Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958)

Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958)

“The Frankensteins were monsters who brought life from death — and that’s a true achievement.”

The insane grandson (Donald Murphy) of Dr. Frankenstein relies on the help of a zealous gardener (Wolfe Barzell) to create a modern-day female version (Sally Todd) of his grandfather’s fabled creature. Meanwhile, the niece (Sandra Knight) of Murphy’s employer (Felix Locher) complains to her boyfriend (John Ashley) about seeing visions of monsters roaming the streets.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Frankenstein
  • Horror Films
  • Mad Doctors and Scientists

Hawaiian-born director Richard Cunha is best-known for the four low-budget sci-fi/horror flicks he helmed in the 1950s — including this infamously awful entry in the prolific genre of Frankenstein-themed films. The title refers not to the actual daughter of Dr. Frankenstein (that designation would go to the character played by Ilona Massey in 1943’s Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man), but rather to the dubiously female “creature” — hence, daughter — created by mad Dr. Frank (Murphy). (It’s challenging to keep all these Frankensteins and their progeny — both biological and mutant — straight!) Meanwhile, any casual viewer doing a Google image search would be forgiven for believing that somehow Sandra Knight’s character:

is the hideous beast in question, given that images of her pert teenage face made up with gruesomely bushy brows and rotten, crooked teeth dominate the virtual landscape.

But no: while Dr. Frank does try out his potion (?) on her, the ACTUAL monster is supposedly crafted from Knight’s snooty blonde rival (Sally Todd):

— though the monster him/herself was actually played by a man (Harry Wilson):

… and the make-up designer, Harry Thomas, didn’t realize until after the fact that he was designing a mask for a female, and there was no money left to create another one. (Thanks to Goremasterfx for this info.)

Well, you get the point. Watch at your own peril.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Laughably awful acting, make-up, and script

Must See?
No; definitely skip this one unless you’re a fan of Z-grade “chillers”. Listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958)

  1. First viewing. Not a must. Just a very dull movie.

    Here we go again with Peary’s freewheeling, overly generous definition of what constitutes ‘a camp classic’. Just because a particular low-budget sci-fi/horror or over-heated drama is bad, that doesn’t mean it’s in the company of ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ or ‘Mommie Dearest’.

    Recognizing something as camp means it has that little ‘something extra’ – usually something out of the logical box of the film (whatever ‘logical’ may be in a bad film, that is). It will be found in the dialogue or performances or production design (or all three), etc. But it is something that is particularly misguided (when, apparently, the creators thought they were doing a good job) and the result is jaws dropping and laughs coming forth to varying degrees.

    ‘FD’ may very well cause an occasional. small chuckle but it is not camp. All involved actually have done what they’re supposed to do for a bad film of this type: it’s filmed (and framed) reasonably well, the director knows how to move people around and give them proper ‘motivation’, and the acting – while certainly not good – is what one should expect from what was probably produced as a quickie for the drive-in crowd. The script is not completely stupid but it’s quite lame. You find yourself longing to hear the characters say really stupid things – which would, at least, give it some camp potential.

    This one’s a long haul, with nothing to make it stand out as uniquely weird. Don’t waste your time (like I just did). 😉

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