Thursday, April 27, 2006

Frankenstein Vs. The Creature From Blood Cove

"Just look at the size of those feet!"

In a secret laboratory near Blood Cove, Dr. Lazaroff and his team have created a sea monster from scratch. The slimy beast combines equal parts Creature From the Black Lagoon, Beast From Haunted Cave, and the critters from Horror of Party Beach, and has been created based on the work of Victor Frankenstein. The creature fights off Dr. Lazaroff's mind control chemicals and escapes, presumably to die in the open sea. To continue with their plan to create an unholy beast to fight terrorism, Lazaroff and his associates must travel to Shellvania (you know, just beyond Transylvania) to exhume the original Frankenstein monster and bring him back to the U.S.

Meanwhile, girlie photographer Bill Grant (played by writer/director Bill Winckler) and his crew are shooting some cheesecake photos for Frisky Kitty Cat magazine at Blood Cove. The photo shoot is ruined and the model slaughtered by Dr. Lazaroff's sea creature. Grant and his crew seek refuge at the Doctor's seaside estate, but they soon find themselves held captive and forced to assist the good doctor in his diabolical plans.

I so wanted to like this movie. This film is obviously a labor of love, made by a director with passion for the creature features of yesteryear. Shot in glorious black and white, no attempt is even made to cover up the seams in the sea creature costume. They are worn proudly like a red badge of courage. The nudity is both gleefully gratuitous and surprisingly tasteful, and there are moments where you can actually believe you're watching a lost B flick recently unearthed by the likes of Something Weird Video.

Sadly, it just doesn't work. The Frankenstein Monster as depicted on the box cover reminded me of Dick Briefer's Frankenstein comics from the 40's, one of my favorite portrayals of Shelley's monster, but apparently this was a trick of the light. B movie roots or not, I'd hoped we as a society had progressed beyond the stiff-legged Frankenstein monster with the outstretched arms and mono-syllabic dialogue, but that's exactly what we get here. Add to this a beer gut and a pirate shirt, and suddenly Glenn Strange's pedestrian performance as the monster seems as accomplished as Karloff's. The fight scenes between the two creatures are badly choreographed, and the story just wanders around before bumping into a deus ex machina.

Fortunately for Winckler the movie is pretty much critic proof. Since this is an homage to B monster flicks of the 50's, the over the top acting, campy dialogue, and meandering plot can all be chalked up to stylistic choice. They all increase the illusion that this is a lost flick from that period. Even the constant referral to the monster as "Frankenstein" can be explained in this way. The film might have been better served by taking things a step further, casting non-actors rather than actors trying to sound like non-actors, and digitally fuzzing the image to further enhance the look of old film.

I don't want to be too hard on a film whose heart is obviously in the right place. Frankenstein Vs. The Creature From Blood Cove gets an enthusiastic A for effort if not execution.


Catnap40 said...

more about Frisky Kitty Cat magazine please.

Mark said...

I absolutely hated this movie.

A PR man from Winckler Productions asked me to review it on my site.

I was excited by the prospect because the description of the film sounded right up my alley (an homage to sci-fi/horror films of the 40s and 50s). Unfortunately, the whole thing was just a huge pile of stinky doo-doo.

Like you, I really wanted to like this movie. However, my review was so harsh that I was asked not to print it (I gave them this option myself, as they were kind enough to send me a free copy.)

What surprises me, is that their site boasts rave reviews. I just can't imagine any type of fan enjoying this movie.

Oddly, it seems just as much work went into producing the "extras" of the DVD as the actual film. Frankenstein getting a lap dance did not add to my admiration of the movie, however.

Like you say, this seems to be a labor of love, but it just didn't work on any level. Too bad.

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