Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Frankenstein 1970 - low-watt Karloff

By Doug Gibson

"Frankenstein 1970" is pretty bad. And that's a shame, since the 1958 independent film, directed by Howard Koch, stars Boris Karloff as Baron Victor Von Frankenstein, last descendant of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein. Von Frankenstein, who suffers torture wounds received at the hands of the Nazis, allows a film crew to his castle to make a movie. Wih the cash, they give him, he uses an atomic reactor to, after killing him, turn a former servant into a reanimated monster. More murders follow.

This film is just flat, more soap opera and corny interludes from cliched characters -- film crew, Dr. Frankenstein's solemn colleague -- than terror. The monster is a huge letdown. It just has a box on its head with slits for eyes. Even Karloff isn't that good. His languid, tired appearance seems like he is just phoming in his performance. His salary -- $26,000, was more than a fifth of the entire budget. Despite the futuristic title, is never clear if it really is 1970. In fact, the film's settings look like its late-'50s timeframe.

The best scene is the opening scene, where a terrified young lovely is pursued to her doom by a monster in a lake. Unfortunately, a "director" yells cut and we learn that it's the movie company. That's about if fright-wise. The 83-minute feature also featured Norbert Schiller, Jana Lund, Donald "Red" Barry and Charlotte Austin. Watch it only for Karloff. Even at his most lackluster, he still has worth for cult films fans. Watch the trailer below!

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