From the mind of former cartoon writer Donald Glut comes this exciting anthology of tales that pay homage to classic Universal and Hammer films in terms of their tone.
Over two centuries ago, Victor Von Frankenstein created a monster made of various human parts and his descendants have since attempted to re-create their ancestor’s legacy in a series of time periods. It starts in Bavaria in 1887 and the story of Dr. Gregore Frankenstein, a distant cousin of the legendary creator who vows to create the perfect man and woman. In Switzerland in 1910, a greedy neighbor of the late Helmut Frankenstein attempts to steal a ruby ring that has been buried with him. His attempt to get the ring resorts to potentially disastrous results when the severed arm returns to haunt the greedy one.
The third story, set in 1948 Los Angeles, involves a detective on a case that takes him to a castle, where he experiences a mad scientist who goes by Dr. Mortality who attempts to keep the legacy going by using our detective as a potential piece of the puzzle. The final story, set in 1957 Transylvania, revolves around Dr. Karnstein, another mad doctor influenced by Frankenstein to create a new monster only this time, they will have vampires to have to deal with.
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s iconic novel Frankenstein, this film was successfully made through a Kickstarter campaign from the mind of Donald F. Glut, who got his start writing episodes of various Saturday morning cartoons over the years. However, he is more than that. He’s an author and taking four of his stories from his eponymous title, Glut does a great job of bringing homage to Universal classics and Hammer Films’ classic with a dash of the American International horror flicks of the 1950s. In between each story involves Frankenstein’s Monster, played by Scott Fresina, as if he is reading the novel.
The vignettes are a delight and, in an age, where horror films are gory, and rely on tons of adult themes, Glut makes the smart move to keep the gore to a very low minimum and keep the adult thematics to a more subtle and tasteful manner, hence the reasoning for this being a tribute to the classic horror films. The first vignette churns out a performance by Buddy Daniels Friedman, whose character of Dr. Gregore Frankenstein could be considered in terms of both looks and mannerisms, a combination of his ancestor and assistant Igor, due to his deformity. Lillian Lev gives out a great supporting performance as Helga, a disabled woman who suddenly finds herself in a situation that leads to an even bigger situation.
The second story revolves around a greedy neighbor, played by John Blyth Barrymore, who resembles a bit like Michael Douglas, as he intends to steal a ruby ring from the hand of Helmut Frankenstein. Seen in flashbacks at first, Helmut is played by the late legendary comic book writer Len Wein, whose iconic creations include Wolverine, Storm, and Swamp Thing. This story can be described as a what if Thing from The Addams Family was seeking some sort of revenge, as it was the case here because we see Helmut’s severed arm looking to get even with the neighbor.
The third vignette melds the Frankenstein genre with a taste of The Island of Dr. Moreau in the tone of a good old classic genre: the film noir. Jamisin Matthews is exciting to watch and voiceover the narration as detective Jack Anvil. The legendary Mel Novak is always great in his roles and this role proves no different at Dr. Morality, a mad doctor who has a bit of obsession with the legendary Victor Frankenstein with T.J. Storm giving ample support as assistant Mogambo. And the term “save the best for last” holds true as the final story, set in 1950s Transylvania, meshes the Hammer Film with the classic AIP horror films in terms of the terrors of Dr. Karnstein, played by Jim Tavaré in the former and the latter in the form of Karnstein’s assistant Carl, played by Justin Hoffmeister. The final moments take a very shocking twist that just ends this anthology on a super high note.
Tales of Frankenstein is a fantastic homage to the classic Frankenstein tale with four different tales and time periods, all well made by Donald F. Glut. Anyone who loves the classics and want to see them in a modern way will enjoy this one.
WFG RATING: A-
A Pecosborn Production. Director: Donald F. Glut. Producer: Edward L. Plumb. Writer: Donald F. Glut. Cinematography: Rick Craft and Peter Lugo. Editing: Tony Malanowski.
Cast: Scott Fresina, Buddy Daniels Friedman, Lilian Lev, Kevin Caliber, John Blyth Barrymore, Len Wein, Tatiana DeKhtyar, Beverly Washburn, Ann Robinson, Jamisin Matthews, Mel Novak, T.J. Storm, Serena Hope Sun, Banyah Maria Choi, Amy Shi, Jim Tavaré, Justin Hoffmeister, Jena Sims, Douglas Tait.