(director: Robert Gaffney; screenwriter: from a story by R.H.W. Dillard & George Garrett/George Garrett; cinematographer: Saul Midwall; editor: Lawrence C. Keating; music: Ross Gaffney; cast: Jim [James] Karen (Professor Adam Steele), Robert Reilly (Colonel Frank Saunders), Marilyn Hanold (Princess Macuzan), Lou Cutell (Dr. Nadir), Nancy Marshall (Karen Grant), David Kerman (General Bowers), [uncredited] Bruce Glover (Alien/Mull); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert McCarty; Dark Sky Films (DVD);1965)

“It competes on the same playing field with Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) as one of those lovable worst pics ever made.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Would you believe that George Garrett was the screenwriter of this classic Z movie turkey of a rock ‘n’ roll monster pic, who later became the poet laureate of Virginia! It competes on the same playing field with Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) as one of those lovable worst pics ever made. This was the only film Robert Gaffney ever directed, and there’s no surprise as to why.

Atomic war on Mars destroys the planet and Martian Princess Marcuzan (Marilyn Hanold) and her right-hand man Dr. Nadir (Lou Cutell) make a business trip to earth to kidnap women to repopulate their planet. The dynamic duo land in Puerto Rico (its other title Mars Invades Puerto Rico seems to be a more accurate description of the pic), where they shoot down a NASA space capsule (the Mayflower 2) manned by an android created by Dr. Adam Steele (Jim Karen). The robot is called Colonel Saunders (Robert Reilly). He’s so human-like that he’s able to fool the press at a conference before the launch. With his electronic brain damaged, the robot goes amok as a Frankenstein-type monster and terrorizes the island while the Martians joyfully invade the beaches and pool parties. Steele is able to locate his robot and fix the problem and reprogram him to attack the invaders, but those pesty Martians kidnap Saunders and Dr. Steele’s assistant, Karen Grant (Nancy Marshall), and several other women. The climax comes none too soon, as Steele and General Bowers attack the Martian spacecraft and work with the robot to free the fair sex before destroying the Martian saucer.

Don’t ask me why, but the campy Flash Gordon-esque Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster has attained the status of a cult classic even if it’s dreck.