Friday, December 12, 2014

Flesh For Frankenstein (197-)

First of two subversion of the horror genre that were nominally presented by Andy Warhol (The other was Blood for Dracula). This retelling of the Frankenstein story was filmed in 3D which resulted with lots of body parts dripping into the audiences lap.

The plot has the baron and his sister living as husband and wife with their children in a castle. As the good doctor spends his days trying to assemble a super-race his wife runs around with the kids and trying to fill the boredom. As the doctor spends more time in the lab she hires a new servant to help her around the bedroom as well as the house.

A dry re-imaging of the Frankenstein story as a ghoulish TV sitcom and reflection of society the film is full of odd ball lines (including the infamous To Know death one must fuck life through the gall bladder), odd performances (what is heavily Brooklyn accented Joe Dallesandro doing among the East European peasants?), and ridiculing of mad scientist conventions (it really is so silly), that one maybe hard pressed to ever take a similar film seriously ever again. Actually one might have been hard pressed to take the genre seriously had the film been better, but its not. This is a very arch, much too dry, way too knowing film that presents itself as a film that's much too clever.

For years I had feelings toward the film because I took it as a serious horror film (many horror reference books treated it as a more serious endeavor than it is) so when I saw this during the 3D craze of the 1980's I was never sure if it was suppose to be funny or not. The result was I didn't think it was any good. Having the chance to sit down and watch the film on the Criterion DVD (sans 3D) now that I knew it was a satire I gave it another go.

Frankly even knowing the film for what it was intending to be I was bored. Yes it's a beautifully shot film (its one of my favorite looking Frankenstein films ever) and yes its clever in what its trying to do, but at the same time the film is very often an incredible bore. The intentional stiltedness make it hard to watch as performances just come off as bad (I love Udo Keir, but he's terrible here). I admire what its trying to do but at the same time I don't think I need suffer through the film again to get the point of what its doing.

Worth a look for those who want to see influential horror films or great cinematography, all others are advised to stay away.

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