October 12, 2013

Horror-A-Day:Lady Frankenstein

I really wish the Fall weather would make up its mind. I am pretty sure I am ready for it to just be Fall. I like my build up to Halloween to have a little bite in the air. Fortunately, my movies will ever disappoint me. This season has thus far been a fun one filled with old school horror stuff, obscure stuff, and sleazy exploitation. On top of that, it has all been movies I have never seen before. That is always a good thing, adding to my ever growing experience. The latest movie keeps up the trend, and it is mostly enjoyable.

The movie is called Lady Frankenstein. It is a 1971 Italian production that mixes Hammer class with the absurd, and the absurd with the sleazy. It is an odd title that I am glad to have stumbled across. It is a low budget affair, but it makes good use of locations to give it plenty of production value. On top of that, it does feature Joseph Cotten in a lead role (at least for the first half) to help up the ante with a known cast. It is interesting to look at Cotten's career, earlier in his career he frequently collaborated with Orson Welles, appearing in Citizen Kane, The Third Man, and The Magnificent Ambersons, while later he appeared in lower budget trashy stuff such as this and The Devil's Daughter.

The movie opens with a grave robber by the name of Lynch (Herbert Fux) digging up a body with his cronies. It seems he has a business arrangement with Baron Frankenstein (Cotten) to deliver freshly dead. With this latest delivery, Lynch learns of the Baron's latest request, a body no more than six hours dead. This will be a tougher one to gather, but it can be done, for a price.

Meanwhile, Frankenstein's daughter, Tania (Rosalba Neri, credited here as Sara Bay), has returned home, a fully trained and certified surgeon. She is ready to embark on her career, although she is not fond of the opposition females face. No matter, she wants to assist her father anyway. Of course, he wants his secret reanimate on experiments a secret. You have to know that something is going to happen to shake things up.

This shake up happens when the monster with the over sized head and droopy face wakes up and kills his creator. Fortunately, Tania is there to pick up where he left off. The difference is that while she works under the guise of creation a monster to fight her father's monster, which has gone on a rampage killing whoever it comes across, usually topless women, she is looking to satisfy her list for mental and physical satisfaction.

To her end of creating a companion, she gets her fathers partner to donate his superior brain. For the other half of the equation, there is a mentally handicapped groundskeeper. I am sure you see where this is all going.

Lady Frankenstein is an odd and unique piece of 70's Eurotrash. It is not as tasty as some, but it does have some interesting undertones of female equality and sexual revolution. All in a positive, and positively sleazy, fashion. Not he best of is kind, but well worth a curious view.


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