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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Baron von Frankenstein (an out-of-control Udo Kier, a guy with amazing eyes)
has created a beautiful female monster out of stitched together body parts
and now yearns to make a male version as her companion. Meanwhile, his
dissatisfied wife Katherine (Monique Van Vooren) has the ever-so-studly Joe
Dallesandro (whose New York accent is way out of place) to fulfill her
sexual needs. The baron mistakes Dallesandro's virginal (possibly gay)
friend as him, cuts his head off and eventually puts together a male
creature, in an effort to mate his two subjects.
This outrageous horror parody has incest, necrophilia, bloody stitches, gutglobs spilling out of stomachs, impalements, severed body parts, rape, lots of nudity and sex, campy performances and bad taste dialogue. The ending is hectic, nasty and totally hilarious as all the characters end up dead in a big cartoonish pile of bloody bodies (Carlo Rambaldi did the FX).
It was filmed back-to-back with ANDY WARHOL'S DRACULA by the same director, producers and some of the same actors (both were "supervised" by Antonio Margheriti) and was originally released in an X-rated 3-D version with all kinds of gross stuff thrust right at the viewer (wish I could have seen it that way!).
Score: 6 out of 10
To begin honestly, FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN isn't for all tastes.
However, the film and brother, BLOOD FOR Dracula, are great treats to
genuine horror movie buffs. Surprisingly, for some reason the latter,
as offensive as the former was not listed as a 'Video Nasty'. These two
films were made back to back (a la Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions) and
by the same cast and crew and exploited Andy Warhol's name for
If you have a fondness for cheesy, funny and gory decadence, then you'll love this film. Plus Udo Kier is and Arno Juerging are great in their roles. The fabulous line To know Death Otto, you first have to f**k life in the gall bladder was a bloomer influenced by Last Tango in Paris, but was so funny, director (Paul Morrisey) left it in.
As a passing note, I remember seeing both Ace Ventura and Blade in the cinema for the first time and loudly saying 'It's UDO!' when he appeared.
This is clearly the superior of the two films that Paul Morrissey filmed at
Cinecitta studios (Rome) during the early 1970s. It's the typical
Frankenstein story with the Morrissey's spin on it.
And I suspect that it has a lot to do with Antonio Margheriti being involved since he is famous in Italian horror circles for the gore effects he brings to films. Especially the scene where the male monster (Srdjan Zelenovic) rips open his stomach sutures, exposing his organs in an act of suicide. Very anatomically correct.
Udo Kier is probably the best reason to see this film, however. His hammy acting skills are tops! His version of Frankenstein is so demented, I guess the German accent adds a lot to it. Usually it's an American or English actor who plays Frankenstein so having a real life German (speaking in English, of course) adds to the atmosphere.
And of course Joe Dallesandro's New York accent sounds totally out of place here, just as it did in BLOOD FOR DRACULA. He sounds like a male hustler hanging out in Times Square instead of an Italian stable boy
Also hideous is Monique Van Vooren as Baroness. Good gawd, the Dallesandro character must have been real hard-up in order to sleep with that old hag.
Still, it has decent atmosphere and the Criterion DVD uses a widescreen print that looks crystal along with production stills of the movie, secondary commentary track by Morrissey who has some revealing comments about the film, and some silly, pseudo-intellectual commentary by Maurice Yakowar that a trashy film like this doesn't deserve.
Worth seeing mostly for Kier's presence.
6 out of 10
This was the first of 2 films made in quick succession by Paul
Morrissey in Italy in 1973. Blood for Dracula was the other.
Flesh for Frankenstein was obviously made with it's tongue firmly in it's cheek. It's a step beyond anything Hammer attempted in this genre, especially regarding gore and dodgy accents!
Udo Kier and Arno Juerging are possibly the best comic duo to hit the screens since Abbot & Costello as the Baron and faithful sidekick Otto! Whether fooling around in the lab or scouting for suitable organs they never fail to raise a smile. Kier gets all the best lines, letting us know his views on gall bladders and his plans for the new race he is ..ehm.. putting together.
Monique Van Vooren is more sinister as the Baroness, who initially appears relatively normal, in comparison to her "husband" at least. However her eccentricities become apparent as the film goes on.
Joe Dallesandro is on screen a lot but his character doesn't contribute much to the plot. Presumably his name was used to garner publicity for the film in the US.
The Frankenstein kids take after their parents and are crucial to the twist at the end of the film. The young actors playing the kids do a good job.
The actors playing the Baron's works in progress don't have much to do, even when their characters are brought to life.
Certainly the film will not be to everybody's taste. There is plenty of gore and some dodgy sex scene sound effects. The scene showing the Baron's "interest" in the female creation and her innards pushes the boundaries a bit but it is too over the top to be anything more than comical. So sit back and enjoy this piece of 70's schlock horror.
"Flesh For Frankenstein" of 1973 is a wonderfully grotesque, bloody,
bizarre, creepy, hilarious, artistic and absolutely brilliant slice of
European Exploitation Horror that may not be missed by any lover of
cult-cinema. The first of two takes on classic Horror tales directed by
Paul Morrissey, starring Udo Kier and Joe Dallessandro and
(co-)produced by iconic artist Andy Warhol (the other being "Blood For
Dracula), "Flesh For Frankenstein" (which is sometimes referred to as
"Andy Warhol's Frankenstein") is an Italian/French/American
co-production that simply has to be seen to be believed.
A blend of rich Gothic atmosphere, grotesque artsy imagery, unvarnished sleaze and excessive gore and wonderfully black humor, "Flesh For Frankenstein" is both a tribute to- and satire of earlier Horror greats. At the time of its release, the film was highly controversial for its depiction of sex and gore and even received an X-Rating in the US: No wonder, as this unspeakably morbid little gem features all kinds of demented scenes including explicit perversions, such as necrophilia, all containing a very VERY morbid sense of humor.
Udo Kier shines as a very demented Baron Frankenstein (with a thick German accent), who lives with his sister/wife (!) Katrin (Monique Van Vooren), their two children, as well as his equally demented assistant in a castle in Serbia. Frankenstein plans to create female and a male Zombie from body parts; the natural children of his creations are then to become a perfect race of people. In the meanwhile, the super-potent stable-hand Nicholas (Joe Dallesandro) has sex with every female that crosses his way...
Udo Kier fits perfectly in the role of the Baron - extremely demented, perverted and weird, Frankenstein constantly yells at his assistant for being a pervert. This Baron is dedicated to science and obsessed with results as are other Frankenstein versions in cinema (such as those played by Colin Clive or Peter Cushing), but, unlike these predecessors, he is also demented in every other imaginable way. Udo Kier is definitely one of Germany's greatest actors and doubtlessly THE remaining expert for sinister and eccentric characters since Klaus Kinski passed away. He is truly great here. Monique van Vooren is also very good as the Baron's equally malicious sister/wife - van Vooren looks very young for her age (she was 48 when the film was made), but also really weird, since she has no eyebrows. Italian Horror enthusiasts will notice that the Frankenstein couple's daughter is played by Nicoletta Elmi, who was in many other cult-classics such as Dario Argento's "Profondo Rosso" (1975), Mario Bava's "Bay of Blood" (1971) and "Baron Blood" (1972), as well as Aldo Lado's Giallo "Who Saw Her Die?" (1972).
"Flesh For Frankenstein" is a film that is very gory and outrageously morbid for its day. When I first saw it, some scenes even reminded me of Joe D'Amato's 1979 shocker "Buio Omega" (though this film isn't quite AS demented and sick as D'Amato's film). IMDb and some other sources credit Italian Horror deity Antonio Margheriti, who happens to be an idol of mine, as co-director of this film; however, it appears that Margheriti was merely credited to draw Italian viewers into cinemas, and had little to nothing to do with the actual production of the film. Either way, this is a must-see. "Flesh For Frankenstein" is a wonderfully bizarre, atmospheric, gory, demented, morbid, incredibly (and VERY darkly) funny film, that MUST be seen by all cult-cinema fans, and, personally, I cannot understand how anyone could not love it. My rating: 10/10
Paul Morrissey´s film is probably the most unusual adaptation of the well-known Frankenstein-stuff I´ve ever seen! The story is about the mad scientist (likewise to his "Blood for Dracula"-role Udo Kier´s giving another outstanding performance, what makes him being the most culty German actor next to the inimitable Klaus Kinski!), who wants to create two artificial creatures to father some children. However, the experiment runs out of control, his sister/mother of his son and daughter starts having an affair with her servant and finally the whole plot ends in a big disaster... In comparison to James Whale´s "Frankenstein" from 1931 starring horror-icon Boris Karloff there´s nothing left from the romantic charm of the original. Director Paul Morrissey´s movie has created a bizarre and creepy scenario that contains a plenty of blood and guts, grotesque humor, hinted incest and love to dead bodies. Some calm and tender moments are in a gross contrast to the rest of the film. The end is bloody and pretty macabre. After all a very provoking, but nevertheless a really recommended mixture between splatter and art !
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If Ken Russell, Mario Bava, and Luis Bunuel had collaborated on a film the results wouldn't have been much different from "Flesh for Frankenstein." This movie should be required viewing for all pre-med students: if they can take this, they should be ready to dissect corpses. Not since "Sin City" have I seen limbs and organs strewed around the screen so cheerfully. Unlike "Sin City," which had a kabuki, stylized quality that blunted much of the horror, "Flesh for Frankenstein" has an unabashed nastiness that doesn't pull any punches. At the same time it's beautifully photographed; like much Italian giallo (Bava, Argento) even the most horrific images are rendered eerily beautiful by the lush color and widescreen. Udo Kier plays Baron Frankenstein as a proto-Nazi obsessed with creating a master race; Monique Van Vooren is deliciously campy as his oversexed wife and Joe Dallesandro, with his flat Brooklyn accent, resembles a young Marlon Brando as Nicholas the stable boy, the only decent human being in the film. Many have commented that he was out of place in the movie, but that was the point: he was the all-American good guy lost in a world of sleek but slimy eurotrash. Particularly disturbing were the two almost-mute children, who resemble nothing so much as Wednesday and Pugsley Addams. Like Bunuel's "Viridiana" there is an unmistakable hint of incest: the Baron and Katharine are clearly brother and sister, and they seem to be grooming their children to take their place. This movie joins "Salo" and "El Topo" in the pantheon of disturbing 70s cult films.
This messy little splatter-fest was heavily censored in most markets
back in the 70s and fully restored its wildly lurid visuals can still
shock. The movie is all about the visuals and the splatter, and is so
over the top that it gets a bit silly. The exploitation elements of the
Frankenstein story - the grave-robbing, the obsessive experiments in
mad science - have never been this wildly exploited and manage to
straddle spoofery and shock cinema about equally well. This is not to
say that this is in any way a good movie. It's almost a joke on the
audience. The script is complete trash, straight out of a bad Gothic
novel and probably meant to be laughed at, but played straight-faced by
the film's 'actors'. The 'acting' is pretty horrible. Udo Keir is his
usual creepy Eurotrash self and even moderately effective in a one-note
performance, but he's the only cast member who has any business being
in a period piece. Everybody else, especially Warhol protégé and gay
icon Joe Dallesandro, is just too urban-contemporary (not to mention
inexperienced) to pull off a 19th century look or 19th century speech.
The women look decorative and shed their tops fairly often, but don't
look for a romantic subplot or a strong female character because there
aren't any. As straight-forward drama, this movie would get about 1/2 a
My rating is based on its effectiveness as an exercise in subverting audience expectations and slamming the Gothic horror genre which, after 15 straight years of Hammer and Roger Corman, had become a bit ripe.
Well. we can only speculate what Mary Shelley would have made of this!
By the time it came to the early 1970's there was a peculiar trend in
European genre cinema for erotic/sleazy Frankenstein films. Amongst
others there was The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein and Frankenstein '80
both from 1972 so it can be not too much of a surprise that a year
later came the king of this very specific sub-genre, the one and only
Flesh For Frankenstein. It was famously produced by New York Pop artist
Andy Warhol, along with the similar Blood For Dracula. But it's a far
cry from Warhol's other art films and unsurprisingly his creative input
was pretty negligible. It was filmed in Cinecittà studios in Rome and
directed by Warhol acolyte, Paul Morrissey. But irrespective of who did
what and why, the main thing about this one is that it's a bona fide
trash classic of the very best kind.
Its blood and guts galore and transgressive sex all the way. But it's all presented in a camp manner that simply has to be seen to be believed. The acting ranges from insanely over-the-top (Udo Kier) to hilariously under-the-top (Joe Dallesandro). What makes it so very funny is that despite the sheer ridiculousness of proceedings everybody plays it deadpan straight. We have Kier fully committed and out of control as the Nazi-like Baron who dreams of making a new master race; Dallesandro is a local shepherd stud with a hilariously out of place New York accent he seems more like a Times Square street hustler than a character from the early 19th century; then there is Arno Juering in a bewildering performance as the eye-popping Otto, assistant to the Baron; Monique Van Vooren makes an impression too as the Baron's over-sexed wife/sister; even the couples incestual offspring are memorably creepy, the little girl being the one and only Nicoletta Elmi who appeared in dozens of Italian horror and giallo flicks in the early 70's.
Flesh For Frankenstein was also noteworthy for being one of the members of the infamous video nasty list, which of course was a selection of movies deemed criminally obscene by the British authorities back in the early 80's. It's an example of an entry from this list where you sort of understand why it caused offence in the first place. Not only does it have a healthy dose of explicit gore including a hilariously over-the-top finale but it is wilfully transgressive in other outrageous ways with the brother/sister-husband/wife incest plot strand and the baron's necrophiliac behaviour with his zombie creations. Of course, all of this excessive content, funny performances and insane dialogue adds up to a must-see movie for anyone with a passing interest in Euro horror from the schlockier end of the scale. On top of all of this, it's actually a quite handsome looking film, which is perhaps unsurprising given its Cinecittà origins. Suffice to say that all of this adds up to a cult film, truly worthy of the tag. Its additionally well worth seeking out its sister film Blood For Dracula, which is slightly less psychotronic but equally indispensable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Trying to dissect, Flesh for Frankenstein is like trying to figure out the meaning of the artist, Andy Warhol's pop art, can painting. Since Andy Warhol finance the movie, and some of the actors were once party the 1960s's Factory Superstars. The movie is somewhat market as Andy Warhol's Frankenstein. The movie was directed/written by Paul Morrisey, and for the most part, all of Morrisey's ideas. If it was all Andy Warhol's ideas, the film would look more like 1963's Sleep, 1964's Blow Job or the infamous 1964's Empire. All these avant-garde films were just long shots of something being film for long periods of time. The film would be so mundane. It's only when Paul Morrisey start to help Andy Warhol's films, do we get any sense of story such in the case of 1968's Lonesome Cowboys, 1970's Heat, and others. Paul Morrissey took over the film-making chores for the Factory collective after Andy Warhol got shot in 1968, steering Warhol-branded cinema towards more mainstream, narrative-based, B-movie exploitation fare to try to make money off of this films. He even film the, then X-Rated movie, in 3D to get people to watch this explicit sexuality and violence film. The movie's nudity and violence are indeed graphic, but not X-Rated material. The film was later cut to 93 minutes for an R-rating. It's often, pair with sister movie, 1974's Blood for Dracula at the time, for double feature. The U.S. DVD releases have utilized the full uncut version, which is now unrated. If you want to check that out. While, the movie does share some of the same characters of the Mary Shelley's Frankenstein novel. The two are way, different. This movie has Baron von Frankenstein (Udo Kier) neglects his duties towards his wife/sister Katrin (Monique van Vooren), as he is obsessed with creating a perfect Serbian race to obey his commands. He does this by assembling a perfect male and female from parts of corpses to have them having intercourse. It's seem like it was trying to be a smart art-house film, that it's somewhat get lost with the slow pace delivery in exploitation grindhouse film. The way, the movie delivers this plot, is hysterical camp with horrible acting and bad special effects. The gruesomeness of the action with several disembowelments being shot from a 3D perspective was laughable. Udo Kier sounds and acts like a mix between Peter Lorre, Ren from Ren & Stimpy, and Tommy Wiseau. It's really hard to understand what he is saying. The supporting cast deliver their lines with less emotion. Even with the gross, Necrophilia and incest theme. With better actors and special effects, the doctor's sublimation of his sexual urges by his powerful urge for domination could had work. The movie really does mirror, Adolf Hitler in his lust of power. You see it through symbolism like trying to find the right nose for the creature. Like Baron, Hitler found Jews to be inadequate and often brand them with long untrusting noses. The movie has a powerful message about sexually repressed leading to social disembowelment. Indeed, maybe, Hitler lack of sex, did cause the world to go into war. It's hard to take the sex scenes, serious. Especially when his wife/sister is sucking on a guy's armpit with odd sound effects. It get weirder as the gallbladder is use as a sex object in this film. I think its hints to Andy Warhol's survival after the botch assassination. Indeed, Andy Warhol's lungs, his spleen, stomach, liver, and esophagus were hit. Hints why the lungs were on the desk in the film. While, he did survive, the effects of it would haunt him for the rest of his life. Andy Warhol was known to have recurring gallbladder problems after the shooting. Indeed, it was his delay of a check-up that might cause his death in 1987 after routine gallbladder surgery. The ending to the film is very powerful with how generations and generations would continue to repeat the same mistakes. The movie does have some good things about it, seeing how rushed it was made in production, with 1 month of shooting, it's was mostly shot beautifully with divine music score to go with it. Overall: While the movie was trying to be a smart satire of horror movies. Somebody's derped with their work, and it didn't deliver how what they really wanted. Still, it's worth watching, if you're an Andy Warhol or Frankenstein fan.
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