by Professor Kinema
Since the name, as well as the basic premise, of Frankenstein was in the public domain, it turned up in film titles generally synonymous with the word "Monster." Throughout the classic Universal series the name was alternately given to the descendants (sons, daughters, grandchildren, and distant relatives) of the original mad doctor/creator as well as to the undying creature itself. It was also a name familiar enough to attract moviegoers. This would seem to explain why Frankenstein (in name only) turned up in Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster.
In this film, Frankenstein is a robotic astronaut--an Astrobot--named Col Frank Saunders (Robert Reilly). The generic sounding "Space Monster" proves to be a caged beast doing the bidding of pseudo-humanoid aliens. Since these aliens have a mega destructive plan for Earthlings, they all could be considered Space Monsters. Their plan also involves kidnapping a a number of nubile women to be used as breeding stock. Hopefully, their offspring wouldn't inherit the obviously poorly fitted skullcaps that adorn the male aliens' heads.
The alien invaders have names like Princess Marcuzan (referred to only as 'Princess') and Nadir (a name that could appropriately mean "the pits?"). The Frankenstein/robot element functions ultimately as the hero and savior, in a truly surreal combination of characters and plot elements, topped of with genuinely horrendous and amateurish makeup work, setting the scene for a cultish film. It's all presented '...in Futurama,' to boot.
At the end of the trailer for Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, an announcer states it's "...in Futurama," but the only other mention of Futurama turns up in the opening credits as "Futurama Entertainment Corporation Presents." The end credits mention "Interiors Photographed at Seneca Studios, Hempstead, New York." The exteriors were lensed in Puerto Rico.
At the beginning of his career, a young James Karen plays Dr. Adam Steele. This is his premier feature film. Staying primarily a TV and stage actor he would go on to appear in over 80 movies (to date) including Poltergeist, and The Return of the Living Dead (Parts I & II), and also be a spokesman for Pathmark.
Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster was initially released on a double bill with Curse of the VooDoo. Space Shield Eye Protectors were given to lucky first-run patrons (as long as supplies lasted). Presumably these eye protectors could also be used to protect the eyes from any VooDoo Curses. The film had several re-releases, turning up with titles like Duel of the Space Monsters, Frankenstein Meets the Spacemen, Marte Invade a Puerto Rico and Mars Attacks Puerto Rico (and not Hempstead, NY?). The only mention these space monsters are from Mars is found in the shot of a newspaper headline, which reads, "Earth Scientists Warn of Martian Threat."
A four page promo feature of Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster turned up in Famous Monsters of Filmland #39, June 1966. The article states this film was chosen as the lead-off film at the (prestigious) 1965 Science Fiction Film Festival in Trieste.
An archival print exists in the Museum of Modern Art's film collection. A short article in the New York Times, January 1, 2010, states, "The impaired cognition of New Year's Weekend make's it an ideal time to encounter Robert Gaffney's enjoyable, goofy drive-in movie here in an improbable screening at the Museum of Modern Art."
It was the final entry in the museum's series titled Nuts and Bolts: Machine Made Man in Films From the Collection.