Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958)

Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958) by #RichardECunha
#JohnAshley #SandraKnight #DonaldMurphy #SallyTodd

Frankenstein’s grandson creates a female monster in modern day L.A.

“IT reaches from the grave to re-live the horror… the terror
“MORE Terrifying! MORE Destructive!”

#Horror #SciFi

Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958) is, as of this blog post, my least popular Friday Night At The Home Drive-In tweet in a long time. Perhaps that says something about the movie, or its reputation. Or perhaps it’s just one of those Twitter anomalies. In any case, this is a movie that I first saw when I was fairly young – and then again several times over the years – so I’ve always quite liked it. But maybe it’s just another case of nostalgia working its magic on me…

Don’t get me wrong. Frankenstein’s Daughter is a bad movie – but that’s a major part of its charm. It’s included on the list of The 100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made in THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE by John Wilson (who is the founder of the Golden Raspberry Awards). This is high praise indeed – and not undeserved. But I must be clear about this: it’s a bad movie that is fun to watch. it’s “so bad it’s good” as many people like to say. 

Some movies are just plain bad. They’re boring, they’re confusing, they feel like they’re several hours long (even thought they’re only 68 minutes). Frankenstein’s Daughter is not like that. Watching it is, in my opinion, a pure joy – but perhaps only for people who have a taste for such things. 

I suppose Frankenstein’s Daughter was made to cash in on that whole Teenage Monster sub-genre. And I think it’s just as much fun as many of the more famous entries. The main character, Trudy (played by Sandra Knight), is a darn sight more sympathetic than Michael Landon’s abusive a-hole character in I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957). She is the victim of experiments by her uncle’s lab assistant (!) who is named Oliver Frank but is actually Oliver Frankenstein (!!) – a descendant of the famous mad doctor. 

Incidentally, her uncle is trying to create a formula that will make people ageless. Frank(enstein) slips Trudy a rufi (or some such thing) that causes her to transform into a monster and roam the streets. Oddly enough, Frank(enstein) is also infatuated with Trudy and seems to want to make her his girl. She, or course, already has a boyfriend and is not interested in Frank(enstein). Her best girlfriend is played by Sally Todd – a blonde bombshell who appeared in other films such as The Unearthly (1957) and The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957) by Roger Corman. Sadly, she only appeared in about 19 movies and TV shows. 

Sandra Knight, on the other hand, appeared in 21 things. She was married to Jack Nicholson for a while, and appeared in The Terror (1963) with him.

Frankenstein’s Daughter was a very low budget production. Much cheaper and shoddier than the famously low budget AIP productions (like I Was A Teenage Werewolf). Apparently the special effects make up artist, Harry Thomas, did not know that the monster was supposed to be a woman. This is because it was played by a male actor. When Thomas found out, he didn’t have enough money left in the budget to re-do the mask. So, all he could do was add lipstick to it.

For this, and many other reasons, Frankenstein’s Daughter is a #NotQuiteClassicCinema masterpiece. It will always be a welcome sight to me, on any #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn