42nd Street Cinema

Frankenhooker (1990)

Frank Henenlotter's comedy horror romp Frankenhooker. Loosely based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, starring: James Lorinz and former Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen.

Opening with budding eccentric scientist Jeffrey Franken (Lorinz) refining one of his experiments, it appears to be a brain with an eyeball in the centre of it. Dragged away from this by his fiancée Elizabeth Shelley (Mullen) as they're due to attend a birthday party for which he's created a remote control lawnmower as a present. Incidentally as Elizabeth is demonstrating the mower and its possibilities she gets herself chopped to pieces.

Struggling to cope with his loss Franken becomes increasingly psychotic and with the use of a power drill develops one of the strangest headache cures among other strange things, like having a romanic dinner at home with the decapitated head of Liz. See his plan is to eventually gather enough body parts to put dear old Liz back together again. Making a trip across the river to NYC's Times Square, he soon becomes engulfed in the seedy underworld of prostitution and habitual drug taking, using the latter to his advantage. Upon arriving home, he quickly engineers some form of 'super crack', a quick test on a guinea pig proves promising that when taken the drug causes the user to explode.
What ensues is a comical sequence that takes place inside a grubby hotel room, involving 6 hookers and a bag of 'super crack'. Soon the hookers begin to explode, including one hilarious POV from that of a detached leg flying towards a lamp. The end result leaves Jeffrey surrounded by limbs, collecting everything he can possibly carry he drives back to his New Jersey home where he begins to piece together his woman. His bizarre plan doesn't go his way and instead of his reanimated Elizabeth wanting him, she just wants his money...and everyone else's.

James Lorinz's portrayal of Jeffrey Franken is brilliant as are Patty Mullen's facial expressions as the reanimated Frankenhooker.
Henenlotter's sleazy re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic is one of most ridiculous and fun films I've ever seen all the while keeping a subtext of morality in tow. It lacks the quantity of bloodshed Basket Case (1982) has, so fans of his previous films may feel somewhat underwhelmed as this film relies more upon laughs than a gore score.
So I ask, why haven't you fallen in love with a Frankenhooker?


Davy said...

Those expressions are perhaps the most beautiful i've ever come across.
You can't exactly compare to Basket Case though, that is just too much of a classic.

Franco Macabro said...

Ive been in love with this movie since I first saw it, its insane. I mean that scene with the exploding whores and the super crack is one of the craziest scenes on any movie...ever! Frank Henenlotter is king of sleazey z-movies...they are so different and crazy, they entertain.

Tower Farm said...

Man, I STILL haven't seen this one... Why??? This looks awesome!


Bill said...

While the title does come from Shelley, in terms of spirit and content I think this one has more in common with 1962's THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE -- that brain and eyeball critter even appears in the poster art for BRAIN!

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