Epic Battle Falters in "Frankenstein vs. The Mummy"

I love the classic Universal and Hammer horror and monster films. The Universal pictures of the 1930s and 1940s capture my fancy because of their black-and-white shadowing, atmosphere, and theatrical acting. The Hammer movies feed my appetite for Technicolor gore, gothic settings, and even more dramatic turns from two of my favorite genre actors – Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Writer / Director Damien Leone’s “Frankenstein vs. The Mummy” puts a modern spin on and combines both the tales of Mary Shelley and the story for Boris Karloff’s 1932 original conceived by Nina Wilcox Putnam and Richard Schayer.

In "Frankenstein vs. The Mummy," Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Max Rhyser) and Egyptologist Naihla Khalil (Ashton Leigh) are both professors at a leading medical university. Victor’s latest grisly “experiment” is the re-animated corpse (Constantin Tripes) of a sadistic madman and Naihla’s most recent find is the cursed mummy (Brandon deSpain) of an evil pharaoh. When the two monsters face-off in an epic showdown, no one is safe from the slaughter. Can the murderous rampage be stopped and the carnage contained before it’s too late?

Writer / Director Damien Leone does his best at paying tribute to the classic monster mashups of Universal’s heydays of horror. We got to see Frankenstein’s monster go up against the Wolf-Man and team up with Dracula on a few occasions. For anyone who grew up watching these movies, it only makes sense that you’d want to see “Frankenstein vs. The Mummy.” Who in their right mind wouldn’t? Unfortunately, Leone’s ingenious way of marrying the two tales together ends up leading to a rather lackluster battle between the two iconic creatures that will leave audiences feeling unfulfilled.

“Frankenstein vs. The Mummy” is not rated, but if it were would probably be a hard R or NC-17 because of the amount of graphic gore. It also includes adult situations and sensuality, violence, profanity, smoking, and frightening and intense scenes. The sensuality and adult situations revolve around an unnecessary sex scene that adds nothing to the story and a couple of attempted rape scenes with the monster assaulting Naihlia.

The movie is only available on DVD and comes with one special feature. Audio commentary is provided by Writer / Director Damien Leone and Cinematographer George Steuber. I’m a little surprised someone didn’t document the making of the movie considering it is so heavy in the makeup and practical effects departments. It would’ve been cool to see behind-the-scenes of the gruesome butcherings and makeup applications.

“Frankenstein vs. The Mummy” is an admirable attempt at capturing the glory days of the Universal and Hammer monster movies. Weak acting and lulls in action work against the film as a whole. I do have to give credit to Writer / Director Damien Leone for trying to build up the story and character motivations, but here it only serves to slow down and put off what everyone watches the movie for in the first place. We want to see the big showdown between Frankenstein’s Monster and the Mummy, which is way too short when it finally arrives. In the movie’s defense, there are some great gory practical effects and a few bloodcurdling scenes that made me cringe.

“Frankenstein vs. The Mummy” is available now on DVD and as a Digital Download.