Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster (1965)

Frankenstein_Meets_the_Space_Monster_(1965)‘We must begin phase two of our plan: capture of the Earth women!’

The U.S. launches a new deep space rocket manned by an experimental cyborg. What the boffins don’t know is that aliens are already in orbit and focusing their greedy eyes on Planet Earth.

This 1960s feature plays like it was made at least a decade before, if not earlier. Our heroes are James Karen and Nancy Marshall, two colourless scientists who have persuaded General David Kerman to go along with their scheme of space exploration by cyborg. The quartet travel to the launch site in the least convincing vehicle interior since the airliner cockpit in Ed Wood’s ‘Plan Nine From Outer Space’ (1956).

In orbit are Princess Marcuzan, Dr Nadir and various flunkeys who are looking to relocate after an atomic war on their own planet. They dress and act like a pair of villains from a 1930’s serial and provide the only real entertainment we get, Lou Cutell in particular investing Dr Nadir with serious pantomime relish. He also looks like a shaven headed Peter Lorre with Spock ears, which is rather brilliant.

And now... maximum energy!

And now… maximum energy!

The film attempts to use more library shots and stock footage than any other in history. We get rockets, jet planes, tanks, bi-planes, soldiers, motels (really!) and some murky planets. Mission control is manned by the two scientists and the General sitting around a TV set. A press conference is so important that it’s attended by 4 journalists.

The scientists fix the damaged cyborg using crocodile clips (attached to something or other) and the Space Monster is a large bloke in a hairy suit and ugly mask. At one point he’s shot from below so we get a good look at the flourescent strip-lights on the ceiling in the alien spacecraft. Access to this wonderful piece of advanced technology is via a ladder leaned up against its side.

One of bikini-clad women submits to a leering verbal examination by the alien Princess without a word of protest, putting me in mind of that disturbing scene from the ‘Atomic Brain’ (1963) when the old lady checks out her prospective new body. It helps when you steal from the best I guess. As momentum builds towards the end of our story, the two scientists jump on a scooter and ride through the Puerto Rican streets accompanied by a drippy 60’s love song. For about five minutes. It’s so wonderfully out of place that it’s almost a stroke of genius.

So what has all this to do with Frankenstein you ask? Not a lot really. After being damaged on crash landing, one of the scientists suggests that the cyborg might ‘turn into a Frankenstein.’ Oh, and the mechanical man’s first name is Frank. That’s all folks.

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