Thursday, September 25, 2014

#8 Frankenstein: The True Story

In the 70's certain, sometimes partially episodic Made-for-TV movies became can't-miss family events. Roots, Dead Man's Curve, Sybil etc. were among these. The horror classics were well represented amongst these mostly-made to-sell-ads experiences. Kolchak/Night Stalker came from this territory. Jack Palance did a stint as Count Dracula etc.
And then there was Frankenstein: The True Story, a 185 minute formal attempt at retelling Shelley's novel - starring hunky, Mick Jagger-esque, Canadian Michael Sarrazin as the monster and a young Jane Seymour (ages prior to her turning a lame doodle into a mass produced gold charm) and James Mason a few years before Salem's Lot..

 I recall settling in - in front of the TV to catch the first third of each installment (I of course fell asleep missing most of the original airings) As a young whippersnapper  I would not have differentiated this production from a Hammer film (filmed at Pinewood) and to be honest it wouldn't be hard to envision Peter Cushing and his funky electro paddle-fans pop in for a spot of afternoon tea.

The movie is long and sometimes boring, but the great de-volving monster aspect really fascinated me (I'd later figure out Hammer had already kinda covered this territory in a film that will be much higher up the list). Sarrazin transforming into an old drippy potato is a visual I wouldn't soon forget. You have floppy, sawed-off arms, heads floating in jars, people freezing to death - and then of course there is the whole "people getting flipped into a large acid vat" aspect (again already done by Hammer). This movie taught me that Frankenstein didn't just have to be Karloff with a squared head, he was for the most part a tragic victim of another man's ego.

This title "The True Story" definitely left me with the impression that all of this really happened - and that the monster was a guy who actually lived someplace where people had British accents and kept huge acid vats in their garages. In fact when I grow up I'm getting one installed in my back yard.
And you're invited to go for the first swim, fucker.


  1. I remember this. Sssssssssooooooooooooooo long. A good editor could cut it down to a single-evening presentation, though.

    1. From what I can tell they did just that for later released versions. Probably rounds things out much better..