Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, Poetry from Virginia

What do you get when three guys from the University of Virginia, including the future Poet Laureate from that state, get together to create an epic horror story?  We get 1965's "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster."  As far as B Movies go, this is a classic one, with all the elements.  Cheesy acting, amateur special effects, a rubber suited monster, lots of bikini clad babes in peril, and square jawed heroes are the ingredients in this treasure filmed in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  Marilyn Hanold ("The Brain That Would Not Die") stars as the shapely queen of the Martians, who invade Earth to kidnap beautiful women to repopulate their planet.  One cannot go wrong with this plot.
The plot: An atomic war has destroyed most of Mars and rendered all their women sterile.  The male survivors, and their queen, head to Earth to find "breeding stock" in order to repopulate their home.  Meanwhile, NASA is sending a space probe to Mars, manned by an android they created, which the public believes is human.  Colonel Frank Saunders (Robert Reilly) is handsome, but because of Florida humidity, freezes during press conferences.  One of his creators, Nancy (Karen Grant), is even sweet on him.  When his rocket is launched, the Martians mistake it for an incoming missile and shoot it down.  Frank crash lands in Puerto Rico with half his face burned off, and most of his circuits fried.  Now an abominable sight, and half android-crazy, he goes on a mild murder spree.  Puerto Rico has other matters to fret over.  The Martians have landed and abduct breeding stock.  Women are taken, not from the State Department or other federal government offices, but from beaches and pool parties.  Gotta give those aliens credit- they like the beautiful and bikini-clad among the fairer sex.  
Nancy and her human partner, Dr. Adam Steele (James Karen) arrive in Puerto Rico, commandeer a moped, and begin their search for Frank. Unfortunately, they spend most of their time sightseeing and falling in love.  Only after their moped crashes into a mud puddle near a cave where Frank is hiding, do they get back to the mission at hand.  Karen races back (perhaps "races" and "moped" shouldn't be in the same sentence) on her moped to get help, but is abducted by the Martians.  She is put in a cage next to a space monster in order to intimidate her to talk (...about what? who knows?).  The Martians also capture Frank.  After forages to the Puerto Rican beaches and pool parties, the Martians have about ten potential beauty pageant contestants captive as well.  An ominous signal to all the lovelies in captivity occurs when Princess Marcuzan announces that Phase 3 of their master plan is about to commence.
Can Frank escape his chains and rescue Nancy and the other lovelies?  What terror awaits our women captives when Phase 3 is implemented?  Hanold, as Princess Marcuzan, and Lou Cutell, as her first mate Dr. Nadir, are terrific.  Humanoid in appearance, the Martians are void of emotion and personality.  They remind us of an insect colony where drones serve the queen, at all costs.  For classic 1960s  B Movie fare, see "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster," in which deep themes can be seen in what, at first glance, seems like mindless schlock.      

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