And, in the early ’90s, he starred as the mad doctor in Frankenstein … for TNT, not Kenneth Branagh. Provided you missed it on during its CableACE Award-nominated broadcast, the better-than-average production is now alive — alive!on MOD DVD from Warner Archive.

Bergin’s Dr. Frankenstein is even more enterprising than in the Mary Shelley novel, creating such mutated animals as a cat-snake and a porcupine-rabbit. “I’ve discovered the secret of life … and I control it,” he says, to the expected cries of blasphemy. “The world moves forward, and science is the future.”

In other words, he’s so going to build a human, and does, in the form of Randy Quaid. You actually won’t recognize him, hidden behind layers of scars. Quaid gives a genuinely good performance, reminding one of his early roles in The Last Picture Show and Midnight Express, and not of the conspiracy-minded, tabloid-fodder loon he sadly has become.

When the monster goes after Dr. F’s cousin/fiancée (Fiona Gillies), the God-like creator views his work no longer as a man, but the devil himself.

Written and directed by David Wickes — who previously turned the likes of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde and Jack the Ripper into televised fodder — Frankenstein shows the limitations of its budget, but I actually liked that it looks shot on sets, ship stuck in ice included. Because it is an early 19th-century period piece, staying far away from the latest and greatest cinematic technology is preferred. —Rod Lott

Rod Lott

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