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Richard Cunha
Donald Murphy, Sandra Frank, Sally Todd
Writing Credits:
HE Barrie

Dr. Frankenstein's insane grandson attempts to create horrible monsters in modern day LA.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 85 min.
Price: $24.95
Release Date: 10/26/2021

• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
• “Filmmaker of the Unknown” Featurette
• “Man from the B’s” Featurette
• Booklet


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Frankenstein's Daughter [Blu-Ray] (1958)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 9, 2022)

90 years after James Whale’s iconic take on the character, we continue to associate Frankenstein with Boris Karloff and Universal Studios. However, many others touched on the property over the decades, and 1958’s Frankenstein’s Daughter presents one of these endeavors.

Set in then-modern-day Los Angeles, we meet Oliver Frank (Donald Murphy), a young man with dubious lineage. He is the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein, the scientist whose experiments created the original “undead monster”.

Inspired by grandpa’s work, Oliver experiments on locals – usually the women who reject his romantic advances. Before long a female creature wreaks havoc in Los Angeles, all due to Oliver’s shenanigans.

Based on that synopsis, I expected to find Incel: The Movie. I figured Oliver would offer a nerdy, unattractive character who can’t get any positive feedback from women at all.

Nope. Oliver falters with our leading lady Trudy (Sandra Knight) – the niece of Prof. Carter Morton (Felix Locher), Frank’s scientific partner – but he offers a good-looking man. When he flops with Trudy, this occurs more because he comes across as a jerk, so he should only blame himself, and later female problems stem from his aggressiveness.

Despite the modern-day LA setting, Daughter follows the standard Frankenstein template, as Frank works pretty hard to follow in grandpa’s footsteps. Some twists occur in terms of the experiments, but nonetheless, the tale goes down familiar paths and even gives Frank his own Igor via creepy gardener Elsu (Wolfe Barzell).

The main difference comes from the way Frank uses concoctions to turn humans into monsters. Oddly, Daughter follows two paths, as we see how Frank’s chemical creations physically alter women, but he also seeks to recreate grandpa’s “patchwork creature” approach.

The two sides don’t like in a logical manner. It feels like Daughter wants the “chemical metamorphosis” approach just to add some potential scares while Frank works toward the traditional Frankenstein experiments.

Honestly, most of the movie fails to develop in a particularly coherent manner. Daughter leans into the semi-campy vibe typical of many 1950s horror flicks, and it never seems particularly sure where it wants to go.

One thing I can guarantee: viewers will find no real scares here. Much of Daughter feels more like a soap opera than a horror flick, and the film barely attempts real terror.

Some dodgy effects don’t help. When Trudy changes into a hideous creature, the actor wears a goofy mask that never seems remotely convincing.

The titular monster also fails to seem especially compelling. Honestly, the end result looks like something out of a Three Stooges short more than a beast who would frighten audiences.

Bizarrely, Daughter makes a long diversion to a pool party, where we find ourselves stuck with some tunes from a light pop band. I guess this exists as sop for the teenyboppers, though it seems hard to believe anyone found much excitement from the wimpy songs.

On the positive side, Murphy offers a surprisingly good performance as Frank. He gives off something of a Benedict Cumberbatch air and offers an appropriately slimy turn without the need to resort to “bad guy” theatrics.

Outside of Murphy’s work, though, I find little to praise here. Frankenstein’s Daughter offers a tedious update on the property.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Frankenstein’s Daughter appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though iffy at times, this was usually an acceptable presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed good, but exceptions occurred, as some shots felt a bit soft. Nonetheless, the majority of the film offered positive delineation.

The image lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. With a fine layer of grain, I suspected no digital noise reduction, but print flaws became a distraction.

These popped up persistently through the film. Though never heavy, the specks created a consistent issue.

Blacks looked dark and deep, while shadows were smooth and clear. Without the print flaws, I’d like this image a lot, but the defects left it as a “C+”.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, it worked fine given the era of its origins. Speech remained a little thin but still appeared reasonably natural, without edginess or other issues.

Music showed pretty good range and punch, while effects came across as a bit lifeless but accurate and clean enough. The audio held up nicely over the last 64 years.

The disc provides a mix of extras, and we find an audio commentary from film historian Tom Weaver. He offers a running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters/genre, cast and crew, and various production/genre domains.

Weaver doesn’t operate on his own, as he occasionally cues taped remarks from others. We get sporadic notes from journalist Steven Cronenberg, actors Robert Kokai and John Ashley, filmmaker Larry Blamire, makeup artist Harry Thomas and film score historian David Schechter.

A veteran of the format, Weaver is money in the bank, and that trend continues here. He brings us a brisk, entertaining and informative view of the film, though Weaver’s unnecessary references to the COVID pandemic make me wonder if he owns a red baseball hat, and these asides seem pointlessly antagonistic and inappropriate.

Note that the Blu-ray’s case claims that the disc will also include a commentary from filmmaker Larry Blamire. None appears, though as mentioned, Blamire pops up during Weaver’s chat. The disc’s menu also credits its sole commentary to Jason A. Ney, but it’s Weaver.

Filmmaker of the Unknown runs 36 minutes and provides material from 1983. Back then, Weaver sent questions to director Richard E. Cunha, and he got videotaped responses in return.

Cunha acts as the focus of this collection of nearly 40-year-old comments, though we also hear from producer Arthur A. Jacobs as well. This becomes a good exploration of Cunha’s life and career.

Next comes Man from the B’s, a 10-minute, 15-second featurette that includes notes from film historian C. Courtney Joyner as he discusses actor/producer John Ashley. Joyner offers a tight overview.

The set concludes with a booklet that features photos and an essay from Weaver. He offers a succinct overview.

A then-modern-day update on the classic tale, Frankenstein’s Daughter comes with enough intriguing alterations to make the viewer hope it will bring us something interesting. Unfortunately, it winds up as a scattered, less than coherent attempt at horror that fails to go much of anywhere. The Blu-ray brings acceptable picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. This feels like a subpar 1950s monster movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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