I know what you’re thinking. Frankenhooker is just another trashy nineties horror-comedy without any redeeming values. If you haven’t seen this movie, you might have been put off by the obviously silly and over-the-top title. However, you should know that this is a brilliant horror-comedy featuring everything you would want from a genre classic. The first thing you’re going to see in this movie is an eye embedded in a brain that’s floating in a jar. And staring at you. This sets the tone perfectly for what’s about to follow.
Of course, when the title of the movie is Frankenhooker, you expect it to not take itself too seriously. And Frankenhooker doesn’t although it hammers in some pretty important points. This is a Frank Henenlotter movie, same as Basket Case and Brain Damage. They make up a brilliantly bizarre trilogy featuring unique plots and entertaining atmospheres. Once you’ve watched these movies, it will be hard to forget them. Mostly because there are so many memorable scenes that you won’t know which one to bring up first. And while in Brain Damage Henenlotter explored withdrawal symptoms, here we have the crack epidemic and prostitution.
I want to emphasize the fact that this is not a parody but more of an homage. Starting in the late seventies and all throughout the eighties and nineties, the parody genre has been going strong. Frankenhooker uses the basic elements of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel and creates its own monster. The special effects are charmingly dated and outrageous. So, you will be laughing as our mad scientist, excuse me, mad electrician is rifling through various body parts. On top of all that you’ve got great jokes and lots of nudity, what more to want?
Jeffrey Franken is hard at work in his shed. He’s an electrician who also dabbles in bioengineering and other stuff. Jeffrey even operated on his fiancé Elizabeth, trying to help her lose weight. Right now, he’s struggling to get bring to life a brain inside a jar. Elizabeth finally drags him outside where the rest of the family has gathered to celebrate her father’s birthday. This party, however, will turn into a nightmare when Jeffrey reveals his present…
The characters we will meet in Frankenhooker are very endearing and vivacious. James Lorinz was excellent as Jeffrey but Patty Mullen stole the show here as Elizabeth. Despite looking like a, well, looking like a Frankenhooker, she was still hot. And what’s more important, she got the tone of her character just right. This is one of the movies I keep coming back to as it always puts me in a good mood. I also chuckle every time I remember how Franken got rid of his headaches. And even if you don’t like these sorts of movies, give this one a go. I’m sure it will surprise you. And with a runtime of just under eighty minutes, it will leave you wanting more.
And while we may know where the story is going, we couldn’t possibly guess how’re we going to get there. Add to this attention to detail and you’ve got yourself a freakin’ masterpiece. Frankenhooker is definitely one of the best horror comedies of the eighties. And I know it was released in the nineties but it still has that eighties vibe. If you’re looking for similar movies, I recommend you check out Society, The Return of the Living Dead, and The Evil Dead.
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Writers: Robert Martin, Frank Henenlotter
Cast: James Lorinz, Patty Mullen, Joanne Ritchie, Joseph Gonzalez, Beverly Bonner, Charlotte J. Helmkamp
Fun Facts: Frankenhooker took 12 years to make and with a budget of $1.5 million is Frank Henenlotter’s the most expensive movie to date.