Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter

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Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter
Jessejamesfrankenstein.jpg
DVD box art
Directed by William Beaudine
Produced by Caroll Case
Written by Carl K. Hittleman
Starring John Lupton
Narda Onyx
Estelita Rodriguez
Cal Bolder
Jim Davis
Music by Raoul Kraushaar
Cinematography Lothrop B. Worth
Edited by William Austin
Distributed by Embassy Pictures
Release dates
  • April 10, 1966 (1966-04-10)
Running time
83 min.
Country United States
Language English

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is a low-budget western/horror hybrid film filmed in 1965, in which a fictionalized version of the real-life western outlaw Jesse James encounters the fictional granddaughter (the movie's title notwithstanding) of the famous Dr. Frankenstein. The film was originally released as part of a double feature with Billy the Kid vs. Dracula in 1966. Both films were shot in eight days at Corriganville Movie Ranch and at Paramount Studios in mid 1965; both were the final feature films of director William Beaudine.[1] The films were produced by television producer Carroll Case for Joseph E. Levine.

Plot[edit]

During the late 1880's, Dr Frankenstein’s evil granddaughter Maria has moved to the American West with her brother Rudolph, in order to use the prairie lightning storms in her experiments on immigrant children snatched from a dying town. Maria is very much in charge, killing the children and replacing their brains with artificial ones, intending to revive them as her slaves. Rudolph however, is reluctant to help his sister, but is too afraid of her to do otherwise. After a number of failures (owing to Rudolph secretly poisoning the victims as soon as his sister revives them), they are finding it increasingly difficult to hide the trail of bodies. Down the road, Mañuel Lopez and his wife Nina decide to leave town with their daughter Juanita because of the frequent disappearances, the latest of which is that of their son.

Two gunslingers come to town, Hank Tracy, a dimwitted lug, and Jesse James, the infamous outlaw, who has actually survived his reported killing in 1882. Meeting up with Butch Curry, the head of a local gang called The Wild Bunch, they join up with the intention of stealing $100,000 from the next stagecoach. However, a member of the gang, Butch's own brother Lonny, decides to go to the sheriff and let him know about the plot in exchange for becoming his deputy and claiming the reward for James' capture. So as the robbery begins, the sheriff and his men shoot the two remaining members of the Wild Bunch and seriously wound Hank.

Jesse and Hank escape and stop at the Lopez's campout to tend to Hank's wound and sleep until the morning. During the middle of the night, Juanita wakes up Jesse and Hank and leads them back to town to the Frankensteins' house to fix up Hank despite her parents forbidding her to back there. Maria agrees to help, and even covers for her guests when the sheriff and Lonny come around looking for them, but her actual plan is to use Hank as another one of her experiments. After a failed attempt to seduce Jesse, Maria sends him to the town pharmacist with a note, then begins operating on Hank, giving him an artificial new brain and bringing him back to life. Rudolph tries to poison Hank, now called Igor, but Maria this time catches him and orders her new monster to strangle her brother.

Jesse gives the pharmacist the note from Maria, which actually reveals his identity, prompting the pharmacist to call the sheriff. The sheriff is out, but deputy Lonny decides to take on Jesse for the reward on his head. Jesse manages to escape, killing Lonny in the process. When he returns to the Frankensteins' house, Igor incapacitates him and ties him up.

Realizing Jesse is in trouble, Juanita sends the sheriff to the house, where he finds Jesse and prepares to take him in. But Maria sends Igor to crush the sheriff. During the scuffle, Juanita frees Jesse and tries to escape. Maria orders Igor to go kill Juanita, but he strangles Maria instead and goes after Jesse. Juanita gets Jesse's gun and kills Igor.

The next morning, as Jesse buries Hank, Juanita pleads with him to stay and live with her, but Jesse, knowing that he's a fugitive, rides off with the sheriff, who wasn't killed by Igor.

Cast[edit]

Production design[edit]

The film used Kenneth Strickfaden's electronic equipment [2] and M1 helmet liners in the Frankenstein's Wild West laboratory.

Release[edit]

Home media[edit]

The film is offered by Joe Bob Briggs with commentary on DVD.[1]

Reception[edit]

The movie was reviewed by exploitation filmmaker Brad Jones on his show The Cinema Snob, in which he also reviewed Billy the Kid vs. Dracula as a part of his Public Domain Month.

Influence[edit]

The movie is featured (in edited form) in an episode of This Movie Sucks! in which Ed the Sock, Liana K and Ron Sparks make fun of it. It is a double feature paired with the pilot episode of The Master.

The film is also featured on Elvira's Movie Macabre.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ pp. 280-281 Marshall, Wendy L. William Beaudine: From Silents to Television Scarecrow Press, 1 Jan 2005
  2. ^ pp.148-149 Goldman, Harry Kenneth Strickfaden, Dr. Frankenstein's Electrician McFarland, 11 Nov 2005

External links[edit]