Legendary low-budget mogul Roger Corman made a somewhat inauspicious return to the director's chair for the first time in nearly twenty years (unless one counts his uncredited participation in "pickup" shoots for several New World Pictures productions) for this quaint sci-fi/horror outing, based on the popular novel by Brian Aldiss. Opening in the year 2031, the story begins with scientist Joseph Buchanan (John Hurt) working on a top-secret military project that creates a rift in time in space, hurtling him and his ultra-high-tech hotrod backwards through time to the early 19th century. Buchanan manages to adapt quite well to his new surroundings, particularly after making the acquaintance of fellow scientist Baron Frankenstein (Raul Julia). Curiously, the Baron is presented here as an authentic historical figure, and his monster-making efforts the basis for the famed book by Mary Shelley (Bridget Fonda), which was a work of fiction. After ruminating about his situation with Mary and her future husband Percy Shelley (late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence) at the villa of mad poet Lord Byron (Jason Patric), Buchanan is approached by the Baron to help construct a mate for his intelligent but homicidal creature (Nick Brimble). Unfortunately, things do not go according to plan, leading to an ironic denouement that finds Buchanan pondering the apocalyptic results of his life's work. The film boasts solid production values and some beautiful location photography (most of the film was shot in Italy); however, the classy look and high-profile casting can't disguise the overall feel of an early New World outing, albeit with a much larger budget. The script, adapted by Corman and writer F.X. Feeney, eliminates many of the novel's intellectual twists and turns; much of the remaining dialogue comes off as merely pretentious.
by Cavett Binion synopsis