Lady Frankenstein

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Lady Frankenstein

Horror, Drama | 99 mins | Released: 1971
Director: Mel Welles
Starring: Joseph Cotton, Rosalba Neri, Paul Muller, Peter Whiteman, Herbert Fux, Renate Kasche, Lorenzo Terzon
Our Rating: 4
Color

The films opens with a trio of grave robbers (led by a man named Lynch) delivering a corpse to Baron Frankenstein (Cotten) and his assistant Dr. Marshall (Müller), for obvious reanimation purposes.

Baron Frankenstein’s daughter Tania (Neri/Bay) arrives from school, having completed her studies in medicine, and is greeted by her father and his servant, the handsome but mildly retarded Thomas. Tania reveals to her father that she has always understood his work with “animal transplants” to be a cover for his work reanimating corpses, and that she intends to follow in his footsteps and help him in his work.

The next day, Frankenstein, Tania, and Marshall witness the execution of a criminal who is hanged down a well, and it is implied that his body will be harvested for their experimentation. Law enforcement agent Captain Harris (Hargitay) arrives to harass Lynch at the hanging. Harris claims to be on to Lynch’s grave robbing.

That evening, having harvested salient body parts, Frankenstein and Marshall successfully reanimate a corpse, The Monster as Tania secretly watches. The Monster, however, bear hugs Frankenstein to death almost instantly, then walks out of the castle. Tania and Marshall report the murder to Harris, but claim that it was a burglar.

Meanwhile, the narrative is interspersed with shots of the Monster roaming the countryside killing locals, including Lynch.

Tania then goads Marshall into admitting harboring romantic feelings for her. She responds to his affections but says that while Marshall’s body is old, she finds the body of Thomas young and attractive. The “solution” to this situation will be to transplant Marshall’s brain into Thomas’s body. To accomplish this, Tania seduces Thomas, and Marshall kills him with a pillow during their lovemaking.

Tania then transplants Marshall’s brain into Thomas’s body. The local villagers, however, have had enough and arrive to destroy the castle, replete with torches and pitchforks. In the chaos, the Monster arrives and has a fight against Marshall/Thomas and Tania. The Monster is defeated, but Tania’s allegiance during the fight is highly suspect.

Harris arrives with Thomas’s sister to see Tania and Marshall/Thomas enjoying post-fight sexual intercourse. However, during their lovemaking, Marshall/Thomas strangles Tania to death, and the film ends.

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Movie Notes:

Lady Frankenstein (Italian: La Figlia di Frankenstein) is a 1971 Italian horror film directed by Mel Welles. It stars Joseph Cotten, Rosalba Neri (under the pseudonym Sara Bey), Mickey Hargitay and Paul Müller.Cult film writer Edward di Lorenzo, wrote the script for Lady Frankenstein.

The film was largely financed through Harry Cushing, but just prior to the start of filming a letter of credit from a film company was not accepted by the Italian banks. The final last-minute $90,000 needed to make the film was obtained from Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. The suggestion of Rosalba Neri for the lead role was from one of the financers of the film.

The film is often compared with the Frankenstein cycle made by the Hammer Studios (1957–72), and may have been an influence on Paul Morrissey’s controversial film, Flesh for Frankenstein (1973).

Some have posited that Di Lorenzo intended that this film should present a feminist slant to the mad scientist genre.

Rob Zombie sampled the line “Who is this irresistible creature who has an insatiable love for the dead?” from the trailer for his song “Living Dead Girl.”

The movie ends abruptly after the main character dies, without any credits.

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