Doctor Hackenstein (1988)
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A scientist accidentally kills his wife, so the whole movie takes place over the course of one night as he attempts to revive his wife. To revive his wife, he decides to chop off body parts from some women that have become stranded and, coincidentally, decide to stay the night at his place.
I can't really say the acting is bad, nor is the directing. Everything here is just way too standard. What little attempts there are at humor actually work (check out the scene when Hackenstein keeps hiding behind his deaf assistant because she would undoubtedly be very upset if she saw him clutching a woman and a needle), but that's hardly enough to recommend this film. The music is decent, what blood that's there is decent, and the cast looks quite good. And for half of the time, I was even entertained by this film. But I never felt like this was anything more than a time waster. Avoidable.
Try Frankenhooker instead.
It almost seems like destiny that I should see this movie. I gasped when the credits started with Vista Street Entertainment and shuddered in fear when I saw the "Executive Producer Jerry Feifer" credit. Yup, this is the first film from Feifer, who used this to get a foot in the industry to create the WITCHCRAFT films, a series of 13 movies of which I descended into hell to watch. Hell, the main location is even the familiar WITCHCRAFT house. Knowing my luck, I'll probably inherit it. Anyway, this is as polished as the first WITCHCRAFT and has the same video wipes. The acting is tons better with Muir and Travis being very capable leads. In addition to Anne Ramsey, you have Phyllis Diller pop up for one scene. Plus, you get some nudity (thankfully not from Ramsey or Diller) and semi-gory KNB effects work. Writer-director Richard Clark puts some effort into the 1912 setting. Unfortunately, he can't decide on a tone. Is it a comedy? Serious horror? Who knows? He gets points automatically deducted for including a "Dr. Hacken-steen?"/"No, it is it Hack-en-stiiiiiine" exchange. None of this is helped by an oppressively plucky score by Randy Miller, who also did the scores on WITCHCRAFT and WITCHERY.
Written & directed by Richard Clark I was pleasantly surprised by Dr. Hackenstein, I'll state right now that it ain't brilliant by any stretch of the imagination but for what it was I actually quite liked it. It moves at a reasonable pace even if it does tend to drag a little bit during it's middle as things settle down. The script tries to mix slapstick humour like a scene when Dr. Hackenstein is trying to restrain Melanie & she tries to gain the attention of his deaf housekeeper Yolanda Simpson (Catherine Cahn) by kicking out & Hackenstein keeping Melanie behind Yolanda's back who is seemingly oblivious to what's happening, with a touch of gore but I'd say Dr. Hackenstein is more of a comedy than horror in conception & feel throughout. There are some tacky puns & sexual innuendo as well which are always good for a laugh, Dr. Hackenstein to Wendy "would you like to see my instruments" as an example. I also thought the scene when Mrs Trilling (Phyllis Diller) reports her missing daughter's to the bemused detective Olin (William Schreiner) was a pretty amusing sequence going round in circle's talking about why he isn't looking for them even though he has only just been told, why the cell doesn't have a prisoner in it & that if he didn't find the cousin not to worry about it. None of it's flat laugh-out-loud but I must admit I found myself smiling on occasion & found the film as whole to be quietly amusing. There isn't a lot of on screen gore, a few severed limbs, Sheila's decapitated head, some medical stitching & those skinned animals which are definitely fake by the way. I liked the characters in Dr. Hackenstein too, which was surprise in itself. The acting isn't brilliant but to give everyone credit they put some effort into it, lots of exaggerated facial movements & some serious overacting means it's never dull, oh & the three birds in Dr. Hackenstein are fit if you know what I mean. Technically the film is OK as well, once again it ain't going to win any Oscars but I have to give the filmmakers at least some credit for trying to pull off a turn of the century period setting. It doesn't always work, the clothes are at odds with each other at times, the girls look like their from Victorian England while the guys look like their from a western. The house looks as if all the filmmakers did was remove any modern object from the room & stick a few candles in there! It comes across as a little bit on the cheap side but it really isn't a bad looking film at all considering. Could have done without the comedy music though. Overall I ended up enjoying Dr. Hackenstein much more than I thought I would, although that in itself isn't a recommendation. It's certainly is not the best comedy horror film ever made & it certainly is not the worst either. A watchable enough piece of harmless fun.
I found this to be mildly amusing, nothing at all to actually go out of your way for (I stumbled across it on Netflix instant view & streamed it to the xbox 360), but better then I expected it to be for a Troma acquired film. Most of the humor doesn't work, but their are still some parts that caused me to smile. Plus the late, great Anne Ramsey has a small part and she was always a treat to watch.
Eye Candy: Bambi Darro & Sylvia Lee Baker got topless
My Grade: D+