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Frankenhooker – 7

Director – Frank Henenlotter

Cast – James Lorinz, Joanne Ritchie, Patty Mullen, J.J. Clark, Carissa Channing, Louise Lasser, Joseph Gonzalez

Release Year – 1990

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I have been a fan of writer/director Frank Henenlotter ever since I first saw Basket Case years ago, and after deciding I wanted to see every one of his full-length films there was only one that escaped me until recently…Frankenhooker. With a name like Frankenhooker you can expect the insane greatness that Henenlotter usually brings to the table, and once again this piece proves to be another one of his efforts that will last forever in the horror genre. The story is whacky and his direction provides for loads of joy and laughs, making for one of the better horror films of the 1990s and one that still has not achieved the recognition it deserves.

After his fiance is killed in a freak accident, wannabe medical student Jeffrey Franken keeps her head and tries to recreate her body with parts from Manhatten’s most worthy hookers.

Just to prove to you how zany and awesome this film is, the carnage takes off right away and I will leave it to a newswoman’s broadcast appearing after the opening sequence to give you an idea of what you can expect in this piece.

What began as a birthday bar be que ended in a bizarre tragedy in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey today. It was THIS power mower that brought a quick end to the life of 21 year old bride-to-be Elizabeth Shelly. Like wood through a mulcher, the girthful fiance disappeared beneath the blades of the berserk mower that sent her personality raining down upon the horrified birthday revelers. 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.

If you are laughing then you should be ashamed of yourself for being such a sick bastard, but if not ashamed then welcome to the club, because I laughed my arse off in this one and never once felt bad for it. I found this storyline to be highly enjoyable one thanks to its Frankenstein-esque influence that also came with the taboo subject of prostitutes/hookers, which came as no surprise to me given all of Henenlotter’s films come with insane stories. From the get-go we watch as Jeffrey’s life is turned upside down with his fiance is killed in brutal fashion, and after a little brainstorming his already delusional state is worsened when he gets the bright idea of killing the unloved in order to resurrect his only love. Much mayhem ensues, especially during the scene when a crapload of strippers are killed in absolutely hilarious fashion, and once he does succeed at resurrecting Elizabeth he finds himself in another big mess when she unsurprisingly goes haywire and is not the woman he fell in love with. This really is a simple story that sticks to a few simple points, and it works very well thanks to Henenlotter’s writing direction and great pacing.

Henenlotter’s story was complimented greatly by his awesome direction – direction that resulted in great gore and numerous scenes that had me belting big laughs. As with most of his films you cannot take them seriously, but this uncanny effort is a serious one that does what it sets out to do: give you a damn good time. After the opening sequence it takes a while before we are given more gory kills, but when they do come (via exploding hookers) the mess is incredible and made for memorable scenes that I will not soon forget. The FX are brought in the live-action variety, and because of that the level of fun is increased to supreme levels, and Henenlotter brings his usual quirkiness that he exhibits via his execution of the characters, kills, and overall horror. The actors involved did their jobs, especially James Lorinz as Jeffrey, a character who took up an extreme vast majority of the screentime, a feat that I am sure required much work out of the guy, and it paid off in making this a great horror experience that still deserves more recognition.

Overall, Frankenhooker is a great film from the mind of Henelotter that I believe to be his best film after the infamous Basket Case. The story is great and provides lots of fun elements, and along with Henenlotter’s ever-positive direction we are given an effort that I highly suggest you check out.

Rating: 7/10

  1. March 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    People salad? I’m in. Bless Netflix for having this film. I can’t wait to see it.

    • March 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      It is so worth watching. You may not love it (I hope you do though), but you will not forget it.

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