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Film / The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein

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The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (original title: La maldición de Frankenstein) is a 1973 French horror film written and directed by Jess Franco.

After the death of Victor Frankenstein (Dennis Price), two figures vie for control of his metallic-skinned monster (Fernando Bilbao) and the radical technology that created him: the scientist's daughter, Vera (Beatriz Savón), and the immortal wizard Cagliostro (Howard Vernon), who is assisted by Melissa, a blind bird-woman with an unquenchable thirst for blood (Anne Libert).


  • Beard of Evil: The immortal Evil Sorcerer Cagliostro sports an especially ridiculous looking goatee.
  • Bird People: Melissa is the result of a bird egg impregnated with human semen. She's naked save for some strategically placed feathers along her arms and torso (although she's apparently flightless), and she feasts on human flesh.
  • Born-Again Immortality: This is how the Evil Sorcerer Cagliostro has achieved immortality. When he seemingly dies at the end of the film, Vera says that he will return in nine months.
  • Creator Cameo: Writer and director Jess Franco appears briefly as Dr. Frankenstein's ill-fated assistant Morpho.
  • Cult: Cagliostro is the head of a cult who meet in a crypt under his castle. As his plan involves mating the Frankenstein Monster to an artificially created woman to bring forth a new master race, it is unclear exactly why he needs a cult. Nevertheless, they gather round to watch the Monster have sex with the woman.
  • Disney Villain Death: Cagliostro loses control of his carriage and it plunges over a cliff into the sea (although the editing makes it really hard for the viewer to tell exactly what has happened). Vera says that he will return due to his Born-Again Immortality.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Dr. Frankenstein's arch-rival is the immortal sorcerer Cagliostro. Cagliostro murders Frankenstein and usurps control of his monster.
  • Fate of the Frankensteins: By the time Victor Frankenstein is killed by Cagliostro's minions, his daughter Dr. Vera Frankenstein is already working on her own reanimation experiments.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: The version in this film has a metallic skin.
  • Grave Robbing: Vera Frankenstein steals her father's body from his tomb so she can revivify it and hear his last words.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Melissa is part bird, with green feathers along her arms and torso. She says that Cagliostro created her by impregnating a bird egg with human semen.
  • Hollywood Acid: Inspector Tanner throws a carboy of sulphuric acid over the reanimated Dr. Frankenstein. It is so powerful that it dissolves his hands off at the wrists.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Esmeralda, the central character of the barely comprehensible gypsy curse subplot, is played by 1970s Spanish sex symbol Lina Romay in her first big screen role.
  • Human Resources: Cagliostro has various young maidens abducted. They are then murdered and various body parts harvested in order to construct the 'perfect woman' to serve as a mate to the monster.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Cagliostro can hypnotize people by staring into their eyes.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Amongst her other perversions, Melissa feasts on human flesh. To reward her, Cagliostro gives her the keys to the cells and allows her to feast on the prisoners.
  • The Igor: Dr. Frankenstein's assistant is a mute hunchback called Morpho (a Creator Cameo by writer/director Jess Franco) who is only on screen for few minutes before being murdered by Melissa.
  • Literal Disarming: When Dr. Frankenstein's reanimated corpse attempts to strangle Dr. Seward, Inspector Tanner throws Hollywood Acid over its arms; causing its hands to come off at the wrists.
  • Mad Scientist: Victor Frankenstein (of course), and his nemesis Cagliostro, who is both a Mad Scientist and an Evil Sorcerer. Frankenstein declares that Cagliostro is his equal in the understanding of science.
  • Mars Needs Women: Cagliostro's plan for the Monster is to send him out to capture the most beautiful virgins across the land. From there Cagliostro will take the best parts of each woman and piece them together to create the perfect female specimen. Once the perfect woman is complete, Cagliostro will force her to mate with Frankenstein's Monster to create a super-race.
  • Off with Her Head!: The first woman the monster kidnaps is decapitated so by Cagliostro's cult so that Cagliostro can use her head in constructing his female creature.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Two of Caglisotro's prisoners are flogged by the monster before being forced to fight to the death on a field of poison spikes.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Cagliostro escapes the castle by simply slipping out while Seward and Tanner are chasing the monster and Vera.