I really like what Full Moon had in mind with the “Filmonsters!” movie series. Take public domain characters, turn them in to hour long movies for the PG-13 crowd, add unique twists, and call it a series! It’s too bad there were only two of these “Reborn!” movies. I’m not saying “Frankenstein Reborn!” is a masterpiece, but it has its head in the right place, and could have taken many more monsters and re-imagined them down the line. The series has a neat opening credits scene with Full Moon’s banner monsters Toulon’s puppets, and craftily edited re-cuts of them in a graveyard among the tombstones of various monsters, and them reviving their master, which would also count as them reviving whatever monster of the week Full Moon was spotlighting.
“Frankenstein Reborn!” focuses on Mary Shelly’s character, and is a very loose iteration of Mary Shelly’s characters from her novel. In this installment, Anna Frankenstein loses her parents and is forced to move to the English countryside in a castle with her demented Uncle Victor. Despite having a hard time dealing with her loneliness, she takes an interest in her unusual uncle who she learns is committing to dark scientific experiments with dead bodies and re-animation. When Victor and his assistant Ludwig’s secret experimental monster breaks free from its bindings, it begins wreaking havoc across the country side. When Anna finds him, she befriends it, learning he’s a very misunderstood being, but Victor and Ludwig have other plans for their experiment.
As with most early Full Moon films, this set seems to be the one used for past medieval scenes, “Subspecies” and the “Dragonworld” movies. A lot of the narrative is fairly simplistic with Anna becoming the center of this short sequel. Haven Paschall’s performance is wooden and monotone most of the time, but at least there is some neat make up, interesting throwbacks to the Karloff movies, and a lot of really cool set design and traditional effects. This “Reborn!” is a short novelty with an open ended climax I assumed would be left for future installments to begin their own tales down the line. Either way, if you like a campy take on Frankenstein, this is worth the fifty minute run time.