Frankenstein is a 1981 Japanese animated television film based on Mary Shelley’s novel and the Marvel comic book Monster of Frankenstein.
In this Toei Animation 98-minute adult-oriented film, the creature was portrayed as a misunderstood monster, who only wanted to be loved. The original title is Kyōfu Densetsu Kaiki! Frankenstein (恐怖伝説 怪奇！フランケンシュタイン). It was directed by Yûgo Serikawa from a screenplay written by Akiyoshi Sakai, based loosely on Mary Shelley’s novel.
The film was dubbed and released in the United States by Harmony Gold in 1984. This dubbed version was advertised as both Monster of Frankenstein and Frankenstein: Legend of Terror.
In 1860, Victor Frankenstein after creating the monster together with his partner Zuckel, the monster attacks the assistant and falls from a cliff.
Assuming the monster is dead, Victor returns to his wife Elizabeth and daughter Emily. A police inspector named Bellbeau investigates some mysterious mutilations killings, and Victor is blackmailed by his former assistant, who lost an eye in his fight with the monster.
Victor grows more and more paranoid, having terrifying nightmares about his creature, believing him to be pure evil. The monster survived his fall, and stole clothes and food from the villagers, who he killed in his confusion, including Zuckel. Victor’s daughter, Emily, spends time with her grandfather, a wise blind man who warned his son Victor about his experiments.
When the monster finds his way to the grandfather’s cabin, he becomes good friends with Emily and the old man, because they can see that he only wants to be loved, and they give him the name Franken.
Victor wanted to rid himself of all the evidence of his experiments, so he decided to hunt the monster down and shoot him. From Emily, the monster learns about God. When a fire breaks out in the woods, Emily’s mother is killed, and Franken can only rescue Emily’s grandfather. When Philip tries to shoot Franken, he is accidentally killed by the monster.
Emily thinks Franken did it on purpose and shoots his hand, and Franken is once again alone. He seeks refuge in a church, where gazes upon the crucifix, and notices that both Christ and himself has a hole through their hands, he breaks into tears, and begs God for forgiveness. Victor believes that his creation killed his wife, he finds him the church, but Franken escapes.
The grandfather tells Emily that it was not Franken’s fault that her mother died, and she sets out to find him. At the mountains, Inspector Bellbeau and his police force open fire on the monster. Emily comes to his rescue, and for the first time, Franken speaks her name. Tired of a life he never wanted, the monster commits suicide by throwing himself off of a cliff. Victor, driven mad by all the terror he caused, shoots himself in the chest. Inspector Bellbeau visits Franken’s grave, as the red scarf Emily gave the monster blows away in the wind while Emily now lives with her grandfather.
“Throughout the film it has a very somber tone to it, with moments of horror during the first act, but those fall away in the second and third acts as it becomes more of an allegory. It’s still not a great film by any means, the animation is very cheap looking and dated, and the voice acting is passable, more so if you’re a fan of the original Akira dub, but the story itself has enough good moments that carries it through.” Flights Tights & Movie Nights
” …Monster of Frankenstein is just as poorly animated (most of the time the camera is just panning over static panels), badly dubbed and sluggishly paced as Tomb of Dracula, though it does have a rather fetching looking monster to its name. As with a lot of anime, the design work is first rate, but the annoying kids, immobile “animation” and lack of atmosphere kill the production stone dead.” EOFFTV