21st Century scientist Dr Joseph Buchanan (John Hurt) is an idealistic man of conscience who nevertheless is working on a top-secret atomic laser weapon.
Testing of the weapon causes a “time slip” that transports Buchanan (and his sleek futuristic sports car) from New Los Angeles in 2031 to Switzerland in the 19th century.
At an inn in a picturesque village by a Swiss lake, he meets Dr Victor Frankenstein (Raul Julia with not quite the right accent but just the right note of arrogance) – who is presented as an actual character.
Buchanan tries to prevent the hanging of a girl convicted of a murder that Frankenstein’s monster (Nick Brimble) committed, but he can’t persuade Dr Frankenstein to confess to the judge.
The monster – more agile and talkative than Karloff’s monster, with a lumpy, sinewy face – roams the woods murdering villagers until Frankenstein agrees to create a mate for him.
Meanwhile, Buchanan has a close encounter with Mary Godwin (Bridget Fonda) – later to be Mary Shelley – who is in the process of writing a novel based on what she has heard about the doctor’s experiments.
Jason Patric and INXS frontman Michael Hutchence make a campy appearance as Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, respectively.
Shot in just seven weeks, this was legendary B-movie producer/director Roger Corman’s return to directing after almost 20 years.
Corman mixes science fiction, comic relief and some mild horror, but not as seamlessly as he did in his Poe series of the 1960s.
Dr Joseph Buchanan
Dr Victor Frankenstein
Percy Bysshe Shelley