JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEINS DAUGHTER
For all that, neither Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter nor Billy the Kid Versus Dracula are truly bad films. Certainly, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter has its share of Z-budget howlers the monster revived by having a coloured motorcycle helmet placed on his head, or the moment when Maria invites Jesse to come into her library and the resulting room contains no books. It should also be noted that despite the title Narda Onyx plays Frankensteins granddaughter, not his daughter. Yet for all its Z-movie reputation, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is never any worse than a B western. It certainly never looks cheap and is in colour. There are a good many genre films that are far worse than this.
Narda Onyx gives a wonderfully breathy and overwrought performance as Maria Frankenstein and John Lupton is good as Jesse, as is Estrelita as the good-hearted Juanita. The script is routine it is never clear what Maria Frankenstein is trying to do, her experiment is a vague one that involves raising the dead, transplanting artificial brains and mind control. As with Billy the Kid Versus Dracula, the titular Western villain in question undergoes a character change that varies considerably with what history would have us know. In Billy the Kid Versus Dracula, William Bonney became a good-hearted, simple-minded lug rather than a ruthless killer and here Jesse James is reformed to become akin to a Western version of Robin Hood.
Director William Beaudine had a prolific career that lasted from the 1910s until his death in 1970s. He was mostly known as a director who could shoot fast and cheaply. He made some 350+ films, although this figure is misleading as many of these were silent films and not feature length. Beaudine did make a number of other genre films, including the Old Dark House film The Living Ghost (1942), the comedy Lucky Ghost (1942), the mad scientist film The Ape Man (1943), the East Side Kids Old Dark House comedy Ghosts on the Loose (1943), the mad scientist film Voodoo Man (1944), the mad scientist film The Face of Marble (1946), the East Side Kids/Bowery Boys Old Dark House comedy Spook Busters (1946), the Bowery Boys film Ghost Chasers (1951), the mad scientist comedy Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952), the Bowery Boys film Jalopy (1953), the Bowery Boys film Paris Playboys (1954), the Bowery Boys film Up in Smoke (1957) and The Green Hornet (1974), a compilation of episodes of the superhero tv series.
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