For its sixth release, Cinematic Titanic returned to the exploitation genre after its brief foray into more child-friendly fare. The Italian film “Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks” was also known as “Terror! Il castello delle donne maldedette,” “Terror Castle,” “The House of Freaks,” “The Monsters of Dr. Frankenstein, “Dr. Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks” and “Frankenstein’s Castle.” But let’s not kid ourselves, if it was known at all it was due to its use on “Elvira’s Movie Macabre.
Release date: Jan. 8, 2009
On the DVD’s menu screen, we see janitors sweeping the entryway to the theater. When the episode starts, we get the Titans being lead to the theater while getting apologies for the “Engineers doing some blasting for high data storage tanks,” and a mention of the film being the maiden voyage of the “Breast Blimp.” More on that in a moment.
During the credits, Frank jumps on the name “Boris Lugosi,” stating “What, they couldn’t get Bela Karloff?”
In a grave-digging scene, Frank has a great “It’s not the only empty plot in this movie” riff.
The breast blimp shows up about 25 minutes into the film to block out some nudity. It’s kind of similar to Tom and Crow’s use of drones to block nudity in the season 11 episode “Avalanche.” Josh is not a fan: “I’m not liking this breast blimp technology one little bit.”
When the blimp returns blimp returns for a later scene, Josh opines “Maybe next time we can bring in something less distracting than the breast blimp, like The Rockettes.”
Frank was on fire in this episode. After a “Return of the Jedi” reference in a riff, he continues with “Remember how innocent we were when we thought that was the sucky Star Wars movie?” Luckily, things are looking up. Frank has stated his approval of “Rogue One” and “The Last Jedi” on his podcast with Trace Beaulieu, “Movie Sign with the Mads.”
There’s a silhouette spit take joke that’s OK, but they really perfect this joke on the first live Cinematic Titanic release, “East Meets Watts.”
MST3K references: After a character laughs and states “You’re through here, buddy.” Josh says “This totally reminds me of my last day at MST.”
We’ve got movie break: 46 minutes in, Trace stops the movie to discuss his love of Frankenstein’s monster, which is apparently demonstrated by his (unseeable to us) shirt reading “I love Frankenstein’s monster.” Unfortunately, everyone thought it said “I love Frank” at first, and keep interrupting Trace to ask about why he doesn’t like Frank. It’s the only time the films stops.
Then timely references: After the line “This could be the work of a sex maniac,” Josh follows up with ‘Has anyone seen David Duchovny?” Duchovny had announced he was a sex addict a few months earlier. During a poorly choreographed fight scene, Frank said “It reminds me of Penn Jillette on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ Jillette had been on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2008 and was the first star eliminated. He also did voice-overs for Comedy Central while MST3K was on the network and hosted the making-of special “This is MST3K.”
Favorite riff: “His head looks like a botched bris!” – Josh. That’s a pretty good summary of the makeup effects in this film.
Bonus feature: Once again, no special features on this disc, but if you bought the physical DVD from the Cinematic Titanic crew, it came with an autographed silhouette of Frank. This completed the set of autographed pictures. For some reason, I got two autographed Frank pics with my copy. I suppose that’s fitting, given the Frankenstein connection with “The Frank.”
Other riffing connections
Producer/alleged director Dick Randall was also a producer on “Supersonic Man,” which was riffed by Rifftrax.
Actor Rossana Brazzi was also in “Final Justice,” which has been riffed by both MST3K and Rifftrax and he wrote the screenplay and songs for, as well as directed “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t,” riffed in season 11 of MST3K.
Actor Edmund Purdom appeared in “Ator, the Fighting Eagle,” riffed by Rifftrax.
Actor Salvatore Baccaro (credited as Boris Lugosi) also appeared in Starcrash, riffed in the newest season of MST3K.
Makeup artist Stefano Trani also did makeup for “The Pumaman,” riffed by MST3K.
Set designer E. Rancati handled weapons and props for the MST3K riffed “Hercules Unchained.”
Sound editor Renato Cadueri did sound for “Hercules” and “Hercules Unchained.”
This isn’t MST3K related, but two of the film’s writers went on to have brushes with greatness in other ways. William Rose acted in and did dialog directing for Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo” and Mario Francine was backlot manager/studio manager for Martin Scorsese’s “Gang’s of New York.”