Tuesday, November 14, 2006

FRANKENHOOKER

A few years ago, my pal Jim and I were hanging out one boring evening when we decided – as we often did – to rent a movie. On the way to the video store, I asked him what kind of movie he was in the mood for. "Something funny," he said. "And scary. With naked girls. And explosions."

I said, "Have I got the movie for you."

Now, that film, Frank Henenlotter’s delightfully twisted horror comedy, FRANKENHOOKER (1990), has finally received a decent DVD release with a new special edition from Unearthed Films.

When the fiancée of suburban New Jersey native Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz) is dismembered and killed in a freak lawn mower accident, the aspiring mad scientist saves her head and conceives a bizarre plan to bring his beloved Elizabeth (pretty Patty Mullen) back to life. After a visit to New York City and a pre-Guliani Times Square, he decides to use the body parts of prostitutes to build a new body for Elizabeth. Securing the necessary raw materials (in a hilariously grotesque manner), he successfully resurrects his girlfriend, only to have her head straight for 42nd Street to turn some (deadly) tricks!

Cult fave director Henenlotter’s (BASKET CASE) last film to date is a deliriously funny flick that pays respectful homage to the Frankenstein movies of the past while simultaneously wallowing in crude, lowbrow humor and unabashedly exploitative sex and gore. The special effects are decidedly rubbery and cartoonish, but that doesn’t make them any less fun; in fact, the unreality of the effects adds to the overall loony tunes feel of the film. Hell, what other movie offers the visual spectacle of exploding prostitutes?

Previously released by budget label Simitar in a full-frame, slightly edited version, FRANKENHOOKER has now been given the full fledged special edition treatment by Unearthed Films, beginning with a flawless, uncut, 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. In addition, the unrated disc includes a great audio commentary track from director Henenlotter and Gabe Bartalos, and on-screen interviews with Patty Mullen (who looks even more beautiful today than she did in ’90) and actress Jennifer Delora, who played one of the hookers in the film. Delora also contributes her scrapbook photos to the package. Rounding it off, there’s also a behind-the-scenes featurette on the film’s special effects, the theatrical trailer, and a production still gallery.

FRANKENHOOKER is one of the best horror comedies of its era, and well worth your time and money. Highly recommended.

BUY: Frankenhooker