Take 3: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter Review

My quest to find my “so bad it’s good” movie has, at this point, turned into a saga. During my time participating in the So Bad It’s Good Blogathon from Taking Up Room, I have selected a film I thought would earn the coveted title, only to have that film fall short of my expectations. But I haven’t given up, as I still believe my “so bad it’s good” film is out there somewhere. When I reviewed Sea Change, I said the movie sounded so “bonkers”, I had to check it out for myself. I had a similar experience when I discovered the 1966 film, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter. Based on that title alone, the movie sounded “bonkers”, a well-known criminal from the “wild, wild west” crossing paths with someone from the story of Frankenstein. I hadn’t seen a film where the western and horror genres combined, so I curious to see how this story would turn out. I was also curious to see if Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter would finally be my “so bad it’s good” movie.

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter poster created by Circle Productions, Embassy Pictures, and Embassy Home Entertainment

Things I liked about the film:

Maria’s house: Within this movie’s dialogue, Maria explains how her house formerly belonged to a missionary. Though the space is more reflective of Maria’s taste in design, I was impressed with the set! Despite only three rooms being shown on screen, my favorite room was the sitting room! The walls and massive fireplace were covered in a light-colored sandstone. A large medallion with carved images sits over the fireplace, boasting a darker metal hue. Red armchairs and curtains nicely complimented the sandstone. These details added elements of elegance and European flair to the desert!

The inclusion of science: In stories from the western genre, science isn’t often found in the script. In fact, the only times I’ve seen science included in western stories are during school lessons or whenever a medical situation takes place. Maria is a scientist from Austria, who just so happens to be related to the same Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s novel. She is driven to make her experiment work, using an artificial brain that was passed down through her family. Despite the film’s science being poorly written, I appreciate this story adopting a more unique identity. I also appreciate the creativity this movie’s creative team attempted.

The Fifth So Bad It’s Good Blogathon banner created by Rebecca from Taking Up Room

What I didn’t like about the film:

Poorly written science: As I previously stated in this review, the science in Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter is poorly written. It honestly made the characters sound like they didn’t know what they were talking about. While performing one of her experiments, Maria explains to her brother why they moved to the United States. She says there are more “electrical storms” in the United States than there are in Austria. What Maria failed to remember is how thunderstorms can take place anywhere, as clouds can congregate to create the effects of a typical storm, such as lightening. This made Maria’s trip seem kind of pointless.

A misleading title: I mentioned in this review’s introduction how the title of Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter sparked my curiosity, as it made the movie sound “bonkers”. Personally, I thought the film would feature Jesse James in his younger years interacting with the daughter of Frankenstein’s monster. However, the title turned out to be a lie. Maria is Victor Frankenstein’s granddaughter. When Jesse meets Maria, forty minutes into the movie, nothing happens after their initial meeting. They don’t fall in love or form some sort of alliance. If given an honest title, this film would be called “Jesse James Meets Juanita”.

Delayed reactions: Though not a common flaw, there were a few times where actors presented delayed reactions. When Juanita’s family first meets Jesse and his friend, Hank, both men are running from the law. Hank has a very noticeable injury, which is getting worse by the minute. But it takes Juanita about five to ten seconds to acknowledge Hank’s injury. I’m not faulting the actors, as they tried their best with the material given. I will fault the screenwriting, as there could have been a stronger sense of urgency written into the script.

Lack of horror: In this review’s introduction, I said I was curious to see a movie combine the western and horror genres. But when I watched the film, the western genre was emphasized. To me, it felt like the movie’s creative team wanted to take their western story seriously, instead of finding a balance between the horror and western genres. When the horror elements were utilized, it seemed like they were used to tell a rehashed version of Mary Shelley’s story. Even though I appreciate the creativity attempted, I wish the delivery was stronger.

Small, western town image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

For five years, I have been searching for my “so bad it’s good” movie. Throughout this search, I have found films that were either ok or disappointing. With Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, there were a few times I found myself giggling. But I wouldn’t say this movie is “so bad it’s good”. To be honest, this film was built on a gimmick. Though that could work with the right creative talent, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter didn’t have a strong delivery. It felt like the movie’s creative team wanted to take their project seriously. This made the film feel more like a generic western. The inclusion of the horror genre added some creativity to the movie. Unfortunately, the horror elements were not utilized well. With this review for the So Bad It’s Good Blogathon, it feels like I took a step in the right direction! Hopefully, those steps will lead me to my “so bad it’s good” movie!

Overall score: 4.9-5 out of 10

Have you seen or heard of Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter? Would you like to see more westerns combine other genres? Please let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

11 thoughts on “Take 3: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter Review

  1. Brian Schuck

    The titles and posters of this and its companion film, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, are more interesting and lively than the movies themselves, which are slow-moving and talky. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter might have been redeemed by a more interesting monster, but they went with a decidedly non-scary muscleman whose only makeup effect is a scar that runs around the top of his head. At least Billy the Kid goes up against John Carradine as Dracula, who always gave amusing over-the-top performances in the latter stages of his career. Although, the picture of Maria Frankenstein wearing that modified army helmet always cracks me up!
    Keep looking, your so-bad-it’s-good movie is out there! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the well wishes, as well as checking out my review! Outside of this specific blogathon, I approach films in the hopes they are good. Therefore, I can recommend those movies to my readers. With my search for my “so bad it’s good” title, my goal is to find a film that will be my answer when someone asks what my “so bad it’s good” movie is. Hopefully, I can find this film soon, so this saga can reach a triumphant conclusion!


  2. mercurie80

    It’s always disappointing when a movie turns out to be mediocre rather than so bad it’s good! I have never seen Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, but like you I would have thought from it’s title it would have been nuts. It’s disappointing to learn it isn’t. I hope you find your “so bad it’s good” movie soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the well wishes and for reading my review! I’ve said in the past how a movie’s title can serve as a promise to the audience, indicating what they can expect. Honestly, this film’s creative team did not completely follow through on their promise. As I mentioned in my review, Maria is the granddaughter of Victor Frankenstein. Even when the titular characters did meet, nothing significant results from their meeting.


  3. It’s almost like a song, right? “Someday I’ll Find My Bad Movie.” And yeah, the title of this looks kind of clickbait-ish. At least it was sort of fun, right? Thanks again for joining the blogathon, Sally–this was great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome and thanks for reading my review! I do hope you’ll host the So Bad It’s Good Blogathon again next year. Until then, I’m still searching for my “so bad it’s good” film!


  4. Michael

    The trick to a so-bad-it’s-good film is the badness can’t stem from being boring. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter is boring for long stretches. It seems like it will never end. What you need to find is ridiculously bad, laughably bad, but not tediously bad. You’ll find it one day. Don’t give up!


    1. Thanks for the well wishes and for checking out my review! Because of how “bonkers” the title of ‘Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter’ sounded, I was expecting the movie to be unintentionally funny. Unfortunately, the title was misleading.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ack, it’s too bad the film didn’t live up to its title. It could’ve been a wild ride!

    A couple of years ago, I took an online film class and the professor said both the Western and Horror genres are really about survival. With that in mind, a mix of Western + Horror should be riveting – if it were in the right hands, as you pointed out.

    Keep looking for that So Bad It’s Good movie! It’s out there waiting for you. 🙂


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