The EOFFTV Review

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Kyofu densetsu Kaiki! Furankenshutain (1981)

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A companion piece to the frankly quite horrible Toei anime adaptation of Marvel Comic's Tomb of Dracula, Yamo no Toei kyuketsuki Dracula (1980), this is the equally obscure adaptation of Marvel's less well remembered Monster of Frankenstein comic.

There's not really a lot between the two made-for-TV specials - Monster of Frankenstein is just as poorly animated (most of the time the camera is just panning over static panels), badly dubbed and sluggishly paced as Tomb of Dracula, though it does have a rather fetching looking monster to its name. As with a lot of anime, the design work is first rate, but the annoying kids, immobile "animation" and lack of atmosphere kill the production stone dead.

How much of this is due to the editorial interference of Harmony Gold, the company who imported the show into the West is hard to tell - they can't be held responsible for the dreadful animation but the dub track does the film no favours at all. Like Tomb of Dracula, Harmony Gold removed the opening titles leaving the film with no official English language title, though it was widely advertised as either Monster of Frankenstein or Frankenstein Legend of Terror.

Despite the fact that there's a surprising amount of gore being splashed about, Monster of Frankenstein manages to be terribly boring - people sit about talking endlessly while the monster lurks around offscreen for most of the show. When he does turn up again, it looks like the anime version is going to start going down the Universal path when he encounters a blind man and his young daughter in the woods, but instead it goes off on a very unexpected angle - the monster lays waste to just about every half-way likeable character it encounters and at the climax, after losing her mother, boyfriend and the monster she's inexplicably come to befriend, our young heroine watches helpless as her father blows his own brains out!

Which all makes Monster of Frankenstein sound a lot more exciting and a lot more fun than it really is. The climax is a bit of whirlwind of mad action but it takes a lot of patience and dedication to get there and frankly you've all got better things to do than waste your time on this. Die-hard fans of Frankenstein will want to see it of course, but really, you'll be a lot better off sticking with Messrs Clive, Karloff, Cushing and Lee.