I know I keep harping on this, but I wish I'd been a misunderstood teenager in the fifties. I think it's something I was born to be... only my Karmic clock wasn't set right, so I was born in the sixties, when the whole country was one big misunderstood teenager. Maybe I was, in a previous life, some hot-rodding teen whose arm twitched at the wrong moment, and wound up in the great drag-race in the sky, getting the checkered flag from Saint Peter as my soul went crashing through the Heavenly windshield.
I saw this 1950's Driver's Ed movie once about the dangers of hot-rodding. It showed real footage of some kid getting scraped out of a pile of burning metal that had been his set of wheels. I'm telling ya, the guy LOOKED JUST LIKE ME... and I had this weird feeling that I had seen it all before... that my best girl, Betty Lou, was standing nearby, crying her eyes out and holding my class ring to her face, bathing it with the brine that ran down her kissable, if rather pipmply, cheek. All this brings me to our video pick: I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN, produced in 1957. It's a stupid movie, about mad scientist Whit Bissel stitching together a monster from adolescent spare parts taken from hot rod wrecks. Bissel even has a cellar full of alligators, to which he feeds labratory leftovers and troublesome secondary characters.
There are a few good moments. When the monster twists off a handsome jock's head so he can have it for his own, he carries it back to the lab in a birdcage! That's sick, man!! Little moments like that make cinema such a viable art form. But despite this, I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN is still a stupid movie, and despite its being a stupid movie, I loved every minute of it. It's the troubled 1950s teenager in me. I'm a complete sucker for this stuff.
Oh, well. Maybe it's for the best I am who I am, living in a world with home video technology so I can see cool movies like this whenever I want. And maybe it's for the best I'm not a long dead hot-rodder, but the humble, hot-rod impaired Punk Rocker you see before you now. On our Headbanger Scale of 1-4, I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN gets four big head bangs.
Copyright 1996 Mike Marano
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