Review of “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” (1965)

Trailer from YouTube

This is this week’s Saturday night pizza and bad movie offering. Good thing the pizza and cabernet were good.

Plot:

Bald Dr. Nadir (Lou Cutell) informs Princess Marcuzan (Marilyn Hanold) that they continue to hear “a modulated hydrogen frequency signal of twenty-one centimeters.”

When the Princess asks what that means, Dr. Nadir replies he’s not sure, but it’s the same signal they’ve been following since they left their planet. The source is the planet they’re approaching and seems to indicate intelligent life.

Oh, look! They’re firing a missile at them! The Princess orders the crew to destroy the missile.

Oh earth, NASA is confounded by yet another missile going kerflooey. Never fear! Dr. Adam Steel (James Karen) has an answer to that: a robot astronaut named Col. Frank Saunders (Robert Reilly). We know he’s a robot because we’re given a (not terribly) convincing glimpse of a vacuum tube under his scalp.

While traveling in space, the extraterrestrial ship looks like a spinning globe surmounted on a visible axis. Upon seeing a parachute, the aliens realize they’ve destroyed a spaceship and not a missile. They must land and kill the pilot. (…makes sense…?) The extraterrestrials shoot him down, and he lands somewhere in Puerto Rico.

When the alien ship lands, it no longer looks like a spinning globe but like the Jupiter II from Lost in Space.

An extraterrestrial in a spacesuit attacks the robot pilot who’s already having a bad day, injuring him. The attacker, in turn, receives a good thumping and limps back to the spaceship.

The Princess is not happy to hear the pilot lives. She feeds the unfortunate crewman to the Mull, the space monster of the title. The Mull looks like an ape with long claws and a Skeletor’s head.

The damaged pilot/robot wanders around Puerto Rico, scaring and killing people. No little girl gets thrown in the lake, though. In the meantime, NASA officials fly to Puerto Rico, and the aliens get about the mission: kidnapping women to help repopulate their planet.

Thoughts:

According to IMDB, this was originally supposed to have been a comedy. There is enough goofiness in it a comedy would have been feasible. On the other hand, too little of it made sense to be anything but what it was. The aliens (they’re called Martians, but their planet is never named) want to kidnap women, “good breeding stock,” because their planet was wiped out in a nuclear war. The only woman left is the Princess.

Why sacrifice a crew member to the Mull for such a trivial shortcoming? What is the purpose of keeping the Mull in the first place?

Not to mention the convenience of everyone speaking English—except for one guy in a kiosk in Puerto Rico. Adam Steele then had to make his wishes known by asking for “el teléfono.”

At one point, Adam Steele and his assistant Karen Grant (Nancy Marshall) hop on a scooter to go looking for the injured robot. Tender-hearted Karen is concerned. Steele doesn’t want to lose ten years of his life’s work. In the background, a romantic love song—with maracas and a Spanish guitar—plays: “To Have and to Hold” by someone called the Distant Cousins.

The lyrics have lovers “walk in the rain,” “two by two,” “To have and to hold you, this, I’ve often told you I love you, yes, I do…”

Not even remotely appropriate. Nor is it the last instance of weird musical choices for this flick.

Another instance of weirdness is Princess Marcuzan “inspecting” the first girl they’ve kidnapped for their breeding program. She happens to be wearing a polka dot swimsuit. The aliens have killed her male companion. (Father? Boyfriend? It’s never specified) The Princess has the girl raise and lower her arms several times, then turn around. I was waiting for, “You put your right foot in, You put your right foot out, You put your right foot in…”

That’s not even mentioning the group of women kidnapped from a party and laid out on a conveyor belt of cots for evaluation.

It’s just not credible. Oh, hell. It’s barely coherent. But there is delightful goofiness about it that makes it watchable—the glee Dr. Nadir shows in blowing up Earth vessels, for example.

If for some reason anyone wishes to watch this, it can be seen here:





Title: Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965)

Director:
Robert Gaffney

Writers:
R.H.W. Dillard (story)
 George Garrett (story)
John Rodenbeck (story)

Cast:
Marilyn Hanold as Princess Marcuzan
James Karen as Dr. Adam Steele
Lou Cutell as Dr. Nadir
Nancy Marshall as Karen Grant
David Kerman as Gen. Bowers
Robert Reilly as Col. Frank Saunders

Released: 1965
Length: 1 hour, 19 minutes

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

4 thoughts on “Review of “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” (1965)

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