Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Lady Frankenstein (1971)

The lady of the title is Tania Frankenstein, daughter of the baron.  She arrives home from university - where she was studying medicine, much to the discomfort of many of her male teachers - and wastes no time informing her father that she has no intention of being a surgeon, as he expected.  Instead, intends to help him with his life's work: the reanimation of the dead.

The elder Frankenstein's experiments are hugely illegal however, and so he forbids her involvement.  Should his activities be discovered, he wants her to have plausible deniability.

Unfortunately for daddy Frank, his wishes aren't going to matter for very long.  His latest experiment involves attempting to transplant a human brain into a new body.  Not only does he choose to use the brain of an executed criminal for this, but he presses ahead even when his assistant points out that the brain has suffered damage.  The baron may as well be wearing a "please kill me" badge and his creation promptly obliges his apparent death wish.  It then storms off into the countryside where it seems to have an unerring instinct for finding (a) the men who brought Frankenstein the criminal's body and (b) naked ladies.

Tania commits herself to continuing her father's work.  Not by preserving his brain and trying to find a body for it, as you might expect her to do, but by seducing the assistant and persuading him to have his body transplanted into that of the estate's handsome young handy man.  She'll prove the value of her father's work, the assistant will finally get to act on his long-term infatuation with her, and they'll both have the benefits of a powerful young body to protect them if the monster returns.  Everybody wins!

Yeah, if you think this plan is destined for disaster, you could be on to something.

Lady Frankenstein was partly financed by Roger Corman, and as usual he proves a pretty good judge of what ought to turn a buck.  The film's start is a little slow but once the monster comes on the scene the script throws plenty of sex and violence at the audience.  If you're in the mood for a schlockier, sleazier Hammer horror pic, this should do you nicely.

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