Blackenstein | Varied Celluloid

Blackenstein

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 15 - 2008
This review was originally written between 2003-2006 and has since been slightly edited. The opinion remains the same as the original posting, but slight errors have been revised or smoothed out.

Plot Outline: Winifred Walker, a female scientist, shows up on the doorsteps of Dr. Stein (GET IT!?!?!?) in hopes that he can somehow help her boyfriend who lost his arms and legs after stepping on a mine in Vietnam. The doctor, who has made miraculous discoveries in the world of DNA, assures her that he can. Meanwhile Dr. Stein’s assistant Malcolm has become obsessed with Winifred and eventually lets her know his love for her. She refuses him and so he decides to get some revenge. He switches Winifred’s boyfriend’s DNA with some other more dangerous DNA and thus makes her boyfriend a monster. The monster goes crazy, kills a bunch of people, the end.


  


The Review
Before deciding to write this review, I at first thought of just writing “OUCH” in very large letters and rating it a zero, but changed my mind because I want to warn as many people about this movie as possible. When I first saw the flick I, like many before myself, was expecting a fun blaxploitation flick. This movie however doesn’t even deserve that moniker. This might outright be the most boring feature I have ever seen. It’s not the worst however, for that there is plenty of stiff competition with flicks such as The Godmonster of Indian Flats, but with most of the others that would top my list of “worst movies ever made” they are at least enjoyable because of how poorly made they are. Blackenstein on the other hand is just a dread to sit through. It took me three tries to finally watch it and I’m not sure why I bothered to finish it at all.

Where to start when dealing with such an incompetent film? I think I’ll start with ol’ Blackenstein himself. Look, I’ve seen bad acting in my time, but this guy… man! I think he was picked for the role because of his obvious size, but he is possibly the least intimidating monster ever to grace the screen. I mean, it’s worse than just bad acting. It’s non-acting. He looks like he’s in a coma when he delivers his lines. He has absolutely no personality at all. In the way that Troma usually takes things ‘over the top’, this guy is ‘under the dirt’ in his levels of underacting. He genuinely looks like he is asleep, but someone painted eyeballs over his eye lids. Everyone else delivers the usual bad acting, but if the razzie awards weren’t full of idiots (I mean Depalma getting a worst direction nom for scarface?) this guy would be inaugurated into the hall of fame. His size is impressive though, despite his abilities. I personally hope he never reads this… I get the feeling even though he’s probably old he’d still beat me up.

Alright, I guess we’ll talk about the direction… or lack thereof. In the film there’s a scene where we watch Blackenstein escape from his room and walk into town where he kills a bunch of teens or what have you (that’s his ‘thing’, of course). Well, in the scene we watch as he walks across some parking lot during sunset, but the guy walks so slow and we watch the entire process! The scene eats up what seems like an eternity, and the director never cuts! We established that he was walking, we don’t need to watch every second of it. Then the director has the same scene later in the film, again! Showing the elaborate ‘walking’ process in all of its intricate detail. That’s essentially what the film is: A serious of awkward and boring scenes strung together in order to eat up time to make short-film into a feature length production. Half the time you can’t even see anything because of how badly lit the film was, so that could almost be construed as a positive. Add to this fact, the film was made extremely cheap even for a 70’s era horror movie and no one has taken care of the original film-stock so you get one scratchy, washed out looking, very bad movie.

Not to continue the ragging, but another awkward moment in the movie is definitely the talent show segment. Well, I take that it was a talent show. I’m not really sure what it is. Near the end of the movie Blackenstein escapes (again) and reaks havoc (again) but this time he does it outside of a bar, where we for some unknown reason have to watch what happens inside. We watch as a man tells an incredibly corny joke about a talking dog, then we sit through a blues performance by some lady. I think it was the theme song to the movie but I forget. Anyway, I assume that these were people who helped fund the film or were simply close to the director. This is the scene that topped everything for me. This has no bearing on anything that happens in the movie and is obviously tacked onto the project in order to further pad the running time. I can’t think of any legitimate reason for it to be in the film. The guy who tells the dog joke later sees Blackenstein and reports him, but why did we have to know who he is? The simple answer: we don’t and there’s no excusing the obvious padding that this movie forces us to endure.

The Conclusion
The only way I can recommend this in the least is if you’re a masochist who likes extremely bad films. If you’re a drinking man then I suppose there’s a slight possibility that this could be moved up to a rating of one, but watching this sober is not recommended. Just stay away from it… stay far, far away.



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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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