skin Bikinnied women called Amazons and Jayson.
One of the "Ballonists" is a scientist(Of course) and gets wrapped up in helping Mrs. Frankenstein and the 1/2 alive assistant to Doc Frankie as the floating head of Doc Frankenstein, promisng the Lepoard Skin Bikinnied women called Amazons, "The power!! The power!!'
Of course, for no reason, they are also making "mutants"(Guy in caps with sunglasses, that seem to be "gump-like")
I won't give the ending away, you'll just have to watch this sucker!!
It plays like an Ed Wood movie, and would have belived it was one, except for the fact he died in 1978!
Rent it, you won't be disappointed!!
Then these four goofs come on shore and one is still holding a raft in his hand and it talking about having to build a raft. Why? At that point they just arrived and have not searched around the island and already have a fully inflated rubber raft.
And they immediately ask "How will we get over these bluffs?" Why do they need to. Wait for the pickup from the people who are coming to get you. No mention of that. Seems like the opening credits and radio chatter is from a different movie.
Well, it goes from there off onto several different plot threads. They intersect from time to time, minimally. And there is that laughing fool. He even laughs while he is drinking his moonshine. Quite a talent. And what is he laughing at so much? That spinning, pink ammo box is just too much! And the confusion of plots (snakes, tarantulas, machine guns, trident that turns women into vampires, a brain without a head running everything, John Carradine speaking gibberish) continues until, thankfully, this movie is done.
My great thanks to the director for not making the movie ANY LONGER! And you won't believe the ending. I guess it is an ending. Or they just ran out of film. Not fulfilling at all.
It starts out harmless enough: Four balloonists are washed ashore a mysterious island after having crashed their balloon into the ocean during some sort of balloon-related world record attempt. Upon exploring their surroundings, the men encounter a rather welcoming tribe of friendly, albeit vaguely occult Amazon women in traditional bikini outfits. They all enjoy a little feast and a tribal dance party, but the fun ends the next day, when another, less friendly group of inhabitants makes their presence known, namely a handful of stranded shipwreck survivors, who have been on the island for quite some time. They proceed to introduce our protagonists to none other than doctor Frankenstein's great-great-granddaughter, who, too, happens to have a cozy summer domicile plus laboratory on this apparently very popular island, and her near-comatose husband, who possesses the remarkable ability to channel the ghost of the actual, deceased Dr. Frankenstein. As you might imagine, this is where things get a little weird.
Now, the main problem I had with this movie was its pointlessly complicated and at times quite hard to follow storyline. I don't think it was necessary to inflate this simple premise of a ruthless scientist doing strange experiments on a remote island with quite so much random fluff. As I mentioned above, there are enough half-developed ideas in this to fill three movies, and they're all haphazardly dumped on the main story without any sense of cohesion. It doesn't help that the characters, especially the bad guys, are pretty inconsistent when it comes to their behavior.
All in all, if you're up for a legitimate Frankenstein sequel, go with something like "Son", "House", "Ghost", or "Curse of Frankenstein", and steer clear of this one. However, if you're seeking out something with a "so bad, it's good" appeal, "Frankenstein Island" is definitely not a bad choice. It's all a huge, spectacular mess that'll make your brain beg for death, but at least it's not boring.
Four balloonists and their dog Melvin crash onto a remote island. Yes, I just wrote that sentence. They're captured by pirates who takes them to meet Sheila Frankenstein (Katherine Victor, who played Batwoman in the previously mentioned film), who is turning shipwrecked sailors into zombies that have to wear sunglasses. Yes, I just wrote that sentence, too. You read it. It doesn't have to make sense.
Meanwhile, Sheila brainwashes Dr. Hadley (Robert Clark, The Hideous Sun Demon) to help her revive her 200-year-old husband Dr. Von Helsing using the blood of Cameron Mitchell and the bodies of Amazon jungle girls who are the descendants of aliens! Mitchell is great in this, as all he does is quote Edgar Allan Poe.
But let's not forget the ghost of Dr. Frankenstein, played by John Carradine, that powers all of her experiments from Heaven. Or Hell. Or somewhere else. He keeps yelling and ranting while his monster waits in an underground cave waiting to escape!
Andrew Duggan (It's Alive) and Steve Brodie (Donovan's Brain) are also on hand for this mixtape of mind jolting horror. It's a piece of crap, but it's a short and somewhat entertaining piece of crap.
Four balooning dudes, who, although this is an early-1980s film, look like they stepped out of the 1970s with their bell-bottoms or otherwise skin-tight pants, large lapels and a neck scarf, are washed ashore on an island where, à la H.G. Wells's "The Island of Doctor Moreau," strange experiments are carried out, including cross-species ones. Heading these experiments are the giant superimposed head of the ghost of, from Mary Shelley's novel, Dr. Frankenstein (John Carradine, better known for playing Dracula in some mediocre and some bad films) and the nearly-200-years-old, from Bram Stoker's, Dr. Van Helsing. Ironically, it's now Van Helsing who is receiving blood transfusions to stay alive, rather than his administering them in Stoker's story. Some of the characters also develop fangs before they die, for some reason, which, I guess, alludes to vampires. Bringing the families together is Van Helsing's wife and great-great-granddaughter of Frankenstein.
There are also shades-wearing zombie body guards; another guy dressed like a sailor who sports an eye patch and is always cackling and boozing; an Edgar Allen Poe-quoting prisoner; bikini-clad, witchcraft-practicing alien Amazons... or something, who charm snakes and other creatures and smoke something from skulls; and a dog. The laboratory includes the usual Jacob's Ladders, dials and doodads, supported by beeping and video-game-like sound effects. Moreover, much of the story is spent on the men planning to make a wood raft to escape the island--even though they discarded a perfectly-fine inflatable raft when they came ashore. It's quite the mess and, at best, a campy hallucination.
A few players like Cameron Mitchell, Steve Brodie, and Andrew Duggan hit career bottoms in this one. John Carradine at this point was doing little else but garbage like this feeling I guess he had nothing to prove.
Four hot air balloonists crash and wind up on the island where they find the Frankenstein family set up shop. Some crazy mutants are running around, the failed previous experiments and a tribe of scantily clad amazons trying to survive.
A terrier named Melvin was in the balloon as well. He gives the best performance in the film. Melvin also with a single gesture at the beginning tells us what we are about to see.
Worth a glance if you are brave and have a book nearby to read during the slow bits with the Rifftrax. Hopeless movie without.
Most any review you'll read on Frankenstein Island will point out the numerous faults in the film. While I'm not going to even attempt to go over all of that well-worn ground, a few things really hit me that I want to mention.
1. Plot – What a disaster! Frankenstein Island feels like someone took about five movie plots and tried to jam them into one movie. Plot threads go nowhere and are never resolved. And in the end, we're left with a movie that has no ending. No attempt was made to wrap things up with any explanation or resolution. It just ends.
2. John Carradine – He may be listed as one of the stars, but he's never really in the movie. A poorly projected image of Carradine rambling on about a golden thread and power inserted about every 20 minutes doesn't' really mean he's in the movie. The 8X10 glossy of Carradine conspicuously placed in a number of shots doesn't cut it either.
3. Cameron Mitchell – Poor, poor Cameron Mitchell. He really must have been in a hard way to appear in this thing. He's one of my genre favs – love him in Blood and Black Lace. His role here is embarrassing.
I could go on and on, but there's really no point. I could write pages about things like: Sheila Frankenstein's name and hair, zombies dressed like WWII French resistance fighters, Amazons in leopard skin bikinis (where were the leopards?), Steve Brodies ridiculous one-eyed Jocko, a "backup" brain, building a raft when you already have a raft, long stretches of film with an uncomfortable lack of dialogue, etc. There's just too much.