Flesh for Frankenstein

Starring: Joe Dallesandro and Udo Kier
Tartan DVD USA
RRP: 19.99

Certificate: 18
Available 22 May 2006

Baron Frankenstein and his ever-present assistant are in the castle laboratory, as usual. They are putting the finishing touches to a man-made man, you might say, made from all the best available body parts. However, they lack a suitable head, but soon find it conveniently mounted on a young shepherd seen visiting a house of ill-repute. His head is removed, and the shepherd's friend wakes from a drunken stupor to find the headless body. Curiously, the next day the friend is summoned to the castle by Frankenstein's wife (who, it seems, is also his sister) and offered the job of handyman. Duties mainly consist of being conveniently located for the bedroom. A good job for any male to fall into, you might think, but the handyman experiences the shock of his life when at dinner he meets a tall man wearing his friend's head...

Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) is the sister film to Blood for Dracula, mirroring it in almost every way. It predates Blood by a year, and is the better film. But only just. As with the vampire film, Andy Warhol presents, Paul Morrissey writes and directs, and practically all of the cast and crew are the same. There's nothing like keeping it in the family, is there! Even the character portrayals are almost identical. Vdo Kier plays Frankenstein instead of Dracula, the assistant also played Dracula's aide, the handyman acts the same part in both films - and even gets to bump up and down on the same leading ladies.

The overall effect is a strange mishmash of subtly conflicting styles. A somewhat surreal scene will be slapped round the face by a sudden influx of dodgy lines or overacting. There is more body [pun intended] to this script than Blood, but it can only be described as a plot in the very loosest sense. That is not to say there aren't moments which work well, but you find yourself hoping they were intended to be tongue-in-cheek, otherwise we're all in trouble.

When the Baron has completed his male, he introduces it to his already constructed female (here's one I made earlier!), hoping to introduce a new race of humans. However, he is angered and confused when the male fails to respond sexually to the attractive female. Little does he realise that the original owner of the head was about to enter a monastery, and had only been dragged along to the house of ill-repute by his friend.

Another weird scene, which comes earlier in the film, involves Frankenstein making love to his female by plunging his hand into her torso and fiddling with her squelchy organs, an expression of ecstasy on his face. You can't help laughing though when his assistant later tries the same and inadvertently kills her.

Extras are also the same as on the Blood for Dracula disc: a commentary by Paul Morrissey and Vdo Kier, production stills with commentary, and screen tests.

Make certain you return to this site for the reviews of Bandages for the Mummy, and Whiskers for the Werewolf!

Ty Power

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