Flesh for Frankenstein
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Maverick filmmaker Paul Morrissey's "Flesh for Frankenstein" reevaluates the horror film, infusing it with satiric wit and sexuality. Morrissey's tale of the mad Baron Frankenstein and his perverse creative urges was heavily edited upon initial release; Criterion presents the restored director's cut--fully intact after 20 years. "Presented" by Andy Warhol.
- Newly remastered, high-definition transfer
- Commentary by Paul Morrissey, Udo Kier, and film historian Maurice Yacowar
- Audio recollections from Paul Morrissey
- Screen tests and still gallery
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Top customer reviews
Warhol protege' Paul Morrisey made his first (sort of) big-budget feature directing this film, and, truth be told, he manages to outshine his mentor, at least in terms of moviemaking. Filmed on locations in Europe, "Flesh for Frankenstein" evokes other Italian films of the period, while, none-too-faithfully, referencing Mary Shelley's source novel. As stated, the movie is extremely gory (some might say "exquisitely", because of the aesthetic quality of the scenes), although it is never sufficiently frightening to qualify as genuinely scary.
Dependable Euro-standby, Udo Kier (who is still going strong in movies almost forty years later), delivers a campy, over-the-top performance as Baron Frankenstein, a creepy, castle-dwelling mad doctor who lives with his sexually frustrated wife/sister (Monique van Vooren) and their two strange, pre-teen offspring. While Kier is busy stitching together body parts with henchman Arno Juering, and plotting to rule the world, the wife/sister is shacking up with Warhol superstar, Joe Dallesandro, cast as the local handyman/stud whose inexplicable New York accent is jarringly out of tune with the European accents of the other actors. This is, somehow, not terribly detrimental to the film as it adds yet another endearingly loony level of camp to this already insane sideshow. Following some gruesome starts and stops, the mad doctor comes up with a female creature (played by the ravishing Dalila di Lazzaro), whom he immediately proceeds to sexually fetishize in scenes that must be viewed to be believed. Meanwhile, studly Joe and his chaste (and probably gay) sidekick (played by the equally ravishing Srdjan Zelenovic) visit a local brothel where the horrified younger man opts to wait outside while Joe does the deed with a pair of bosomy damsels. Unfortunately, the young man runs afoul of the Baron and his assistant, losing his head, before Joe finally hitches up his studly breeches and realizes that a murderer is afoot. It's not long before the young friend is transformed into the male monster, but the mad doctor's plans go awry when he realizes that his male creation isn't the least bit interested in climbing aboard his female counterpart, and thus thwarting Frankenstein's plans to create a superior race from the two.
In addition to the graphic gore, there's a lot of nudity (mostly female) and simulated sex, and the ending is truly a spectacular grand guignol with internal organs and body parts aplenty strewn across the screen. Not for the squeamish or faint-hearted, the movie has a fair amount of humor, which makes up for the lack of suspense and the occasionally stumbling narrative.
Basic premise-- Frankenstein lives in a nondescript east european castle with his wife/sister/baroness (who enjoys taking extensive rides in a shetland pony driven carriage), 2 damien-esque children, & a manservant Igor... in his lab he is constructing the ultimate male & female super humans from the best body parts of several subjects... frankenstein is in need of a head for his male monster, but unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how your mind works) the head he picks is that of a would-be monk with a propensity to admiring joe dellesandro's buns.. and so the fun begins...
best lines --
Frankenstein: "two women--he must be very powerful", "there he comes", "KISS HIM!", "my wife... my seestah" --
The baroness : "what's goin on here"(spoken as a line straight out of a 70s porn flick), "how DARE you... you TRASH" --
Monique van Vooren, i am now convinced, was born to play the baroness-- and it must be, because i haven't seen her in anything else -- she is arguably the campiest female lead in film history, though elizabeth berkeley in "showgirls" runs a close second (and i would gladly argue such matters with anyone who's brain is warped enough to be concerned with such issues)
And the two demon children are perfectly twisted, and I especially like the scene with the bats (I can almost see the nylon strings)--
No particular explanation as to why igor freaks out at the end
I recommend watching this in an altered state of mind, though be forewarned- if you are not in the right frame of mind, you might have a bad trip... otherwise you will be laughing till it hurts
just the scene with the stitches still freaks me out (snip, snip, snip)ugh-- i think they may have edited that out of some versions -- it's still pretty sickening, even by today's standards (or maybe i was just too toasted):)
FIVE FAB STARS