Frankenhooker | Varied Celluloid

Frankenhooker

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 6 - 2008
The Plot: Frankie (GET IT!? Frankie, Frankenhooker… BRILLIANT!) works for the electrical company by day – but during his spare time; he is a scientist/doctor with abilities far greater than that of your average. His latest projects have revolved around the human brain and giving it life post-death. However, once his wife dies in an unfortunate lawnmower accident – his plans are escalated as he sets about to bring her back to the world of the living. His plan? Get together a enough human body parts in time for the big electrical storm that is going to be hitting in the next two days. However, since he doesn’t know the number for any black market dealers – he has to go out and do it the only way he knows how… kill a bunch of hookers with SUPER CRACK! With that, the movie goes from being simply great, to being downright AWESOME!



The Review: I guess I’ve sort of been on a Frank Henenlotter kick here lately, watching/reviewing the Basket Case sequels and now I’m finally getting around to this other classic piece of Henlotter… well, I don’t know what you would call Frankenhooker. All I can really say is that Henenlotter really does make films his own way. The thing that strikes me about his films are the atmosphere he carries into them, and his unique take on New York and that whole area. There have been plenty of filmmakers who have focused on the gritty side of the city and shown us all of that before – but Henenlotter shows us those dirty streets, but after filling your brain with laughing gas and setting you out into the public. There’s a very strange atmosphere in these films, the violence is considerably gory and the acting is over the top and almost into that Troma level of absurdity but it’s as if Henenlotter keeps his cast from going so far over the edge that their performances become that of a joke. He simply entertains the audience with the cartoon elements and buzzes us back into reality with the dilapidated surroundings and gruesome gore effects. How can you not respect this director? With Frankenhooker… this is Henenlotter unleashed! This is either above or on level with the first Basket Case film or Brain Damage. It’s a neurotic and bizarre masterpiece of bad taste, cheese and complete brilliance all rolled into one. I find it so hard to describe just what it is about the man’s work and what it is that makes these films so darn entertaining; aside from the obvious such as Super Crack and exploding hookers (which is guaranteed entertainment no matter what film it’s in). It’s the bizarre mix, of that atmosphere I mentioned, of the over the top acting, the crazy blood soaked death scenes… you know how laughing gets contagious if you watch someone do it for long enough? Henenlotter’s work is like that. You are given the idea for a good hour and a half that no matter what is going on in your life, these people on screen – they were having a ball when making this crazy movie and before long you’re just as into it as they are and you can’t help but go with the flow. Frankenhooker is unadulterated fun wrapped in a stitched up corpse of a package.

Super crack, super crack, super crack. Watching Frankenhooker with my cousin, I was afraid things would get awkward with all of the expected nudity and such… but yeah, the film does have all that but this sort of stuff isn’t here to turn you on. It’s here to progress the story, and it makes it all the better if you’re a red blooded male! Still, like I said in my plot summary – the film goes from being great to amazing once the element of Super Crack is revealed. I mean honestly, SUPER CRACK! I thought I had seen it all. Truthfully, I have, not a whole lot catches me off guard these days. Once the Super Crack made its appearance though, I swear I was laughing for a good ten minutes straight. You just can’t believe what you’re seeing no matter how much your eyes feed your brain the data. Henenlotter’s script is so far fetched and in outer space it becomes a work of majestic beauty for us lovers of the bizarre. His take on the Dr. Frankenstein story blows away all the competition. Bride of Re-Animator or Frankenhooker? Give me Frankie and his hooker woman any day of the week. With all the Super Crack I can handle! Exploding hookers, perverts and losers galore! Yeah, I have to say I’ll take Frankenhooker over that lame version of the story with Rober De’Niro in the lead role. I think Patty Mullen in the lead as the “monster” is so much more epic in delivery. She is so absolutely over the top it is ridiculous and the part couldn’t have been played any other way! Her constant shouting of the previous hookers and their dialogue throughout the majority of the film is so hilarious, and her constant facial contortions while she walks around is perfectly in sync for such a bizarre and strange character. James Lorinz as Jeffrey Frankie (the whole Frankenstein last name thing is played out though, Blackenstein even did it) is also great in his role and may be the best leading man that Henenlotter has had, or at least he might be my favorite. He takes me back to that time to the eighties where it seemed like every “smart-alek” in any youth oriented films always had that thick New York/Jersey accent that seems so foreign to my hick self. Lorinz is all over the performance and delivers in outstanding fashion, never seeming too annoying and has enough natural charisma to keep the viewer in touch with the character. Though we’re talking about a movie featuring Super Crack here, there’s not a massive story arch here for their characters to work through that is going to deliver tons of emotional drama – but for what the roles call for – the actors go above and beyond the call of duty.

Is it my favorite Henenlotter film? I’m not really sure yet, however I think it is up there with his best work and makes it into the top three along with Basket Case and Brain Damage. Let me tell you, it doesn’t get much better than these films. So much heart, so much fun and such enthusiasm in just about everything that happens. Henenlotter is a filmmaker that will never be forgotten and who has delivered to us some of the best American made horror films in the past twenty years. Sure they’re a bit cheesy and off the wall, but they are a charming mix of genre expectations and bold new territorys worth expanding into. This ain’t your regular run of the mill slapstick gory comedy. This is something entirely different. I can’t stop recommending it though, definitely go out and get this one as soon as possible!

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  • Christopher D. Jacobson
    The exploding hookers scene is one of the most hilarious bits of cinema I’ve ever seen. Especially at the very end when the leading hooker’s head flies off and she’s screaming all the while flying towards the pimp, then knocks him out with the loud “POINK!” sound or whatever it makes. And yeah, there’s certainly a lot of similarities between this and Bride of Re-Animator, but like you, I’ll easily take Frankenhooker over it any day.
  • I still can’t get over “Super Crack”, who could have thought of such a thing? Truly one of the best things to ever happen in the world of cinema! Haha! Henenlotter is brilliant, can’t wait to see his latest film. Say what you want, but even in his most mundane films *cough*Basket Case 3*cough* he’s still a genius idea man.

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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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