Frankenstein Island is a strong contender for “worst film of all time”. It’s a hodgepodge of ideas thrown together incoherently
Frankenstein Island (1981) starring Robert Clarke, Steve Brodie
It can safely be said that the plot of Frankenstein Island lies somewhere between weird, convoluted, and incomprenhsible. It starts straightforward enough, with a bunch of hot air balloonists crash landing on an uncharted island. There, they meet friendly, bikini-clad Amazon women who feed them and entertain them with an exploitation dance — complete with snakes. And then one of the girls is almost kidnapped by a weird group of ex-sailors that somebody experimented on.
Then, it gets weird.
In no specific order, we have:
- Hybrid alien/Amazon women that Dr. Sheila Frankenstein hopes the castaways can impregnate (doesn’t happen)
- “Zombie” henchmen (“programmed” to be guards) with no blood, that run on “psychic energy”
- Dr. Sheila Frankenstein is actually wife to the bedridden, 200-year old Dr. von Helsing, the original Frankenstein’s assistant.
- Frankenstein’s monster is caged in a cave
- Dr. Hadley’s brainwashed by Sheila – somehow.
- A captive sailor who quotes Edgar Allen Poe a lot claims to be the inspiration for Poe’s “The Raven“. Even though he’s only been held captive for seventeen years. And one of the “Amazon” women is actually his daughter, who was three years old when they shipwrecked.
- The ghostly head of the dead Dr. Frankenstein keeps popping up to talk about “the power”.
- In the big fight at the end, a brain explodes (?!?) causing the zombies and monster to shut down temporarily. So our “heroes” take the opportunity to escape on a raft. Abandoning the girls! And their dog! Poor Melvin …
- But when they return with the Navy, Melvin’s okay! But everyone — and everything — else is gone.
- Also in the big fight, a couple of people grow fangs for no reason.
Rifftrax mercilessly mocked this for good reason. I watched it for free on TubiTV — I frankly wouldn’t have paid to watch it.
The only color film from cult director Jerry Warren (THE WILD WORLD OF BAT WOMAN (1966)), FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND stars genre vets John Carridine and Cameron Mitchell in a tale concerning a hot air balloon which crashes on a mysterious island. The castaways discover that the island is overrun with zombies and a strange race of Amazons, and at the center of it all is a distant relative of the Frankensteins–who is once again trying to create a being out of dead body parts. Renowned for its maniacal story and less-than-convincing special effects, this film has garnered a befuddled cult following.
Cast of characters
- Robert Clarke (The Hideous Sun Demon) … Dr. Paul Hadley
- Steve Brodie (The Giant Spider Invasion) … Jocko
- Cameron Mitchell (Man on a Tightrope) … Clay Jayson
- Robert Christopher … Mark Eden
- Tain Bodkin … Curtis Ryan
- Patrick O’Neil … Dino
- Andrew Duggan (The Incredible Mr. Limpet) … The Colonel. Who returns with the group at the end, despite his misgivings, to find nothing.
- John Carradine (Billy the Kid Vs Dracula) … Dr. Frankenstein
- Katherine Victor … Sheila Frankenstein von Helsing
- G.J. Mitchell … Dr. von Helsing
- Dana Norbeck … Jungle Girl
- Laurel Johnson … Jungle Girl
- Richard Banks … Angus
- James Webb … The Monster
- Marla Conner … Jungle Girl
- Donna Green … Jungle Girl
- Vic Schneider
- Melvin … Self – Melvin the Dog