I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (U.K. title: Teenage Frankenstein) is a film starring Whit Bissell, Phyllis Coates and Gary Conway, released by American International Pictures (AIP) in November 1957 as a double feature with Blood of Dracula. It is the follow-up to AIP’s box office hit I Was a Teenage Werewolf, released less than five months earlier. Both films later received a sequel in the fictional crossover How to Make a Monster, released in July 1958. The film stars Whit Bissell, Phyllis Coates, Robert Burton, Gary Conway and George Lynn.
Professor Frankenstein (Whit Bissell), a guest lecturer from England, talks Dr. Karlton (Robert Burton) into becoming an unwilling accomplice in his secret plan to actually assemble a human being from the parts of different cadavers. After recovering a body from a catastrophic automobile wreck, Professor Frankenstein takes the body to his laboratory/morgue, where in various drawers he keeps spare parts of human beings. The professor also enlists the aid of Margaret (Phyllis Coates), as his secretary, to keep all callers away from the laboratory.
Margaret, becoming suspicious of what is going on, decides to investigate and goes down to the morgue. She is panic-stricken by the monster (Gary Conway), who has been activated following the grafting of a new leg and arm. She dares not tell the professor about her feelings and keeps silent for the present. On a couple of occasions, the professor takes discarded human body parts … and feeds them to an alligator concealed in a hidden chamber.
One night, the monster leaves the laboratory. He peers into a girl’s apartment. The girl becomes hysterical and starts screaming; in his attempt to silence her, he kills her in panic and flees. The next morning, the hunt for the murderer is on. Margaret, angry at the professor, tells him that she knows that the monster is responsible for the murder. The professor, taking no chances, has the monster kill her and feeds her remains to the alligator. Dr. Karlton, sent out of town, knows nothing about this.
The professor accompanies the monster to a lover’s lane, where he kills a teenage boy in order to obtain his face. The boy’s face is successfully grafted onto the monster. Professor Frankenstein tells Dr. Karlton of his plans to dismember his creation and ship him in various boxes to England and then return there to put him together again. When they strap the monster down again, he becomes suspicious and tears loose—to throw Professor Frankenstein into the alligator pit—while Dr. Karlton runs for help.
When Dr. Karlton arrives with the police, the monster, maddened with fright, backs into the electrical dial board. Contact with the iron wrist bands electrocutes him and he falls to the ground, dead. Karlton tells the police that he will never forget the way the monster’s face looked after the accident.
I Was a Teenage Werewolf had been a big success for AIP and a Texas exhibitor requested two new horror movies from the studio if they could be ready by Thanksgiving. American International Pictures commissioned Herman Cohen to make I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Blood of Dracula. Cohen says the two films were written and put in front of the cameras in only four weeks, “so I had to really, really cut down” in terms of production values.
I Was a Teenage Frankenstein was filmed in black-and-white, with the ending in color for a vivid effect. The film was shot at Ziv Studios. Cohen says that the alligator they hired for the movie had been used to dispose of bodies by serial killer Joe Ball from a small town outside San Antonio.
black & white with a splashy color finish! good quality VHS transfer, runs 73 minutes. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic.