|Index||8 reviews in total|
Frankenstein, or variations on the original Mary Shelley novel, have
been told and retold again and again on film since Edison Studios
produced the first Frankenstein film in 1910. From Van Helsing to Young
Frankenstein to Re-Animator to Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, there
are arguably hundreds of titles to choose from that have adapted ideas
from Shelley's original text. The latest of such is The Frankenstein
Syndrome, a new film starring Ed Lauter, Tiffany Shepis, Louis Mandylor
and Scott Anthony Leet.
The premise is interesting in its modern day approach. A group of researchers, which recently brought aboard scientist Elizabeth Barnes (Shepis) into the fold, are conducting illegal stem cell research in a secret location. Their research runs the risk of the doctors and scientists being ostracized and even prosecuted harshly by law if their research methods were made public. However, with the notion of being able to regenerate dead tissue and its impact to the medical profession, the scientists are willing to waive some ethical notions for what they consider to be the better good.
We begin to get an idea of just how eagerly twisted the project engulfs when we learn of vagrants and runaways that are locked away and used for the cultivation of human stem cells. But things take a more serious turn when they begin human trials and more specifically with a test subject by the name of David Doyle. David is a beast of a man to begin with and works as part of the labs security team. But when an accident leads to Doyle's attempts to sue to establishment, he is instantly murdered and used in the team's experiments.
The stem cell serum works better than any could have predicted and Doyle regains full consciousness. But they soon learn that he has other powers as well. Doyle is able to read minds and can move things telepathically. Add in his psychosis and treatment as a captive and you have the basis for grizzly behavior.
Doyle soon takes revenge on the team (except for his 'mother' Victoria played by Patti Tindall) and you can expect blood and pain to be part of his reprisal.
The Frankenstein Syndrome is played in flashback as the film opens with the Shepis character (wearing a mask and occupying a wheelchair for reasons to be revealed in the final chapter) giving a deposition as to events that occurred in the lab. Director Sean Tretta (The Greatest American Snuff Film) does a good job of developing characters and allowing the audience to connect to the cast.
There is violence in The Frankenstein Syndrome, but unlike most direct-to-DVD horrors it doesn't trump the story or engulf the characters. The screenplay (also by Sean Tretta) can take credit for most of the films triumphs. The dialogue is genuine and, at times, intelligent and helps propel the film from the ordinariness of its peers.
The Frankenstein Syndrome might not go down as one of the top 10 Frankenstein films of all-time, but it is a worthy entry. And one that definitely entertains its audience of Igors.
This movie is a bit scientifically ignorant, which might offend some
people who are hoping for a science fiction story, and the
philosophical / ethical questions are rather simplistic, but it's still
enjoyable for what it is (a mad scientist movie, in the Frankenstein
tradition). Basically, a group of ethically challenged researchers
decide that they're going to muck around with illegal stem cell
research. When things go wrong and bodies start to pile up, a unique
opportunity presents itself, Herbert West-style: re-animating the
cadavers of troublemakers who got in the way. Unfortunately, I thought
the movie started to lose credibility here, as it started to take on
more and more fantastical elements. I guess that if you're willing to
buy into re-animating the dead, it shouldn't be such a leap to accept
the whole supernatural twist that this movie takes near the middle
(and, especially, the end), but what really annoyed me was that they
trotted out that dumb "we only use 10% of our brain" myth. Ugh. I hate
that. Much of the later film seems to hinge of this, and, once again,
the man who can use all 100% of his brain turns out to be capable of
psychic powers. This is complete nonsense, of course, but is it any
more nonsensical than re-animating the dead, using stem cells?
Eventually, I just gave up on this movie saying anything intelligent
and treated it as a silly supernatural film, no more scientific than a
haunted house or demonic possession story. After that point, I think I
liked it better, because there really isn't anything deep here at all.
If you're actually looking for an examination on medical ethics, a
science fiction thriller, or extreme gore (there's a bit of gore, but
it's not that bad), I'd suggest you skip The Frankenstein Syndrome. TFS
is actually a pretty enjoyable movie, once you get past the
technobabble and laughable "science", but it's certainly nothing that's
going to make you ponder deep thoughts or strike up conversations with
The acting and special effects were quite good, though the writing and directing were a bit uneven, unfortunately. Some of the things that the director had the actors yelling at each other were a bit unintentionally funny, but the actors did make it work. So, I figure that's good for a 7/10. I'd be curious to see what the director does next, but I'm not quite a fan yet.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, you've read correctly: One of the reanimated corpses in this sorry
effort turns water into wine and heals the sick. On top of that, he can
also read thoughts, move objects with his mind, and has an eidetic
memory. And of course he kills people on occasion, what with him being
a zombie and all, which happens in a very unspectacular fashion that is
almost devoid of gore and special effects.
There is little rhyme or reason to the actions and motivations of this strange modern Frankenstein, which can also be said about the movie as a whole. I had the impression that Sean Tretta mainly set out to (or was paid to) produce a movie that thoroughly demonizes stem cell research, without doing any research of his own or bothering to at least turn this nonsense into a sufficiently gory and/or humorous B horror movie.
The story is quickly told: An unscrupulous team of scientists conduct illegal research on the stem cells of embryos that are forcefully extracted from the wombs of artificially inseminated female drug addicts and illegal immigrants, who are held captive at a jail-like secret research facility and have to undergo these cruel and completely unethical procedures without anesthesia. Because everybody knows that this is how medical research usually works, right? Especially research that involves OMG STEM CELLS THAT HAVE TINY LITTLE SOULS. How could those scientists not be completely evil and worse than Hitler?
Fast forward to the first successful drug trial. A dead human heart in a petri dish is soaked in an embryo smoothie and starts to beat, without the need for pesky things like electric impulses or other simulated nerve signals. So much for the scientific accuracy of the movie and the director's / script author's basic understanding of biology. After one of the captive human embryo incubators commits suicide, the same magical stem cell smoothie is pumped into her veins and turns the poor woman into a mindless zombie.
I'll cut it short and spare the reader the rather boring details. Suffice to say that there is very little in the gore department, and the movie completely fails to create any suspense or tension. After the first zombie is disposed of, the experiment is repeated on a corpse that was shot in the head by an illegal organ trafficker who works for the evil scientists. They just can't be evil and unethical enough it seems. It is this second reanimated corpse that turns into the above-mentioned superpowered mixture of Frankenstein's monster, Charles Xavier and Jesus, and who eventually kills most of the facility members.
Don't ask me how I managed to sit through this mind-numbing waste of celluloid. Perhaps it was the surprisingly decent acting of scream queen Tiffany Shepis and some other members of the cast, who didn't let the ridiculous script get in the way of their acting performances. Their efforts are the only reason that I'm giving this awful mess two stars. Needless to say that I really wouldn't recommend watching this convoluted nonsense. You're better off renting Reanimator for the nth time, or perhaps Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Another version of Frankenstein, you say? I know what you mean -- if I
had a dime for every version of Frankenstein or Dracula that came out,
I would be a very rich man. This one has a bit of a twist, actually and
it's not the worst by a long shot. It's been done better though, mind
you, with H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator.
The movie starts at the end and is told via flashbacks by Dr. Elizabeth Barnes (Horror Scream Queen Tiffany Shepis). She is in a wheelchair and her face is covered, so you know that's going to be a big reveal at the end. She is being interrogated by some FBI agents to give her deposition (I guess) about just what exactly went down in that science lab. She begins to spin a yarn about how she was hired by Dr. Walton (Lauter) to do some extensive stem cell research. She knows the risks, she knows the stakes, but her mother is sick and she wants her to have the best care possible, so she agrees to work (and live) in his facility, cut off from the modern world in every way possible. Once there, she meets her fellow colleagues and they get to work. They finally come up with a serum that regenerates living tissue and it's when they start playing God that everything goes to hell in a hand basket.
Not really much to say about this one. The production values are above average for a straight-to-DVD release, the acting is just mediocre -- no one character really stands out above the rest. I was kind of bored and had to force myself to keep watching. Once they had the serum and started injecting it into people that just died, it got kind of silly. I know Re-Animator did the same thing, but they didn't take themselves seriously and had a lot of fun with the movie -- this movie, though, it's almost like they want you to believe that this could actually happen if someone were given the testing and research capabilities.
I watched it less than 10 hours ago and already some parts are fading from memory, mainly because there was nothing there to hold my attention or interest me long enough to actually enjoy it. Maybe if they put some more effort into the characters, I would have liked it more but since there was no one to care about in the film, I didn't really care what was going on with their experiments. About the only thing really interesting in this version is the person David (Leet) becomes after all the experiments are said and done. It's their very own little Frankenstein. More reviews at www.soveryterry.com Final Grade: C-
By doing illegal stem cell research a group finally discover the cell
to recreate life. By experiment they failed many times but when one of
the men, David, is being shot after he accuses the researchers of
illegal processes he's been taken to give him the cell to give him life
Oh yes, this is pure Frankenstein or Re-Animator stuff but sadly with a few common names in it it just didn't work out. With the mediocre acting by all thespians you just don't care about any one. And the fact that their is a lot of talking doesn't make it easier.
David slowly learn things and becomes more and more aggressive. The only thing you want to know is the fact why Elisabeth is wearing a mask when she's been interrogate by the cops.
It never really becomes gory, sure, some are shot in the head but it's a bit low on the horror site. The only thing that this movie does is make you think about cell research to create the perfect human. The problem is that most of the killing is done off-screen. You see the blood spurt and hear a head being crushed by David's hands. I guess you know what I mean. It's only the last 15 minutes that are really worth watching but by then it is too late, the Prometheus project failed.
Gore 1/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 2/5 Story 2,5/5 Comedy 0/5
After joining an illegal group of doctors to find a way to improve stem
cell research, a woman finds the latest experiments bring the dead back
to life and the one test subject chosen gets stronger and more violent
over time, threatening the quality of their work.
This was an extremely disappointing effort, mostly due to the fact that the film's decided route makes for an incredibly unsatisfactory effort. Making the investigation of the team into their research and how they deal with each other isn't interesting or enjoyable, making for the first half of the film to have hardly anything worthwhile. Once it switches over into the regeneration angle, it's still quite a bit of time before the creature goes berserk as they spend a great deal of time treating and studying the subject, and it's really only the last ten minutes or so where it turns into a bloodbath when he goes crazy in the facility. That there's more damage done by a member of the team than the titular creature is another problematic point, and most of the scientific mumbo-jumbo is pretty headache-inducing if not inclined to follow along, but as mentioned, the last ten minutes are pretty good with the creature going through the facility killing them off one-by-one, but it's really too late to be of much use and leaving this one woefully underwhelming.
Rated R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Perfect for the anti stem cell crowd--embryonic or not; it begins with
the premise that all stem cell research is illegal, done in extreme
secrecy, and by people, some of whom exhibit personalities worthy of a
vampire costume. Lots of religious hokum is thrown in as things
A top mega-built guard is shot(dead), but is given some super-cell serum, can turn water into "fruit punch", read minds, and will equipment to turn on and off, doors to lock/unlock, etc.
The film could be a real treat for some blood & guts tea-party yokels.
As it is, it's a fun watch; the acting is just this side of silly, but never crosses the line, well sort of. The writers have done a tight job given what they're working with.
This film is absolute, complete and utter garbage.
I was feeling particularly suicidal today so suffered through it with 3 extended vodka shot breaks.
1st - tripods exist for a reason.
2nd - the sOuNd recording and mixing is all over the place. Dreadful.
3rd - the story .. um .. what story? Oh and is there a music soundtrack? Not that I could hear between the aUdIo levels all over the place. How can you have mood without music? Perhaps the last 3 minutes of the film should have been the start.
Avoid at all costs! A disgrace to the genre.
|Parents Guide||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|