The witch’s kitchen of Dr. Rambow
|German title||The witch kitchen of Dr. Rambow|
|Original title||Frankenstein 1970|
|Country of production||USA|
|Year of publication||1958|
|Age rating||FSK 16|
|Director||Howard W. Koch|
|Script||George Worthing Yates
Richard H. Landau
based on a story by Aubrey Schenck and Charles A. Moses
|Camera||Carl E. Guthrie|
|Edited by||John A. Bushelman|
TheWitch’s Kitchen of Dr. Rambow is an American horror film starring Boris Karloff in the title role.
A young, pretty blonde girl walks along a road in a wasteland at night, stumbles, stays down and gets up again. A hunchbacked creature, crippled in arms and hands, dragging its twisted feet, follows her at a sluggish pace. Arriving at a pond, the girl knows not where to go; she begins to scream and retreats into the shallow water, pursued by the sinister, frightening figure. Soon he has caught up with the beauty, now he puts his ugly claws on her shoulders and around her neck, presses her under the water and… “Hans, enough, enough!” calls an interpreter in German from off-screen. The scene is in the can, the director and his American film crew are very pleased. So begins this horror story.
Austria (in the US original: Germany) in 1970. The surgeon and scientist Dr. Rambow (in the US original: Baron Victor von Frankenstein), the great-great-grandson of the famous Baron Frankenstein, who once, 230 years ago, had created an artificial human being from corpse parts, walks in his footsteps. In his castle he also wants to create an artificial being – of course much more perfect than the faded forefather and with the most modern technology, namely in the form of a mini-nuclear reactor, with which Rambow can literally bring the dead to life. It’s just that he has run out of the necessary money for such costly series of experiments and the acquisition of the corresponding body parts, as his best friend Gottfried, who knows nothing of Rambow’s creepy research activities, makes unmistakably clear to him. It’s just as well that this American film crew has come along to shoot a scary TV series in the eerie old building. The old man, whose face has been disfigured since his stay in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, has been paid a lot of money for the location. For Dr. Rambow, this means killing two birds with one stone, and so, after initial reluctance, he makes his castle available.
Dr. Rambow has already produced an artificial body. It is bandaged snow-white from top to bottom and looks like a mummy. But this “mummy” is still missing the most important ingredients that make it a human being, a Rambow’s creature. Now the murder for the glory of science can begin: First the doctor’s own servant Schuter falls victim to his master. His curiosity, which led him to Dr. Rambow’s top-secret laboratory deep down in the castle vault, was his fatal fate. Dr. Rambow removes his heart and brain. Next to go is assistant director Judy Stevens when she is scared out of her wits: The wrap-around mummy had opened her bedroom door – and that was already too much for the young woman. She’s followed by cameraman Morgan Haley, who gets caught in the tentacles of the hulking mummy monster shortly after test shots with the show’s star, Carolyn Hayes, in the crypt. Since Haley’s eyes don’t match his creature, even Rambow’s friend Gottfried has to give his life. The latter began to ask Dr. Rambow more and more questions about the disappearance of the three castle residents or guests. Moreover, his eyes perfectly match Rambow’s creature, which the scientist calls Schuter like his servant
Director Douglas Row has been suspicious of the mysterious goings-on and disappearances at the castle for some time. When he discovers a lens from the missing cameraman in the crypt, Row goes to the police for help. Meanwhile, Rambow has gained control over Mike Shaw, another film crew member, through hypnosis. Through Shaw, Judy Stevens gets caught in the giant paws of the mummy monster, which carries the girl to the lab. Since the mummy has Schuter’s personality and Judy had once won Schuter over with a small gift (a scarf), master and master now clash. The police are already on their way, Judy is screaming for her life, and Dr. Rambow sees his skins swimming away. So he ramps up all the reactor’s circuits to detonate everything. Rambow’s creature staggers toward Rambow and is suddenly enveloped in nuclear steam. He and Rambow sink to the ground, contaminated. A short time later, a specialist in a radiation suit enters the lab and breaks pieces of the wrapping bandage from the mummy’s face. At first you see Schuter’s face, but it changes when you look at Dr. Rambow’s face a second time.
Die Hexenküche des Dr. Rambow first appeared in the USA on 20 July 1958. German viewers were able to see the horror story from 28 March 1959, Austrians on 11 September of the same year.
For some unknown reason, Karloff, who played the corpse tinkerer Victor von Frankenstein in the American original, was renamed “Dr. Rambow” for the German version. Karloff had played the monster in the first famous Frankenstein film in 1931.
According to the Encyclopedia of International Film, “A more laughable than scary horror film that also fails to make sparks out of the idea of incorporating the film genre itself. Boris Karloff’s last appearance in a “Frankenstein” film.”
Movie & Video Guide wrote: “Tediously talky and a very silly “futuristic” blot on a time-honored name, not to mention a pretty creepy sequence right before the opening credits.”
Halliwell’s Film Guide characterized the film as follows: “The film is slow, the monster unexciting, and Karloff engages in smear acting.”
Paimann’s Film Lists summed up, “[A film that] will let undemanding scary movie lovers get their fix, after all.”
- The Witch’s Kitchen of Dr. Rambow. In: encyclopedia ofinternational film. Filmdienst, retrieved 29 September 2015. template:LdiF/maintenance/access.
- Leonard Maltin: Movie & Video Guide, 1996 edition, p. 375
- Leslie Halliwell: Halliwell’s Film Guide, Seventh Edition, New York 1989, p. 460
- The Witch’s Kitchen of Dr. Rambow in Paimann’s Filmlisten(Memento of the Originals september 30, 2015 on the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.