JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER
Joe Bob Briggs Presents
Review by Michael Jacobson
John Lupton, Estrelita, Narda Onyx, Steven Geray, Cal Bolder, Jim Davis,
Director: William Beaudine
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Elite Entertainment
Features: Theatrical Trailer, Joe Bob Briggs Commentary
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: August 19, 2003
Beaudine completed more than 500 films in his career, and I can definitely say
that this is one of them.” – Joe Bob Briggs
*1/2 (with commentary ***1/2)
Entertainment is becoming the company that’s putting the fun back into the DVD
experience. Consider two of their
new series: the Drive-In Discs collection (which recreates the experience
of a drive-in theatre down to the concession stand promos, interstitials,
cartoon shorts and the sounds of activity all around in addition to the double
features’ movie soundtracks), and their new Joe Bob Briggs Presents titles,
which has been launched with the inimitable Jesse James Meets
Frankenstein’s Daughter. If
these aren’t enough to put a smile on your face for movie night, it may be
time for you to take up stamp collecting instead.
latter is what we want to talk about today, because it’s a prime example of
how Elite makes DVD fun. The movie
itself is nothing special…I’m sure there’s some audience out there for it,
but it probably doesn’t include most of us.
However, the presence of Joe Bob Briggs as a commentator makes this a
release more worthy of your entertainment dollar. By itself, I probably would have never bought JJMFD (do
you mind if I call it that from now on?), but Mr. Briggs instantly elevated this
title to one I’d very much want in my collection.
breaching my normal review etiquette here by talking about the features of a
disc during the movie review segment, but this is a case where it’s warranted.
After all, the title of JJMFD pretty much says it all.
But for the sake of plot clarification, here’s a little exposition for
story takes place in an old western village where the peasants have been fleeing
in droves because they believe the presence of one Frau Frankenstein (Onyx) has
brought death and a curse on their town. The granddaughter (NOT daughter) of the famed mad scientist
is bent on recreating his infamous work, not so much for the science, but to
create a race of slave beings for herself.
Hey, why not?
legendary outlaw Jesse James (Lupton) enters the picture when an attempted
stagecoach heist is thwarted by a traitor in his group.
With his lunkhead partner (Bolder) wounded and with the help of a lovely
villager (Estrelita), they end up taking refuge you-know-where.
And Jesse is faced with an eminent career change from bandit to brain
dead servant when Frankenstein’s…er, granddaughter, decides to make him her
watching the movie itself didn’t do a whole lot for me, I have to confess I
was sitting here grinning as I outlined the plot for you. Still, as mentioned, it’s not the movie that’s the
Bob Briggs, as you may recall, offered his first Elite commentary track for
their release of the controversial I Spit On Your Grave.
It was a fresh, funny, informative and thoroughly entertaining listen
that won our DMC Award for Best Commentary Track for 2002.
And Elite obviously realized they had gold, because this film marks the
beginning of a whole new series of films featuring Briggs as host and
is America’s foremost expert on the good, the bad and the ugly of cult cinema,
and as a commentator, his wealth of knowledge about these films, their stars and
creators right down to obscure titles, dates and history is matched only by how
funny he is when he talks about the absurdity of this movie and its plot.
I laughed hard and often, but I also learned a great deal…maybe more
than I ever really cared to know, but movie knowledge is movie knowledge, and as
such, this commentary track is indispensable.
can only summarize how good it is by calling your attention to the above
rating…yes, the movie rating goes up a FULL two stars if you listen with the
Briggs commentary in place of the movie soundtrack. You can easily do it, too…Briggs keeps you apprised of the
story even better than the dialogue does, and face it, you’re not exactly
missing out on Oscar Wilde scripting if you forgo the original audio.
almost all of us DVD fans have bought discs just for their audio and/or video
quality, so why not treat ourselves to one that excels because of an extra?
Even those who say they don’t always listen to the commentary tracks on
DVDs are bound to find this one a treat.
commend Elite for giving this strange B list title the benefit of an anamorphic
transfer, but there’s not much else going for this presentation.
I can’t say that I blame them fully…had they announced they were
going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on restoring JJMFD I
would have screamed, “Have you gone MAD??”
Thankfully, as mentioned repeatedly, the movie itself is not the
entertainment value here. This aged looking, murky, soft and drab presentation is
decidedly poor. Some of the darker
scenes are virtually indiscernible (as Briggs amusingly points out).
Just take this one for what it is, which isn’t a whole lot.
the audio sounds its age, with dialogue frequently unclear and music and effects
sounding muddled. Listen to the
commentary instead…it not only sounds better than the film soundtrack, it IS
the commentary merits a little higher rating in this department.
In addition to it, there’s an original trailer.