Notes: Circle Productions Inc.
Jesse James: John Lupton
Dr. Maria Frankenstein: Narda Onyx
Juanita Lopez: Estelita Rodriguez
Hank Tracy: Cal Bolder
Dr. Rudolph Frankenstein: Steven Geray

Directed: William Beaudine
Written: Carl K. Hittleman

Summary: The Lopez peasants whimper about the abandonment of the town, "nothing but death and sorrow" ever since those two doctors moved into the old mission. Juanita the daughter is especially angry about the deaths and the disappearance of her brother Francisco. Meanwhile, Dr. Maria Frankenstein (not Frankenstein's daughter, it turns out, but his granddaughter) and her brother Rudolph (who looks more like he should be her father) discuss moving to this hell-hole because of the electrical storms helping their experiments unlike that miserably mild Vienna. Maria zaps Francisco, who momentarily sits up but then lapses back. Rudolph mercifully substitutes poison for the digitalis Maria calls for. Francisco is injected and dies. Maria checks out a book and realizes what a fool she has been: grandpa Frankenstein's notes clearly state that a living brain is required for the hook-up. Then they can have a servant "to do our bidding." Rudolph questions it all but Maria sneers at his "humanitarian" sensibilities. She yanks out the last brain grandpa created, and the secret died with him. Daddy was weak. Rudolph takes after him. We need someone strong.

Meanwhile, a fight in front of a saloon ends in strong dumb Hank winning and Jesse James winning some cash. Everyone has heard he died at Northridge, but no. Meanwhile, two brothers Butch and Lonnie (two of the three remaining "Wild Bunch" after 11 others were killed recently) argue over the fact that Butch has invited the James gang in on a stagecoach hold-up scheme. The disgruntled Lonnie still wants a third of the total take of $100,000. Butch is disappointed to learn that it's just Jesse and Hank, but the plot is on. Lonnie rats out Jesse to the Marshall who, with his men, pick off the two other Wild Bunch dudes. Hank is wounded. Jesse gets invited into the Lopez camp. Juanita promises to take Hank to two doctors. On the way, she is captured by an Indian, who attacks Jesse, who is able to turn the Indian's knife against him. It's one of the few Indian attacks in a Frankenstein movie. Jesse and Juanita kiss.

At the Frankensteins, Jesse meets Maria: "You're the doctor?!" He uses the "Hank was cleaning his gun" excuse. Maria is secretly overjoyed: they have to be running from the law; and as for Hank, "What a brute he'll make!" Meanwhile, the Marshall questions Juanita in town. Her claiming ignorance is readily believed. Jesse tells Maria his name is Mr. Howard. But the Marshall's questions to her reveal identities, meaning that Maria is further justified in experimenting on Hank: he would be hanged anyway if turned over to the law. Jesse and Juanita have a deep "stay"/"no I must go" talk, ending in another kiss. Maria is jealous and explains the town abandonment as a case of the ignorant not understanding, so they ran. She claims, "I need your strength," and kisses Jesse. He says they'll leave as soon as Hank is well. Maria has a snit. She gives a note to her brother to give to Jesse, saying it is a prescription for Hank who suddenly took a turn for the worse. It's really one of those Claudius-from-Hamlet notes: "kill him." And indeed, Jesse never reads the thing all the way to town. Rudolph accuses Maria of being jealous and has a laugh at her being "human after all." He gets smacked.

"Yesse!" Juanita doesn't trust this errand and goes to the Frankenstein house, where she sees Hank on the table, head shaved, apparently new brain, and zapped while Rudolph goes to silence a dog. Rudolph gives the obligatory line about going "too far. No one should tamper with the laws of God." Maria tries to turn Hank into "Igor": he will obey her every command. (But wouldn't it just be easier to hire a servant? I'm sure Hank is so stupid he'd happily go along with the name change.) Maria discovers her brother's poison switcheroo and has Igor crush him. Juanita is still seeing all this.

Meanwhile, Jesse turns in the prescription. The druggist sneaks to the Sheriff's office, where only Lonnie is to be found. Lonnie's attempted ambush fails and he's shot dead finally. Juanita decides to rat out Jesse to the authorities in order to save him from the Frankenstein horrors. But when Jesse returns, Maria blames her brother and has Igor conk Jesse. Jesse is strapped to the table. Maria declares, "We have something in common: we're both outside the law." She injects him, but the Marshall interrupts. Maria sics Igor on the Marshall, then on Juanita: "kill her." Igor/Hank is torn and instead goes after Maria, chanting, "kill, kill." Then he goes after Jesse but Juanita shoots him twice. The film ends with a deep parting over Hank's grave.

Commentary: The film is true to the title in accomplishing a schizoid experience. An Indian, a barking dog, Mexican peasants, a sleazy druggist: a hodge-podge of incongruous parts making up this unnatural monster of a film.

Frankenstein Films
Monsters Frontpage