Frankenstein's castle of freaks (1974)

I'm starting to wonder ... is there something about dwarves in movies that fascinates me? Particularly dwarves in Frankenstein movies? I don't have the urge to get involved in dwarf-tossing or anything. It's a worry! Well, enough introspection. Y'all be wanting a review from moi, not these internal ramblings.

Now this film is fun. There's enough exploitation elements in there to keep everyone happy. You've got nude mud-bathing, lecherous dwarves, hunchbacks, Neanderthals, Frankenstein, a Frankenstein's monster made from Neanderthals ... the list is endless. And plot? I was getting to that, man! Jeez, you got an attitude!

In some sort of medieval rural Italy, a village discovers a giant neanderthal man living amongst them. As you would, they promptly gang up on the poor primitive dude and kill him. But "Count", as opposed to Baron Frankenstein, has other plans. He has "Frankenstein's monsters" as they're credited, actually a dwarf, Jenz, a hunchback and a brutish butler (if having a hump on your back, or being small qualifies you as a monster, it's a pretty harsh world out there) retrieve the corpse and bring it back to his laboratory.

They also dig up a girl-corpse (who knows what for) and we gradually find out our beloved dwarf is a necrophile. He's caught by Frankenstein and thrown out. But revenge is in the offing. Finding and befriending yet another neanderthal (played by a certain Boris Lugosi - no relation) and calling him "Ook", Jenz kidnaps a village girl, and he and Ook ravage and kill her.

Meanwhile Frankenstein is visited by his daughter, daughter's fiance and her friend, Krista. He soon falls for Krista and reveals his latest creation to her - a giant called "Goliath" created from the dead Neanderthal. But really, it's a tall guy in a bald clown wig, and a few scars stuck on ... us cynical post-modern types always know better, don't we? As usual, the monster takes a liking to the girl, now competing with our Count Frankenstein's affections. Soon we're treated to a scene of the two girls finding a mud-spa in a local cave, and having a nude frolic. After all, mud's so good for the complexion...

Soon our plots converge, and the monster is duly running amok. Count Frankenstein is killed by Goliath, and so are the rest of "Frankenstein's monsters." The villagers are agitated about the loss of their village girl, and track the monster to Ook's cave. Ook and Goliath battle and the weaker Ook is killed. Who knows if Goliath recognises his old Neatherthal mate, but I think he had a new brain, I might have blinked when that plot point was revealed.

The villagers turn up with the obligatory burning torches and, as Krista protests, proceed to burn old Goliath to a crisp. Strangely enough, the film ends with the evil Jenz nestling, in tears, in Krista's ample bosom! Where's the justice, I asks ya! Never mind, this is a classic of horror exploitation, not nearly as delirious as say, "the brain that wouldn't die", but with so many juicy elements at work you can't go wrong. And a bit of the old "T & A" never hurt anyone. There's no acting, direction or cinematic vision to speak of, but this a great example of horror schlock, nonetheless.

10/02/02.

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© Boris Lugosi 2002.