(courtesy of guest reviewer – GORELORD)
Often at times in order to discover what different creations of human atrocity lurk in the depths of the barf layered halls of the horror/sci-fi genres, I hit the review books to track down the trash. About seven years ago I happened upon this spaced out grade Z mind eraser. I knew right away when I locked eyes on the title that we were destined to be together forever. I just had to order a mind numbing copy and that’s exactly what I did. When it arrived and I held it in my filthy hands, I shivered with goosebumps as it whispered into my wax caked ear those four magical words: SO BAD IT’S GOOD.
Back in 1965 director of 175 Westerns, William Beaudine, came back for one last hurrah when he cranked out this low-budget ludicrously enjoyable movie madness. This however was not the first time Beaudine directed an insane horror/western mix. The same year he made the first of this daft duo when the notoriously inept BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA (1965) was released. JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER is the lesser known of the two but it does have the esteemed honor of being nominated for a prestigious Golden Turkey Award. It also has acquired a small cult following among hardcore cheese heads (including myself).
Before I talk about the plot’s campy proceedings I just want to point out that ineptness reigns supreme before you even infect your VCR with this sludge. The first bit of badness comes in the title. The movie is called JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER but obviously scriptwriter Carl K. Hittleman just thought he’d ignore the title and center the story around Dr. Frankenstein’s granddaughter instead. But I guess director Beaudine didn’t really care because they never did bother to correct the stupid mistake. They probably didn’t have the time though since Beaudine liked to finish his films within a week.
This loony little horror hybrid sets itself up in the quaint little town of Shelby, presumably located in Texas. A young Mexican woman named Juanita (played by Estelita) and her parents sit in their small roach motel distraught over the recent mysterious deaths of several young people in the area. It seems that a pair of doctors have set up shop in Shelby and have been hiring the local yokels to act as assistants. Unfortunately the idiots didn’t bother to read the job description and they end up finding out that life insurance isn’t one of the benefits. The dastardly docs are actually Maria Frankenstein (played by Narda Onyx) and her brother Rudolph (played by Steve Geray), the grandchildren of the original evil scientist and star of countless trashy pics, Dr. Frankenstein. Maria and Rudolph claim that the locals are dying from an unusual sickness, but the Frankenstein family freaks are actually disposing of the bodies after botched brain transplants. The experiments are conducted in the most technically retarded way possible. A plastic army helmet painted red, yellow, and green with tinfoil like antenna attached to it is placed over the specimen’s head. Electrical waves are sent through the useless piece of fly infested horse shit until the under-paid extra rises like a robot, only to flop over like a middle age man seeking viagra seconds later. The technology in this drivel is astounding.
From here we are taken to what appears to be a completely different movie. In front of an old Texas town saloon two dim witted bull-like individuals collide in some hand to hand combat. One of the muscleheads is Hank Tracy (played by Cal Bolder), sidekick of the man in black standing with him, the legendary gunslinger Jesse James (played by John Lupton). After Hank takes the winners share of the fight money, he and Jesse ride off into the sunset before the law can catch up to them.
Meanwhile, Butch and Lonnie Curry along with Slim Pickens, otherwise known as the remaining members of the Wild Bunch, await the arrival of Jesse and Hank. The five men plan to rob a stagecoach headed for the bank containing thousands of dollars. Unfortunately for the group, Lonnie (played by Rayford Barnes) gets greedy and would rather collect the $10,000 for the arrest of Jesse James. He rats the gang out to Marshall McPhee (played by Jim Davis) and the Marshall and his boys ambush the robbery attempt, killing most of the Wild Bunch in the process. Lonnie shoots Hank but he and Jesse get away during the gun battle. They stumble upon Juanita and her parents. Hank needs medical help and with a little convincing she and Jesse take the imbecile to the only doctors around, the Frankenstein’s. The shot of the Frankenstein monastery in the background is laughable and it is clear that we are looking at a painting.
When Maria Frankenstein sees Hank, she senses that this is her chance to use one of her grandfather’s artificial brains to create the ultimate superhuman. Maria and Rudolph trick Jesse into going to the pharmacy to get medicine for Hank. While he’s gone, the psychotic siblings pull the old brain switcheroo on Hank turning him into a stitch headed mongrel named, what else, Igor.
Igor strangles Rudolph at Maria’s command because it turns out that Rudolph has been poisoning the specimen’s. Jesse returns but is captured and strapped to the examination table. Marshall McPhee shows up only to become a victim of Igor. Jesse escapes but he too finds himsef in the clutches of Igor.
For the benefit of the millions and millions who will undoubtedly track this flick down after reading this abomination, I’ll leave a few questions to be answered. Will Igor kill Jesse James? Will Igor ever get rid of his hard on for Juanita? Will the Frankenstein legacy live on? Only brave viewers will find out. For other freaked out Frankenstein foolishness, check out FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER (1965), SANTO VS. FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER (1971), LADY FRANKENSTEIN (1971), BLACKENSTEIN (1973), FRANKENSTEIN’S CASTLE OF FREAKS (1973), FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND (1981), and FRANKENSTEIN GENERAL HOSPITAL (1988).