Tales of Frankenstein is based on four short stories written by horror fan, comic book writer and film-maker, Donald F. Glut. This anthology re-imagines (or perhaps continues) the Frankenstein lore created by 19 year old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in 1818. While the production may have lacked the funds to completely pull off writer/director Glut's vision, it was a fun ride and a peek into "what might have been."
The first story in this film is titled, "My Creation, My Beloved." Dr. Gregore Frankenstein (Buddy Daniels Friedman), a man that resembles Igor more than a descendant of Victor Frankenstein tries to use the studies of his ancestor to bring Helga, his long lost love, back to life. Using "mad science" Dr. Frankenstein inserts Helga's brain into a new body (Lillian Lev). As in most cases, playing God typically does not work in man's favor and doesn't end well.
The next story, "Crawler from the Grave" follows jewel collector Vincent (John Blythe Barrymore, of the famous Barrymore clan) Vincent tries to acquire a ring owned by one of Victor Frankenstein's descendants, Helmut Frankenstein (comic book writer, Len Wein). Eventually, Helmut becomes worm food. Which in return, gives Vincent the overpowering need to possess the ring Helmut once treasured. An overpowering need that will convince Vincent that the ring is worth robbing Helmut's grave for. In textbook fashion, and a conclusion that only happens in the movies, the greedy will get "what for."
The third story is titled, "Madhouse of Death" and is part Universal Monsters from the 1940's and part Gumshoe Detective of the 1950s. Private Investigator Jack Anvil (Jamisin Matthews) is involved in an investigation that brings him to the house of Dr. Mortality (Mel Novak). Not long after Anvil meets Dr. Mortality, he realizes he needs to get out of this sticky situation. And fast. However, Jack Anvil just was not fast enough. Whilst trying to investigate the house, he himself becomes apart of the investigation. But if the calvary ever comes, they will find Jack, just not as they remember him...
The final story, "Dr. Karnstein's Creation" is perhaps the most ambitious of the stories. Dr. Karnstein (Jim Tavare) convinces the town womanizer, Carl (Justin Hoffmeister) to help him continue Dr. Frankenstein's work. What starts off as just your average light-hearted grave robbing excursion turns sour when Carl finds out Karnstein wants him for much more than digging up the dead.
From the bar-maids to the visual effects department and the set design, all of the cast and crew should be recognized for their exceptional work on this piece. Upon first watch, I was left thinking the production value left a lot to be desired. Upon second watch, I'd like to think some of the "cheese factor," if you will, was intentional. My hope is that it was intentional. If so, the film truly embodies the structure of the Universal Monster flicks from the 30's and 40's making it a fun experience for fans of the genre.