Meets The Space Monster (Dark Sky Films)
Sound: B- Extras: C- Film: C
In this bizarre 60’s Sci-Fi romp, a few minor genre
veterans make their way through a movie that carries a lot of enjoyable and
campy moments. While its running time
is a tad on the light side at 77 minutes, Frankenstein Meets The Space
Monster (1965) makes its mark within that time perfectly well. This is the kind of schlock you’ll find to
be championed by the many who grew up surrounded by the monster craze of the
60’s; and possibly by the offspring of those die-hards who still cling to those
films and the imaginative fun that they represented. Perhaps an impression left by these kinds of movies can still be
felt today - but you’d be hard-pressed to find it among a group largely made up
of those who seek hard-core blood and guts gratification. Kind of sad, considering how much joy could
still be had from Sci-Fi/Horror in this vein.
While this type of stuff is largely ignored (with few exceptions) by a
crowd of horror fanatics interested in little made within the genre before the
70’s hit, it’s nice to see that often enough, well made editions of the
classics are put out by a handful of niche-market companies. The one responsible for this release is Dark
Sky Films - a division of MPI Media.
I’d previously seen a couple of discs on retail shelves that were put
out by them, but until now I hadn’t tried any of them out. They’re pretty inexpensive, and are easily
recognized by their clear DVD cases and airbrushed cover art.
While their are areas I think could have been touched upon
better, they’ve done an admirable job of securing a nice print of this film,
and more than likely going through some moderate restoration work on it. As for the movie itself... well, it’s
certainly bizarre. The plot seems to be
threadbare, the stock footage used is numerous and easily spotted upon a first
viewing, and the acting is pretty darn stilted. There is charm about all this, but to appreciate it, you really
have to dive in and embrace the bad before you can let go and enjoy this
crap. I’ve been doing it for the
longest time with movies other than this; and once you root through so much of
the insanely bad and unredeemable, you get an odd appreciation for things that
have some kind of saving grace, whatever in hell it may be. You also stumble upon some real gold as
well, and a shining example of this would be the films of Frank Henenlotter, a
man who for a time carried the torch for horror that mixed a fascination for
the movies of the old with grizzled, modern camp.
I’d say that Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster
falls someplace in the middle, but is definitely worth the time to look inside
of its workings. Just be prepared, as
you won’t be finding a trace of Mary Shelley’s creation in here - only an
android astronaut named Frank that was created by NASA to pilot spaceships
without risk to human life. Other
examples of what this movie is all about?
Dancing, bikini-clad babes who are being abducted by an alien race
looking to repopulate its species. Some
generic rock music of the time that always feels so very poorly tailored for
its purpose. Cheaply-clad monsters who
run around creating terror and panic.
Need I go on? For all this and
more, the movie offers cheap thrills (and is there any better kind?) that few
others equal. It also made the list on
the DVD The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, reviewed elsewhere on this site.
The presentation is in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and
the picture here looks pretty good throughout.
The only problems I picked up on were at the very beginning, where you
may notice some scratches to the film accompanied by pops in the sound. Everything else is smooth, and the black and
white tones are fleshed out just fine.
The 2.0 Dolby Mono audio is well done too, and sounds pretty good for a
film of its budget and age.
The extras are scant, and all you get on the disc itself
is the trailer and a gallery of stills.
However, Dark Sky has put together a neat little booklet, with a little
biography/introduction to the film, written by George Garrett - one of the
writers for the picture. For the lack
of anything else, I gave the extras a low grade, though I’m not sure this movie
in particular needed much of anything else.
If you see this one around, pick it up, along with The Horror At
Party Beach and go on and make a night of it.
- David Milchick