Movie Review: Tales of Frankenstein (2018)

September 4, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

One of the more popular genres in our beloved horror biz these days is the arcane anthology, and while most of these are tied together by a basic, generic theme, it’s rare to see one with a laser sharp focus on one sinister subject. Well, to rectify that comes writer/director Donald F. Glut’s Tales of Frankenstein which focuses exclusively on Dracula… I’m just fuckin’ with ya, of course everyone’s fearsome fav pile of rando parts and stitches is the hot topic… in one form or another…

Story Numero One-o, My Creation, My Beloved is set in the late 1800’s  and focuses on a  physically deformed relative of ol’  Victor F. who sets out to create the perfect man and woman. He kinda/sorta succeeds as the man is an Adonis type and the woman is gorgeous… well, except for the bolts in their foreheads, the angry stitch-work, and the dead flesh covering their beastly bones.

This is a fun lil’ yarn, well told, but with the budget constraints that result in a bit of fudgery as far as costuming is concerned… but fuck it; I dug it, the effects and gore were practical and fun, and it’s a strong start to the proceedings.

Next we move to the early 1900’s for Crawler from the Grave in which a descendant of Frankenstein’s disease-ridden, severed arm rises from the grave to seek sweet, sweet revenge!

Holy hell; this was one great segment! I could easily see this story fitting right in to the Hammer Film’s Frankenstein oeuvre… or an Amicus rival picture. The costumes, effects, lighting, and especially the narrative just fire on all cylinders and produce a rock solid terror tale for us horror hounds!

The clock ticks ahead to 1940’s Los Angeles for the next tale; Madhouse of Death which concerns the misadventures of a private detective who finds himself in your classic ‘old dark house’. Unfortunately for our hero, said house is filled with raving lunatics… and a gruesome gorilla… and you just know what family is responsible for all of this craziness!

Reminiscent of the poverty-row fright flick offerings from Universal long after the guild had faded from the lily, this is a wonderful pastiche of film noir tropes and horror comic book iconography that is only missing the Bowery Boys and a down-on-his-luck Lugosi… and if you are keeping track at home, this is my second favorite adventure of those presented.

Finally we arrive at 1950’s Transylvania for Dr. Karnstein’s Creation, a sinister story that features the exploits of a mad scientist who creates a monster in a land lousy with vampires.

While the other segments have a firm grasp on the Universal and Hammer styles, this one enters straight up A.I.P. or Corman territory with a rough and tumble youth tossed headlong into the supernatural.

Tales of Frankenstein is like the creation of a horror kid that stayed up late watching creature features on regional TV, slept an hour, then grabbed his parents Super 8 camera and a gaggle of like-minded friends and tried to emulate what they saw while half-asleep on the cathode ray the night before with what ever resources they had at their disposal… and that is a truly beautiful thing!



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