Frankenstein Conquers the World ~ 1966, Ishiro Honda, Japan
Awesome. This is maybe my favorite kaiju film ever, but knowing that it exists is actually a lot more fun that watching it, and takes less time. Anyway… It’s a simple story- Nazis find the still beating heart of Frankenstein’s monster, Nazis give heart to the Japanese for safe-keeping, Japanese take heart to Japan, Americans drop atomic bomb on Frankenstein’s heart, small Japanese boy eats the now atomic Frankenstein heart (because who wouldn’t?), boy grows into a gigantic Frankenstein’s monster, gigantic Frankenstein’s monster wrestles floppy eared turtle dragon, everyone lives happily ever after. So, it’s fairly boiler plate, all things considered.
Frankenstein Conquers The World (In which Frankenstein most certainly does not conquer the world) is a treasure from a bygone era where if it wasn’t several stories tall, the Japanese just flat out didn’t wanna hear about it. “Frankenstein’s monster? Sounds good, tell me more. Wait- he’s NOT several stories tall!? Well, that’s you’re problem. Fix that and we’ll talk.” Around this same time, however, the Germans were renaming Godzilla (And various other Toho film monsters) “Frankenstein” and re-dubbing the movies for German release to contain explanations that Dr. Frankenstein was actually responsible for the appearance of the film’s giant monsters, so it appears that those two nations have a mutual need to project onto each others monster related film output. Understandable.
Frankenstein is not alone in Frankenstein Conquers the World, however. Baragon, an old Toho standby, turns up, eager to get Franken-Stomped ruthlessly for about 90 minutes.
Behold- terror incarnate!
This same monster would also later turn up in other films to get slapped around by both Godzilla, and at one point, Ultraman, which kinda makes him the Homie-Hopper of the Kaiju world. I like to think of him more as the puppy dog of Godzilla’s extended family, however, because for a rampaging behemoth gone berserk, this thing is damn adorable, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love watching his rhino horn, spiky back, and giant floppy, puppy dog ears wiggle about as he is relentlessly clobbered by a skyscraper sized Frankenstein over and over. This is probably a good time to remind readers that this is an actual movie, that was actually made. Presumably by adults.
If we’re being serious, though, Frankenstein Conquers The World has it’s problems. Like many of the old Toho and related Kaiju films, the film is a little slow, and considering the ideal viewing audience for a movie like this is an unfocused gaggle of five year old boys, it would benefit from less talking and more furious monster combat. Today’s monster fans lack the attention span for lengthy exposition scenes shot in outdated 1960’s laboratories, regardless of their age. This isn’t enough to ruin the movie, though, and I recommend it highly for it’s sheer audacity, as well as for it’s no-holds-barred kaiju fisticuffs.