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Screening tonight are the Italian-made Lady Frankenstein (1971) and the American-made Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958). The first depicts the unhealthy romance between Frankenstein’s daughter and servant—some might be curious to know that it features the great (well, probably not in this movie) Joseph Cotten as the elder Frankenstein. According to IMDB, the second isn’t actually about Frankenstein’s daughter, but rather his “insane grandson attempt[ing] to create horrible monsters in modern day L.A.” (IMDB also informs that “director Richard Cunha recently recalled that, upon seeing the makeup for the title creature just before filming, he was so disappointed he left the set and broke down in tears.”)
The premises of both films suggest weird and personal re-workings of a popular myth. Of course, this sort of thing goes on regularly—and hermetically—in the netherworld of fan fiction, but it seems almost agreeable within the safer confines of poverty row. These films were made with the goal of reaching a larger audience, and it’s always interesting to see no-rent filmmaker try to reconcile his vision with what he thinks a mainstream viewer wants to see.
The program begins tonight at 9:00 at the Wicker Park Arts Center. Admission for both films is $5. Phillips hopes to have another Shock Theater event some time in 2012.