Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cinematic Titanic: Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks

Movie: (1974) aka Terror! Il Castello delle donne maledette (castle of damned women).  A strange 70’s Italian erotic horror film.  A mad scientist (Count Frankenstein?) tries to reanimate a caveman killed nearby, while romancing his visiting daughter’s friend.  Meanwhile his kitchen staff are all plotting against each other, which leads to the dwarf running away to befriend another caveman, then trying to destroy them all.  Surprisingly enough he succeeds.

First released:  11/24/2008 or 1/8/2009 (DVD, download)

Opening:  The animated headshots plus names introduce the Titans again.  One of the supervisors tells them they’ll be testing out the new “Breast Blimp” for the first time, to ‘clean up’ the movie (‘not the print’).  Josh protests, “What, the people of the future won’t be able to handle nudity?”

Skit: Trace tries to do his presentation but is interrupted, although we do learn his t-shirt says “I like Frank..enstein’s Monster” to everyone’s confusion.

End: Some singing along to the instrumental closing theme as everyone wanders off.

Availability: on Hulu and Amazon Instant.  No DVD?

Reminds me of:  Zombie Nightmare? Blood Waters of Dr. Z?  Castle of Fu Manchu?  I don’t really know.

Joel’s and Frank’s Take:  here.

Stray observations:
Okay, this wasn’t as gory as I remembered (probably confusing the brain operations with Oozing Skull), but without nudity it wasn’t much of anything.  The Breast Blimp was a ‘creative decision’ I disagreed with, as they had no qualms about showing some really disgusting gore in previous films but cut some minor (PG!) nudity.  (There was also a scene with the daughter and fiancé that seems cut out, and the servant girl who gets kidnapped is apparently raped and killed.  Okay, I didn’t need to see that, but still.)  Now that was fine for MST’s City Limits since it was being shown on cable, but this is a DVD I purchased from performers that are not doing all-ages material any more. 
Some of the unedited parts can be seen on the clip and trailer compilation Extra Weird Sampler from Something Weird Video (now out of print).
The film’s conclusion is also off-key.  The dwarf instigates multiple killings when he frees the giant, after raping and killing a servant girl, but at the end is almost the only one left alive with Krista!  No comeuppance.
At least twice there was a riff followed by laughing from the other riffers, and I couldn’t tell whether they were flubbing a line or just cracking each other up.
Cast and crew roundup:  The supervisor was played by Todd Carlin. 
Credits watch:  Joel and Frank are both saddened by the decline of Rossano Brazzi (Count Frankenstein), but Michael Dunn (Genz) really steals the show.  The female lead, Christiane Royce/Rücker (Krista) is a knockout in a very 1970’s European way.
Callback: A few come in at the last minute, including “I crap bigger than that,” “It was Callahan” and “Last thing a barfbag sees.”
Fave riff:  “She’s wearing a wedding dress!  Can’t you take a hint?” and Josh’s “This totally reminds me of my last day at MST.”  Poorly-timed honorable mention: “If you ever wondered what Robin Williams looks like naked.”

Next week:  Rifftrax takes on Roger Corman’s original “Little Shop of Horrors”!

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