Saturday, February 7, 2009

Frankenhooker (1990)

Director: Frank Henenlotter

Writers: Robert Martin, Frank Henenlotter

Composer: Joe Renzetti

Starring: James Lorinz, Patty Mullen, Joanne Ritchie, J.J. Clark, C.K. Steefel, Shirl Bernheim, Judy Grafe, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Louise Lasser

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Wanna Date?

Plot: A medical school dropout loses his fiancée in a tragic lawnmower incident, and decides to bring her back. Unfortunately, he was only able to save her head, so he goes to the red light district in the city and lures prostitutes (with his new homemade super crack) into a hotel room so he can get parts for his girlfriend.

My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Do televangelists love prostitutes?

This movie rocks! There's no other way to exclaim it. It's quirky fun from beginning to end. If the plot outline (and title) isn't enough to give you an idea as to what your getting into, how about the following:

Not too far into the picture Jeffrey Franken's (Lorinz) fiance is killed by one of Franken's inventions - a remote controlled lawnmower. It makes the local TV news.

Newscaster: In a blaze of blood, bones, and body parts, the vivacious young girl was instantly reduced to a tossed human salad... a salad that police are still trying to gather up... a salad that was once named Elizabeth.

The girls go cuckoo for super crack!

So what do you do with a room full of hookers? Blow 'em up!

"I'm Sorry."

FRANKENHOOKER is a tour de force for Lorinz. He's hysterical and hits all of the right notes as the mad scientist dropout. He's a stitch throughout the entire picture. And then there's Patty Mullen as his girl, Elizabeth. In the scenes before she's Frankenhooker, she's kind of hit and miss. She doesn't seem like that great of an actress but after the transformation, she delivers one of the funniest performances I've ever seen and I've seen dozens. Her mannerisms, facial expressions/ticks, walk, line delivery - the works. Frankenhooker needs to have my babies.

If there's bad acting from any of the other actors, and there is some, it's completely OK and it's not distracting at all. If anything, it adds to the flavor. This is camp and it's fun as hell. You want nudity and lots of it? You got it. You want gore and lots of it? You got it. You want 85 minutes of non-stop laughter? You got it and in spades. I can't say enough about this relatively unknown film.

Way back when I was in college I worked part time at a mom & pop video store. I loved it. One day this film showed up. The cover box (VHS) featured Frankenhooker on the streets of NY and somewhere on her body (her stomach, I think) there was a raised bump that said, "PRESS HERE". When you did you heard her say, "Wanna date?" That's all I needed to take that movie home that night and laugh my ass clean off. I wish I had that box today. It's hysterical and a brilliant marketing move.

I can't stop before mentioning the writer/director Frank Henenlotter. This guy's on my list of all-time favorite film makers. He's only w/d'd 6 films since his debut with BASKET CASE in 1982. It pains me to say that these are the only two of his movies that I've seen. Besides BC and it's two sequels, he also has BRAIN DAMAGE (1988) and BAD BIOLOGY (2008). 6 films in 26 years isn't much but so far the quality of what I've seen is out of the fucking park. Classics.

1 comment:

  1. I thought I was really going to hate this movie. But it was funny! And I really loved the girl who played Frankenhooker. She was awesome!