Saturday, April 16, 2011

#27: Flesh for Frankenstein

(Paul Morrissey, 1973)
While it isn't quite as successful as its follow-up, Blood for Dracula, Paul Morrissey's Flesh for Frankenstein is still an immensely good time at the movies. Udo Kier once again gives a great, hammy performance, this time as Baron Frankenstein, determined to construct a master Serbian race of zombies bowing to his every whim. As would be expected, there's plenty of sex and gore, all purposefully over the top at the service of Morrissey's sharp satirical take on modern life.

The film's campy pleasures take on another dimension - the third to be precise (cheesy joke ftw). I wouldn't blame the unsuspecting viewer of this DVD to be confused by the random shots of people holding things out to the camera, culminating in an impaled organ at the end of a pole. Knowing the film was intended to be shown in 3D makes these moments possibly more enjoyable than they were in theaters - 3D was so terrible in the 70s that the pleasure of watching people act strangely in order to deliver an effect that never comes is truly amusing.

Elsewhere, the film fails to lift off plot-wise in the clever way its successor does. It's easy to see the whole story coming from a mile away, and the film's final moments - much like the preceding hour - are more appealing for their campy gore than the Hamlet-like finish. Still Flesh for Frankenstein isn't about the characters or story, and it's hard to fault a film for delivering just what it sets out to do. Morrissey's take on the monster story remains totally original and unique, and - though they are currently out of print so Image could put out mediocre releases of their own - both films are deserving of their place in the collection.

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