The mummy of a cursed pharaoh and a reanimated corpse terrorize a medical university. Only an Egyptologist and a college professor, the deranged Dr. Frankenstein, may be able to stop the creatures before it’s too late.
Over the decades, there have been a few films that tried to punch up tired horror franchises by pitting their villains up against each other. Films like Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman (1943) and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) are two early examples. In the 60’s we got King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) & the 70’s brought us Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971). Flash forward to the 2000’s and we got stuff like Freddy vs. Jason (2003), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) & its sequel Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007). In 2011, we got a mash up of a few different monsters (in a wrestling ring!) in Monster Brawl (2011). But these films are too few & far between for my liking, I’d like to see a couple of known commodities in the horror world get together to bump heads every year or so. Imagine my joy & surprise when I received an envelope in the mail with Frankenstein vs. The Mummy in it! Writer/Director Damien Leone must have the same longings for some monster mayhem that I have.
Or does he?
Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Max Rhyser) is a young professor (he likes to be referred to as “Professor F”), teaching the nature of medicine to hungry young minds at a unnamed college in New York. But in the evenings, he’s performing unspeakable experiments in rejuvenation in a filthy, decrepit room located somewhere underneath the school. His colleague (& love interest) Dr. Naihla Khalil (Ashton Leigh) is a professor at the same college, and she’s just returned from a trip to Egypt with a honest to goodness mummy in her possession. The mummy’s name is Userkara (Brandon DeSpain) and he’s over 3000 years old. He’s also labelled as “dangerous” because, along with his corpse, a scroll was found which stated that his soul is still trapped inside his mummified shell – cursed for all eternity. Making matters worse, the scroll states that anyone who tries to release his soul is doomed to suffer an agonizing death. Luckily, the part of the scroll that tells exactly how to yank that cursed soul out of him wasn’t found.
Frankenstein has an assistant, an Igor of sorts named Issac (Robert McNaughton of E.T. fame!), who goes out hunting fresh corpses for him to use in his experiments. But Issac is something of a conniving sleazebag that has plans to extort more money from the good doctor. And upon the delivery of a fresh human brain (cut from the head of a homeless man), Issac makes his move – threatening to squeal on Frankenstein and his macabre experiments if he doesn’t receive $30,000 in cash. Of course, Frankenstein has issues with that, and after a short struggle, murders Issac. In the struggle, the fresh brain that Issac delivered was destroyed, but the doc realizes that he’s got Issac’s brain now! So his experiment can continue with no fear of interference whatsoever.
In the meanwhile, Dr. Khalil has a superior named Professor Walton (Boomer Tibbs), who uncovers a medallion embedded in the mummy’s chest. Upon prying it loose, he’s hit in the face with a flood of gas (apparently they didn’t have Beano in ancient Egypt), and it puts him under a spell. When another assistant comes by with some food for him, he slices his throat and allows it to spew all over Userkara’s face and his heart suddenly begins to beat! While all this is going on, Dr’s Frankenstein & Khalil are out on a date, and he tells her the story of how his mother died when he was a small boy, and rather than call anyone he stayed with her for three days, holding her hand. But rather than land him in the looney bin, somehow this bit of weirdness led him to a career in science.
There’s a lot I didn’t mention here: Userkara has no bippy (it was sliced off along with his ears), and he spends a lot of time with his mouth wide open – as if he’s looking for a French kiss. Don’t get me wrong, he kills a few people here, but I figure he has every right to be upset since someone went and sliced off his tally whacker 3000 years ago. As a matter of fact, I just figured he’d be looking for a new one when he woke up. But later in the film, he actually rips the blood noodle off of one of the main characters (I won’t say which one), and then promptly squishes it in his hand! WTF Userkara? You could’ve used a new dingle…
Additionally, the “lab” in which Frankenstein is creating his creature (Constantin Tripes), is the filthiest, rustiest lab ever. It’s so dirty that I’m guessing that the first thing he should’ve done once the creature came to life is give him a tetanus shot. The much vaunted mummy is kept on a gurney in the middle of a non descript room, with no security watching over his 3000 year old ass. Actually, people just seem to come & go out of the room as they please. I’m almost positive that isn’t the proper protocol for dealing with centuries old mummies – but what do I know?
Eventually, Frankenstein loads Issac’s brain into his subject, and after what might be the worse display of electrical power in a film ever – his creature moves! And old Userkara is telling Walton what to do now (He sees a pic of Dr. Khalil and immediately wants her). And after a bit of nonsense involving Walton and a student named Lenora (Stefanie Merola), meeting up in the evening to “discuss an internship” – the titular creatures meet to fulfill what the title of all this nonsense promised! A climactic battle between Frankenstein’s monster and The Mummy! And it’s over in about 4 minutes!! The very best part of their meeting is the monster’s reaction to the Mummy, he looks at him and says “What The Fuck?” (did I mention that since he used Issac’s brain in his creature, he’s basically a bigger, badder Issac?).
I’m making fun of this, and rightly so because it’s pretty bad, but director Leone wasn’t shooting for high art here. And it’s patently obvious that he didn’t have much money to make it either. But there’s a lot of stupid fun to be had while watching Frankenstein vs. The Mummy, and when looked at in that light – it’s not too bad. The cinematography (by George Steuber) is pretty nifty, making a grade D movie look like a grade B one instead. The monster makeup’s are also nice to look at, actually Userkara looks freaking outstanding! It’s a wonderfully realized creation by director Damian Leone. The Frankenstein monster’s look is interesting, but a bit off beat. He sorta looks like a zombie/goth/Glenn Danzig combo (with a full length leather coat on!). And while the climactic battle is sorta cool, it comes when there’s only about 15 minutes left in the film and only lasts a few minutes. It’s terribly disappointing when you go and call your movie Frankenstein vs. The Mummy and then literally wait till the end of the film to have them meet. By the way, there is a definite winner, but I’m not gonna say who. It’s also way too long for this sort of stuff, coming in at just under two hours. You mean to tell me you made a nearly two hour film called Frankenstein vs. The Mummy, and only alotted 3-4 minutes for them to tussle? I think that’s a crime in some European countries.
But you know what, I was generally entertained by all of this low rent nonsense, despite the lack of much monster versus monster mayhem. The performances are earnest enough and everyone seems to understand exactly what they’re making – there’s no delusions of grandeur to be found here. And while the big fight ain’t all that big, the rest of the movie managed to hold my attention. So while I can safely say that I kinda liked this flick, I’m not gonna go out on a limb and actually recommend it to you. If you’re the type of person who digs this sort of thing (as I am), then you’ll probably dig this. But if you’re not…
Frankenstein vs. The Mummy – 2.5 out of 5 shrouds.