April 1, 2013
Linkara finally reviews a lamp! ...Or does he?
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Light Bulb, where bad lights burn out. Well, now that "March of the Titans" is over with, I feel the need to do something that's been heavily requested by my fanbase. (reaches out and pulls in a lamp) And that's to review this $20 lamp from Target. Now, this particular lamp, as you can see–
(Suddenly, he is cut off by static and the screen goes black)
Cinema Snob (v/o): Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...
(A clip of an old horror movie plays, while the theme from The Greatest American Hero plays. The title for The Cinema Snob is displayed, followed by the title card for this newest episode: Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster. Then the Cinema Snob appears, played not by Brad Jones, surprisingly, but by Lewis Lovhaug, wearing obvious makeup to look like the Snob's signature mustache and beard. He is therefore referred to as Cinema Snobkara, for purposes of clarity. He looks at the cover of Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster with concern)
CS: At this point, can we officially declare "Frankenstein-sploitation" a thing?
(A montage of Frankenstein movies is shown to prove his point)
CS (v/o): We've got Lady Frankenstein, Frankenstein Island, Frankenstein 1970, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks, Frankenstein Conquers the World, Frankenstein's Daughter, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, Blackenstein, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl...
CS: I never realized that Frankenstein was more popular than Bruce Lee for shoving their name into a title (becomes upset) that has NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM!
(Cut to a shot of the poster for Frankenstein 80, but with a censor block covering the woman's breasts)
CS (v/o): There's also Frankenstein 80. Now, you might think that the number is actually a reference to its original Italian title, where it's clearly a year marker, even though it was made in 1972, but frankly, with all these Frankenstein movies, I wouldn't be surprised if it is supposed to be the 79th sequel to Frankenstein!
(Cut to a shot of the poster for Dracula vs. Frankenstein)
CS (v/o): Does adding the word "Frankenstein" to your movie really get that much more business? There are a lot of underrated movies out there that could have used the bump!
(Two posters for two made-up movies are shown, with Cinema Snobkara describing them...)
CS (v/o): You know, like Dredd vs. Frankenstein, or Frankenstein Meets the Cinema Snob Movie.
CS: Now, you might think, as a cinema snob, that my favorite Frankenstein movie is the Universal classic starring Boris Karloff. (holds up index finger) But you forget: remakes are always inferior to the original. Therefore, my favorite of Frankenstein is the 16-minute 1910 film.
(Footage of this particular version of Frankenstein is shown)
CS (v/o): It also featured my favorite actor to play the role...
(Cut to a shot of the actor in question...)
CS (v/o): ...Donald Pleasance.
(Cut to the opening credits for not that Frankenstein movie, but another: Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster [sic])
CS (v/o): Unfortunately, I'm not reviewing a good Frankenstein movie. No, I've got Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster. Ho! Well, finally, the iconic creature, the Space Monster, gets to meet Frankenstein. Well, it's about damn time! (title is shown) Oh, excuse me, I believe that's Frankenstein's Daughter Meets the Space Monster?
(Cut to the title for Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, followed by footage of that movie)
CS (v/o): Now, you may be thinking that's only one reference to Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, but you'd be wrong; it's two references. Why? Because just like Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, the movie's name is a complete lie!
(Cut back to Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster)
CS (v/o): There isn't a Frankenstein in this movie! No Dr. Frankenstein, no monster made by him to be mistaken for Frankenstein, nobody is named "Frankenstein" in this movie!
CS: You want to meet the guy who's supposed to be Frankenstein? Hmm? Do ya? (holds up index finger) Well, be patient, my friends. (scowls) We have to meet the aliens first!
(The film opens on a spaceship full of Martians, led by Princess Marcuzan (played by Marilyn Hanold) and her right-hand man, Dr. Nadir (Lou Cutell))
Dr. Nadir: We continue to hear– (the film garbles and is spliced to a few seconds later) modulated hydrogen frequency signal of 21 centimeters, Princess.
CS (v/o): I never realized that the Elves colonized other worlds. The aliens decide to land on Earth.
(The aliens detect something on their radar)
Dr. Nadir: AH-HA!
(Cinema Snobkara jumps back with a startled yelp)
CS: Well, uh, AH-HA to you, too!
Dr. Nadir: They have launched a missile attack! It may be aimed at us!
(A missile is seen being fired into space)
CS (v/o): The bastards! They're launching stock footage at you! The missile is quickly dispatched, thanks to the efforts of our bald-capped Peter Lorre.
Dr. Nadir: And now, maximum energy!
(Cut to a clip of a woman on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000)
Woman: Maximum power!
(Cut back to Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster)
CS (v/o): Over to our (giggles) "heroes" for a second on their way to NASA.
(Several NASA people are seen squeezed in the back seat of a car)
CS (v/o): Hey, have you squeezed enough people back there? I especially love how the general there is sitting in that woman's lap. Come on, guys, save some room for Hitler's head.
General (David Kerman): (to one of the passengers, a woman) How are you doing, Miss Grant?
(She sits silently as the camera then cuts to some outdoor shots as the car drives along)
CS (v/o): Well, enough of that dialog; we don't want to overwork that poor actress. And of course, being a cheap science-fiction movie from the '60s, there's lots of padding of people driving. But unlike the relaxed Manos: The Hands of Fate score, we got a more swingin' soundtrack here.
(Music like something out of a James Bond movie plays here as the car drives along)
CS: But if you want to add a little flavor to your soundtrack, (holds up index finger) don't worry, a James Bond movie could break out at any second.
(The James Bond-sounding music continues a few more seconds as the car continues along)
CS (v/o): The group arrives at a press conference to announce a space flight for the next day, along with their new astronaut. Oh, and behold the NASA press corps, ladies and gentlemen: these four guys. (some people of the NATB watch, looking bored) I guess people really did grow bored with the space program after a while. Only these four guys are interested in the fact that this guy [Colonel Frank Saunders (Robert Reilly)] is going to Mars. And of course, during such an important briefing, the camera seizes up and freezes on this guy's face.
(Saunders' face is stuck in a smile as he sits frozen in place, while a gear is heard in the background)
Reporter: Colonel? Colonel?
CS (v/o): I'd make a joke about about him being a robot, except... well, he IS a robot!
CS: Yup, say hello to our Frankenstein. (scowls) A ROBOT! NAMED FRANK!
CS (v/o): They quickly usher him out of the room to hide the fact that he's got a bad motivator.
General: (to the press) Gentlemen, gentlemen, this press conference is concluded. Let's all clear the room now. Drinks at the office. (?) on me. (press leaves eagerly)
CS (v/o): (as reporter) Booze? Well, forget about the historic space flight; let's get plastered! (normal) The two scientists [Dr. Adam Steele and Karen Grant] examine (grudgingly) Frank!
(They remove part of his scalp, revealing that half of his brain is electronic)
CS (v/o): Well, why the hell do they need the fake half of a brain there? Are they worried someone's gonna scalp half of his head and want to make sure they fooled them?
CS: (as scientist) We needed to do it. What if Hannibal Lecter dropped by and wanted to eat his brain, but only found wires? He'd be really disappointed!
CS (v/o): Male Scientist Guy... (scoffs) What, you really think I'm gonna bother to learn his name? The movie is called Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, and they don't even have Frankenstein! Well, perhaps I'm complaining too soon. Tell us about Frank, Male Scientist Guy.
Dr. Steele: (to one of the generals) We have here, for all practical purposes, a normal human being created out of normal parts, transplanted, except for his synthetic skin and the... (hesitates slightly) electronic sensory control system, of course.
CS (v/o): So, yeah, a completely normal human, aside from his tendency to Red Ring of Death when he's trying to answer questions. Why not just send an actual person into space?
General: We have plenty of men, good men, who are willing to risk their lives in space exploration.
Dr. Steele: Exactly, risk their lives. Well, why risk one?
CS: Because it's not as cool an achievement if the first words on an alien planet are (makes "finger quotes") "beep boop"! Seriously, what the fu–
(Suddenly, he is interrupted by the theme for Hawaiian Heat playing in the background. 80s Dan himself (also played by Lewis, wearing marker ink to form a mustache and beard) appears)
80s Dan: Hey, Cinema Snob! (sound of canned cheering is heard as 80s Dan smiles at the camera)
CS: 80s Dan? What are you doing here?
80s Dan: Oh, I just stopped by to see if you had any batteries for Rob here. (holds up a R.O.B. the Robot wearing a bow tie)
R.O.B.: For the ninth time, I am not letting you put your filthy, cocaine-riddled hands anywhere near my ass!
80s Dan: Oh, R.O.B., you're so wacky!
R.O.B.: I mean it, Goddamn it! I'd sooner play a Sega Genesis than allow you to replace my batteries.
80s Dan: (waving dismissively) Oh, R.O.B., you don't mean that!
R.O.B.: (hearing the theme in the background) And where the fuck is that music coming from? Is that the theme to Hawaiian Heat?
80s Dan: (laughs) Oh, R.O.B., I don't know. I just know I smoked a lot of cocaine this morning, so I can't even hear it. (laughs, then waves goodbye to CS) Bye! (leaves, taking R.O.B. with him)
R.O.B.: And Dan, is it just me, or did you put on a lot of weight recently?
CS: Well, that was an intrusive cameo. Hope we don't get any more of those.
CS (v/o): They launch Frank up into space, but the aliens, thinking the rocket is headed towards them, shoot it and force Frank to crash in Puerto Rico. Fearing that Frank spotted them, the aliens land to pursue him. Oh, yeah, land! Make sure more people can spot you! And that's what happens: a hunter sees the giant EPCOT golf ball land, and they have to kill him with their Wham-O Air Blasters!
CS: (a thought comes to him) Wait a second! Martians... Wham-O Air Blasters... Are these aliens on a mission to kidnap Santa Claus?
CS (v/o): Well, crap, why didn't they call this Santa Claus Meets the Space Monster? Why not? It's just as accurate as the Frankenstein title! Speaking of, our android buddy runs into one of the Martians and manages to fight him off, but before half of his face is hideously scarred.
CS: And there you go! Two-Face Meets the Space Monster! Any other title would have been more accurate than Frankenstein!
CS (v/o): These scenes with the alien bridge are weird, too. They never look at each other when they're talking. It's like they're reading off cue cards next to the camera. Or they're actually Minnesotan aliens. The aliens decide to accelerate their plans after this guy [another alien], who has an even worse bald cap than Child Molester Von Giggily...
(Dr. Nadir laughs with delight at Frank's ship exploding after being shot)
CS (v/o): ...reports that they failed to find Frank. As punishment, the injured alien is fed to the space monster, Mull.
(Mull, the eponymous space monster, is actually seen now. It's a snarling monster that reaches out of the cage it's imprisoned in, trying to grab something)
CS (v/o): Ugh! So this is what you get if Chewbacca screwed a Klingon and an Andorian.
(Footage of the scarred Frank wandering around aimlessly is shown)
CS (v/o): A good chunk of this movie is padding, of course. If it isn't scenes of people driving or military stock footage, it's scenes of Frank stumbling around the desert and occasionally menacing people... and then just giving up because a woman screaming annoys him enough to drive him off.
(Princess Marcuzan and Dr. Nadir are shown again)
CS (v/o): The alien princess and the head Elf... er, Dr. Nadir, explain to the rest of the aliens what's going on back on their home world.
Dr. Nadir: The lucky ones are dead. Of the others, some will go mad. The others will slowly rot away and die in gradual agony.
CS: Agh! Glenn Beck's new show is weird.
Marcuzan: We have won the war. But we have no women.
CS (v/o): Oh, God dammit! Now this thing is Mars Needs Moms?!
CS: Actually, I shouldn't speak too soon. There is another direction this movie could take.
(Footage of a woman in a bikini on a beach is shown, while Julie Brown's "'Cause I'm a Blonde" plays in the background)
Brown: (singing) 'Cause I'm a blonde, yeah, yeah, yeah! 'Cause I'm a blonde, yeah, yeah, yeah!
(Back to the movie, showing Frank again)
CS (v/o): Now, originally, I wrote in the script that the word "Frankenstein" is never spoken, but in fact, it is said once, all of once, by the scientists when they wonder what could happen to Frank if he crashed and was damaged.
Dr. Steele: If he had any bad experiences, he might react violently, out of his built-in self-preservation unit. Anything could happen.
Dr. Karen Grant (Nancy Marshall): What you're saying is that he could turn into a... Frankenstein?
CS: I don't know, if Frank turned into Peter Cushing, this could suddenly get good.
CS (v/o): The scientists travel to Puerto Rico in search of Frank. They should be happy! At least Frank landed in Progress Island, USA.
(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching Progress Island U.S.A.)
Mike and the Bots: Puerto Rico!
(Back to Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster again. The aliens land and zap a man, then spirit away an Earth woman)
CS (v/o): Oh, good, we can add more scenes to the padding: aliens abducting women!
(Meanwhile, the scientists arrive in Puerto Rico)
CS (v/o): Female Scientist Lady especially wants to get Frank back.
Dr. Grant: (to Dr. Steele) Frank has become so real to me, I can't bear the thought of his being hurt.
CS: I think we all know what she's really saying...
(Cut to a clip of Young Frankenstein)
Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman): He vas... MY BOYFRIEND!
CS: At the very least, considering she was one of the first people who assembled Frank, we can assume that he did have an enormous schwanzstucker.
(Meanwhile, in that other, less exciting Frankenstein movie, the scientists drive around Puerto Rico on a moped, while various onlookers stare at them)
CS (v/o): You know, I get the feeling they didn't actually secure any filming permits, since all the people in the background stare at the camera whenever it passes them by. Oh, and yes, the scientists spend a good two minutes on their moped while lite Beach Boys tunes play, because that's what we needed in our monster movie: light romantic music!
(Outside of town, Dr. Steele accidentally drives the moped into a mud puddle, getting them stuck)
CS (v/o): Then again, I guess we did need a moped driving scene where this idiot gets them stuck in a puddle.
(Dr. Steele holds up a scanner, which makes wild beeping sounds)
Dr. Steele: This way. (he and Dr. Grant walk off)
CS (v/o): (as Dr. Steele) And watch out for snakes.
CS: There is so much padding in this movie that I just don't give a fu–
(Suddenly, he is interrupted by his cell phone going off in his coat pocket. He answers it)
(Cut to the one who answered the phone: also played by Lewis, it's an evil-looking man who cackles evilly)
Man: (his mouth movements not matching what he says) Well, if it isn't my old nemesis, the Cinema Snob! It is I, Bruce! (holds up fist)
CS: I don't know who the hell you are! Wait a second, you sound dubbed. Kung Tai Ted, is that you?
Bruce: You will give me back the Avian Ninja Warrior, or I'll kill your cat, who I have (holds up a Beanie Baby cat) held hostage here!
CS: My cat is just fine! I'm looking at it right now! Goodbye! (hangs up and puts phone back in coat pocket) I, uh... I lost my train of thought.
(The scientists find Frank, whose body is pretty much burned up now)
CS (v/o): The scientists locate Frank and examine him.
Dr. Grant: It's horrible, Adam!
Dr. Steele: Looks worse than it is. Remember, he's a robot, not a man, Karen.
CS (v/o): (as Dr. Steele) What I'm trying to say is that he is an android, but me? I AM A MAN! ...Why the hell did I just say that?!
(Suddenly, static appears on the screen, as Linkara is seen again, looking at his $20 lamp from Target)
Linkara: ...and I think my favorite of the lampshades (looks at a green shade) is this green one right here, and the reason for that is... (suddenly looks around) What? Oh, we'll be right back. So anyway, I was talking about this green light...
(The screen goes black as we go to commercial. Upon return, Linkara is seen again with his lamp)
Linkara: Welcome back, and as such, (holds up beige-colored lampshade) it's finally time to discuss this beige shade right here.
(Suddenly, the screen is cut off by static, and Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster comes back on, with Cinema Snobkara still reviewing)
CS (v/o): Male Scientist Guy sends Female Scientist Lady back to get some help while he stays around to try to repair Frank. The aliens attack a pool party and abduct all the women. Not that it would have made much of a difference; Freddy Kreuger was gonna take control of Jessie Walsh and kill all these people in a few minutes anyway. Unfortunately for Female Scientist Lady, the aliens abduct her before she can escape on the moped.
CS: Considering the aliens want to breed with all the women, I suddenly have a fear that this is gonna turn into a rape revenge flick!
(On board the alien spaceship, Princess Marcuzan and Dr. Nadir go into a room to watch as the aliens bring an Earth woman on board)
Dr. Nadir: Let us go and observe the... (chuckles a sinister chuckle) purification.
CS: (chuckles sarcastically) You get creepier with every sentence, Keebler.
(The woman is covered over with a cloth)
CS (v/o): And how do they prepare women for breeding? Why, they get to have a towel put on them before they're put in the oven, to soak up all the juices, you know. I especially love when we cut back to the Princess and the Amazing Larry. They look absolutely baffled as to what the hell is going on.
(Dr. Karen Grant is brought before the aliens with the scanner she and Dr. Steele had on them)
CS (v/o): When the aliens find a device on the female scientist lady, they demand she explain what the purpose of it is, but the actress decides to clamp up and let this guy [Dr. Nadir] make more faces like he wants to feel her up! Why doesn't she just tell the Martians the truth? Spock's brain was taken, and they need that to control his mindless body.
(The Army General is somehow aware of the alien invasion and the Army is called up to land on Puerto Rico)
CS (v/o): Because of the impending alien threat that they somehow about, the Army calls in its best stock footage to patrol Puerto Rico.
(Meanwhile, Dr. Steele and Frank emerge, with Dr. Steele escorting Frank along)
CS (v/o): Male Scientist Guy leads Frank out while his dubbing explains what's happening.
Dr. Steele: Now, don't look back, Frank. We're safe. I wonder where Karen is now.
CS: (massaging his forehead in frustration) Look, it doesn't matter if your padding has talking or not; it's still gonna be boring! Don't waste your time with useless dialogue!
(Dr. Steele and Frank approach the alien ship, which is causing Frank to beep like crazy. He clutches at the side of his head in pain as this happens)
Dr. Steele: (whispering) Quiet! Quiet! Quiet, Frank, quiet. Quiet, Frank, quiet! They'll hear you!
CS: (annoyed) He didn't say anything, asshole! You're making more noise than him!
Dr. Steele: Now, Frank, the men who attacked you were from outer space. That's the spaceship they came here in.
CS (v/o): WHAT?! How in the hell do you know that?! Well, since he's already demonstrated he can just discern whatever is going on in the plot, he leaves Frank behind and gets on his moped to call for help.
Dr. Steele: (to a local in a small builder) Hey, you got a telephone?
Local: Si. (takes out a bottle)
Dr. Steele: No! No, no, no, a telephone. Telephone! (pretends to hold up a phone and makes dialing motions) Hello? Hello? A telephone! Telephone! ¡El telefono!
(Finally understanding, the man takes out a telephone for Dr. Steele)
CS: "El telefono" is Spanish for "telephone".
CS (v/o): While the stock footage is mobilized to attack the giant golf ball, Frank is captured by the aliens and just set down somewhere. Isn't that always the way? You spend all that money on an android and you have it sit in the closet somewhere instead of ever using it! The attack is launched, but there's no effect on the spaceship. It's up to Female Scientist Lady to wake Frank up and have him save the day.
(Frank walks out onto the bridge, surprising one of the aliens on guard, as well as Princess Marcuzan and Dr. Nadir. The alien tries to attack Frank, but Frank knocks the alien down and takes his gun. Frank holds this aliens at gunpoint, forcing them to open a prison cell, where all the women they had captured are held, freeing them)
CS (v/o): You know, when you make the aliens from Plan 9 look dignified, rethink your movie!
(The Army, in their tanks advance on the spaceship, and the camera shakes as the tanks run over the rough road)
CS (v/o): Gah! Even in 1965, they had shaky cam nonsense!
(Frank then tries to free Dr. Grant, but the alien guard he had threatened discreetly pulls a lever, opening the cell containing the titular space monster that then attacks Frank while Dr. Grant flees)
CS (v/o): When Frank tries to free Female Scientist Lady, the aliens unleash the space monster, and hey, the two finally meet! He's still not Frankenstein, but I guess this is the closest approximation we'll get. I also understand why this is Frankenstein Versus the Space Monster, since this is not exactly an epic duel. More like an epic I-can't-see-what-the-hell-is-going-on!
(Desperate, Marcuzan and Dr. Nadir try to take off, but Frank shoots the ship's controls, blowing up the ship (via more stock footage))
CS (v/o): The alien ship takes off, but Frank, in a last-ditch effort, attacks the film's editor, which somehow causes the ship to explode...
(The end credits start rolling)
CS (v/o): ...and the credits to start rolling.
CS: That was the last ten minutes of the movie, by the way, not counting the two minutes of credits, where they just ride around on a moped, just in case you thought the pace of the movie had picked up.
CS (v/o): The film was apparently as a horror comedy, but the producers kept pushing the writers to do more horror. The end result was... (scoffs) Yeah, I have a lot of words for this film, but "horror" is not one of them. More surprising is the film's writing team: John Rodenbeck, poet and fellow critic R. H. W. Dillard, and the late Virginia poet laureate George Garrett. The DVD, released by Dark Sky Films, includes a booklet featuring quotes about the film as well as George Garrett's story about the creation of the movie. According to IMDB, this was the only directing credit for Robert Gaffney, who was also apparently an uncredited director of photography on 2001: A Space Odyssey. If it's a pseudonym, I couldn't find a real name for him, but Wikipedia's link is apparently convinced that the same Robert Gaffney who directed this film...
(Cut to a shot of Wikipedia's article on Gaffney)
CS (v/o): ...is also a New York politician!
CS: I certainly hope that they're the same person. Clearly, someone who made a film like Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster is someone who I want to have making decisions that affect millions of people. (smiles sarcastically)
Marcuzan: I understand that this is a good specimen idea. I hope so.
(End credits roll)
(Stinger: Cinema Snobkara is seen wearing a fake, detachable mustache and beard while holding a DVD of Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster)
CS: You know, at this point, should we just officially declare "Frankenstein-sploitation" a thing? (suddenly, he takes off the beard and mustache) It's not working. Yeah, I spent sixteen bucks on this damn thing. Screw it, I'm drawing it in pen. (takes off glasses and gets up)