Sunday, March 03, 2013

Somewhere Out there are the Perfect Internal Organs for You, Maybe Not All in the Same Place

"To know death . . . you have to fuck life in the gallbladder." - Baron von Frankenstein

And it falls to Frankenstein to test this maxim in Andy Warhol's Frankenstein also known as Flesh for Frankenstein, a 1973 Paul Morrissey film. It shares director, producer, and several stars, with the later Blood for Dracula. But it lacks the scope and intellectual subtext of Blood for Dracula, being a more superficial story about the absurdity of eugenics. This movie's value is almost entirely in its sex and gore, and the actors who totally commit to it.

In this version, the Baron Frankenstein, played by Udo Kier with perpetual impatient fury, is patching together a perfect man and woman so they can mate and produce the perfect children, the start of an optimised version of the human race serving at the Baron's command.

Monique van Vooren plays the Baron's sister, who is also his wife and the mother of his children, this incestuous relationship also apparently springing from a belief in racial hierarchy. The Baroness is a bit of a hypocrite, though, upbraiding the field hands for their brutish behaviour before deciding she wants one of them, Joe Dallesandro, employed in her bedroom.

The foley artists sure do her no favours as her kissing his arm and side sounds like someone playing with a balloon layered over a dog eating spaghetti.

The film's visual effects, though, are quite good, particularly in severed limbs. The skin colour is still a little off--it was always hard for prop makers to get the colour right for the camera, which reproduces it differently than when seen live. But otherwise they're pretty convincing.

A mechanical version of one freshly severed head even has blinking eyes. It doesn't quite look real, but it definitely looks fascinating.

Overall, a far less satisfying film than Blood for Dracula, but quite fun anyway.

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