If you are a fan of Back to The Future, Night of the Living Dead, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, or maybe even another B offering from a few years ago, Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula, I am reasonably certain you will like this one. The story line is simple and far-fetched enough to be great fun: a young man and an even younger boy are thrown back into time 150 years, right into the thick of the American Civil War. To stretch credibility even further, an "army" of Frankenstein clones are produced to combat the "bad" monsters, all created by a greenish serum brought from the future. The goals of our heroes are to 1. Assist in helping the North win the Civil War 2. Make it safely home to the 21st century, and 3. Meet their ancestors. Do not assume any of this is necessarily in that order.
You do not a need a detailed critique of this film for several reasons, the main one being, this is a low budget B film and should be judged as such. It is grossly unfair to compare such a film to higher budget, Hollywood productions and I hate to see that when it happens, which is, sadly, pretty often. Also, I do not wish for you to know too much more about plot and story. As they say in show business, "Leave 'em wanting more," and so I shall. Instead, I offer comments and my impressions of what is a fun film to watch.
The young boy who played Igor, Christian Bellgardt, stole the show. I am certain his father, writer/director Ryan Bellgardt, did not plan for that, but what a nice surprise for both of them. Young Bellgardt has a future in acting, and I hope he stays interested enough to pursue it.
Oklahoma horror legend John "Count Gregore" Ferguson has a fairly small but important role as the mad scientist, Dr. Tanner Finski. Many years ago, Mr. Ferguson's career path took a turn towards Oklahoma, and here we see what might have been . . . if. John Ferguson could easily have been John Carradine, and it was good to him in a substantial screen role, one he handled very well.
The special effects were pretty good. I liked the occasional use of filtered lens for a rose tint look in spots, and Solomon's (portrayed by Rett Terrell) arm cannon was very enjoyable. The story was meaningful and poignant at times, campy and fun at other times. The beard on the villainous Confederate officer resembles a large piece of steel wool and the scene where the soldier caught a cannonball and threw it back the other way reminded me of an old Republic serial I viewed many years ago. Dialogue was embellished and over the top in a fun way in places, but the underlying theme of the entire story was the young boy Igor's loss of innocence for many reasons not of his own doing.
The story creators toyed around with what I will call, for lack of a better term, a combination alternate/revisionist history of facts pertaining to that era. You will have to view the film to see what I mean. All in all, they stayed true to history, within context of a fiction story.
I am hoping Mr. Bellgardt will add a director's commentary audio to future releases of the DVD.
You may learn more about this film on Facebook. Look for the Army of Frankensteins page.