Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter
|Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter|
DVD box art
|Directed by||William Beaudine|
|Produced by||Caroll Case|
|Written by||Carl K. Hittleman|
|Music by||Raoul Kraushaar|
|Cinematography||Lothrop B. Worth|
|Edited by||William Austin|
|Distributed by||Embassy Pictures|
|Running time||83 min.|
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. The films were produced by television producer Carroll Case for Joseph E. Levine.
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 Estelita 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, Estelita 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 fsiled 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, Estelita 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, Estelita frees Jesse and tries to escape. Maria orders Igor to go kill Estelita, but he strangles Maria instead and goes after Jesse. Estelita gets Jesse's gun and kills Igor.
The next morning, as Jesse buries Hank, Estelita 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.
- John Lupton as Jesse James
- Narda Onyx as Dr. Maria Frankenstein
- Estelita Rodriguez as Juanita Lopez (as Estelita)
- Cal Bolder as Hank Tracy/Igor
- Jim Davis as Marshal MacPhee
- Steven Geray as Dr. Rudolph Frankenstein
- Rayford Barnes as Lonny Curry
- William Fawcett as Jensen, the pharmacist
- Nestor Paiva as Saloon Owner
- Roger Creed as Butch Curry
- Rosa Turich as Nina Lopez
- Felipe Turich as Manuel Lopez
- Fred Stromsoe as Stacy
- Dan White as Pete Ketchum
- Page Slattery as Deputy Andy
- Mark Norton as Francisco Lopez
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.
- pp. 280-281 Marshall, Wendy L. William Beaudine: From Silents to Television Scarecrow Press, 1 Jan 2005
- pp.148-149 Goldman, Harry Kenneth Strickfaden, Dr. Frankenstein's Electrician McFarland, 11 Nov 2005
- Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter at the Internet Movie Database
- Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter at AllMovie
- Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter at The Cinema Snob