Flesh for Frankenstein

10/21/2015 21:17

Film: Flesh for Frankenstein

Year: 1973

Director: Paul Morrissey and Antonio Margehriti

Writer: Paul Morrissey

Starring: Joe Dallesandro, Udo Kier and Dalila Di Lazzaro

 

Review:

This film begins with two children, a girl played by Nicoletta Elmi and the boy by Marco Liofredi. They are playing with scalpels and discecting a doll. They end up having it decapitated with a guillotine.

From here it shifts to both children with their mother, she is played by Monique van Vooren. She is riding in a horse drawn cart. As she goes along the road, she stops at a shack. There is a man playing a weird instrument. She asks who is inside and Joe Dallesandro appears. He was making love to a young woman. Vooren is disgusted and leaves.

We then meet her husband and brother, played by Udo Kier. He is a scientist and he is assisted by Arno Juerging. We learn that Kier and Vooren’s marriage was out of necessity. They have two children, but that is most affection he shows to Vooren. Kier is completely absorbed into his work. Vooren is sooty and pulls their children out of school. She now has to figure out what to do with them. Kier suggests that they be sent to a school abroad, but Vooren doesn’t want that. Vooren has Liù Bosisio, their maid, teaching them at the moment.

Kier has decided that he wants to create a race of slave people in order to bring Serbia, the country this film takes place in, back to prominence. In order to do this, he decides that he must create a perfect man and woman to mate. Kier believes that their children will be completely loyal and obedient to him. Juerging and Kier then go about finding the right parts to create life.

Dallesandro has a best friend that he works with who is played by Srdjan Zelenovic. Zelenovic wants to become a monk. His reasoning is that he is a farmer now and that he would like to live the simple life. Dallesandro is upset with this and doesn’t want him to do it. Zelenovic never comes to the brothel with him and Dallesandro asks him to join him that night.

Kier and Juerging look at a pair of lungs and Kier feels they are perfect. They have created a woman, who is played by Dallila Di Lazzaro. We get a weird scene where Kier brings her to life. He has to open her stitches and make love to her gallbladder to make it work. Lazzaro opens her eyes.

Vooren takes her children out for a picnic and when she does, she catches Dallesandro with another woman. She again scolds him, but does ask him to come to the castle the following morning.

That night, Dallesandro and Zelenovic go to the brothel. Dallesandro ends up making love to two women while Zelenovic is kissed. The whole time though, he stares at Dallesandro.

Kier and Jureging have created the body of a man, but it has taken roughly five men to put together. They have everything they need, but a head. Kier states that he needs the brain of someone who cannot control his lustful urges. The reason being that he needs his creation to make love to Lazzaro in order to create his race. They go to the local brothel. Inside a lizard falls onto a prostitute and they all begin to scream. They run out of it as Dallesandro takes care of the animal. Zelenovic comes to the door to tell the two women to return. Kier and Juerging believe that he is the person they need. Dallesandro becomes intoxicated. He leaves with Zelenovic, but when they get jumped, Dallesandro is knocked out immediately. Zelenovic is decapitated.

Dallesandro wakes up and find his friend dead. He buries the body and goes up to the castle. He tells Vooren what happened and that he is leaving. She instead offers him a job. Part of this job involves making love to her. We learn that she is somewhat of a nymphomaniac and her husband has no interest in this. It should be pointed out as well that Liofredi and Elmi spy on her mother in her bedroom as well as their father in his lab.

Zelenovic’s head is attached to the male body. Both of Kier’s creations now have life. Later that day Vooren tells Kier about hiring Dallesandro, but he is not happy about it. They have dinner later that day and both Lazzaro and Zelenovic come. Zelenovic can only stare at Dallesandro.

After dinner, Kier commands Lazzaro and Zelenovic to make love, but he is not interested. Dallesandro wants to go to the lab to see what is going on and try to save his friend. Will Dallesandro succeed? Or will Kier and his creations take care of him? Juerging is a sexual deviant as well, killing the maid Bosisio, can he keep himself under control around Lazzaro?

I have to say that as a horror film, this one is okay. As a social commentary, it is a lot better. The acting in this one is good. Kier plays a solid Baron Frankenstein. I think Dallesandro plays a good simple man, but his negative is the inability to control his lust. Every character in this film has some kind of sexual deviant behavior, which I found interesting. The story is a loose retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, with sex as the focal point. There is homosexuality, incest, adultery, nymphomania and other deviant behaviors as well. This one also brings a good amount of blood, gore and nudity to put itself into exploitation film category. There is some violent action, but relatively subdued compared to other films in the genre.

My biggest issues are some of things that happen do not make sense. You have to bend reality to believe. The film makes it seem really easy to create a person or two, even though it has never been done. The film doesn’t get too scientific and doesn’t really address it much. I don’t hate it, but I think it should have a bit more coverage. The issue of incest is ignored and no one seems too bothered by it was another. The final is the issue of homosexuality. That is the only behavior that no one seems to notice or address. I personally have no issue with it, but it seems to be ignored while being bluntly showed on film.

With that said, if you are a fan of art films, I would give this one a viewing. You have a rare combination of horror and art that works fairly well with this film. This one is not scary, but much more of a social commentary on sexuality and deviance. The acting is good, the story itself is a little bit weak for me, but there is some exploitation action that helps offset this. There is a good amount of nudity, gore and violence to keep the film moving along. This is definitely not the best telling of Frankenstein, but this one is an interesting one to say the least. If this sounds good, then I would recommend giving it at least a viewing.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10