10/21/08

CT006 Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks

(1974, Horror, color)

Rating: ***1/2

We tried to wedge a “Dracula” into the title, but it just didn’t work.

In a nutshell:

Contains Neanderthals and boobs.

Summary:

Freakish action figues sold separately.An enraged mob of growly-voiced villagers assaults a hapless Neanderthal. Upon finishing off the large but innocent proto-human, the crowd disperses. Dr. Frankenstein’s menagerie of deformed servants collects the corpse afterwards, toting it back to his secret laboratory. Frankenstein needs to swap out some parts before reviving him, I guess, so he sends his menagerie out again to steal a recently deceased young woman from the local cemetery.

Now the movie diverges into three separate and equally incomprehensible plotlines. In the main story, Frankenstein’s hot daughter brings her effeminate fiancĂ© and her hot school counselor home for the, um, holidays or something? Anyway, the fiancĂ© surreptitiously gropes her for a few minutes and then disappears for most of the rest of the film while the hot school counselor strips naked and bathes in milk.

Shortly thereafter, counselor lady seduces Frankenstein into revealing all his most precious scientific secrets, including the reanimated Neanderthal strapped to a table in his secret lab. Thereafter, Frankenstein alternately prods his patient and canoodles with his new hot counselor girlfriend. During the patient-prodding sessions, hot counselor wanders into the countryside with hot daughter to strip naked and bathe in the local hot springs.

Features naked boobies...The primary subplot involves intrigue among the freakish servants. Let’s see, we have the beefy butler and his beefy wife, who aren’t so much deformed as they are excited by deformity in others. Beefy wife has a sadomasochistic affair with the hunchback manservant while beefy butler has a petty rivalry with the dwarfish stable boy. (There’s also a man in a top hat. I’m not sure if that’s meant to be his deformity, or if he’s even a servant. He doesn’t seem to do anything but hang around and get killed at the end.) Anyway, beefy butler gets the dwarf banished from Frankenstein’s castle. As revenge the dwarf wanders into the wilderness to befriend another local Neanderthal, who he induces to kidnap and mangle the local beauties, thus stirring up the populace against his former employer.

Not that the local populace needs any encouragement, as they already blame absolutely everything unpleasant about their miserable lives on the mad but mostly non-present Frankenstein. The secondary subplot consists of these disgruntled village-dwellers gathering on street corners to grumble accusations to one another in hilarious cartoon voices. Occasionally they gather on the steps of the local constabulary to grumble their suspicions in slightly louder voices.

With ten minutes to the end, all three plots crash back into one another when the dwarf leaves his pet Neanderthal alone to sneak back into the castle and free the reanimated Neanderthal. This new, improved Neanderthal slaughters most of the castle’s freakish inhabitants (including Frankenstein himself) before wandering back into the wilderness with the dwarf. A wounded hunchback warns the local inspector, who heads out to the dwarf’s cave with an unruly mob on his heels. Despite the protests of the movie’s survivors, the mob somehow manages to burn the cave down. Hot counselor watches in horror, apparently oblivious to the dwarf pressing his face into her boobies.

Thoughts:

...reanimated Neanderthals, and a horny dwarf.When you take into account its lack of action and gore, the above-described debauchery is the movie’s one and only selling point. But before you get too excited about it, I suppose I should clarify that this Cinematic Titanic release debuts a new feature for the series—the Breast Blimp. This vaguely chest-sized silhouette wanders in from one side of the screen at the beginning of each nude scene and floats gently across in just such away as to strategically block all naughty bits from view. Think of it as the modern equivalent of Joel’s umbrella from City Limits.

And as long as we’re comparing this to classic MST3K, the dubbing in this thing is something else. Gamera vs. Barugon had worse voice-overs, but not by much. Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks wins for hilarity, though. Four out of every five characters sound like villains from a Jay Ward cartoon. It’s a bit of pleasant spice in an otherwise inept and toothless old horror flick.

The Cinematic Titanic crew breeze through this one. When Frankenstein’s cadre of deformed servants first appears, J. Elvis says, “You think hunchbacks in Transylvania just stand outside the Home Depot?” As the opening credits continue to pop up a good ten to fifteen minutes in, Frank finds one name particularly amusing: “Boris Lugosi? What, they couldn’t get Bela Karloff?” As the hunchback fumbles with the roast at dinner, Joel grumbles, “You can’t get good freakish help these days.” When Frankenstein’s daughter asks him if he’s disappointed that she wasn’t born a boy, Mary Jo replies, “It’s not too late. We can still bolt something on for you.” During the Neanderthal shenanigans at the end, Trace references their weapon of choice with, “I would never club someone that would have me as a member.” The one time they stop the movie, Trace wants to draw attention to his “I Love Frankenstein” T-shirt. When he reveals that his jacket has been covering up the “-enstein”, Frank is disappointed. As a whole, the episode turns out very pleasant. They had a good time, and while the movie was terrible, it was terrible in a harmless sort of way, so I had a good time too.