Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FRANKENHOOKER (Blu-ray)

"Wanna date?"

Synapse Films is on a roll lately, unleashing, over the last few months, a welcome onslaught of much-anticipated, high-quality, new Blu-ray releases of favorite cult and exploitation films like THE EXTERMINATOR, MANIAC COP, and Frank Henenlotter’s delightfully twisted horror comedy gem, FRANKENHOOKER (1990).

When the fiancée of suburban New Jersey native Jeffrey Franken (the wonderfully wry 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-Disney-fied 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, BRAIN DEAD) final 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 cartoony, 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 "super crack"-smoking, exploding prostitutes?

Previously released by budget label Simitar in a full-frame, slightly edited version, and in 2006 by Unearthed Films in a very solid Special Edition DVD, FRANKENHOOKER has now been given the HD treatment by Synapse Films with a flawlessly remastered, uncut, 1.85:1 1080p HD widescreen transfer. Picture quality is remarkable, with solid blacks, sharp details in most shots, and a fine, unobtrusive film grain. Audio options include a robust DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and a very solid DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo mix.

In addition, the new disc includes all of the special features from the Unearthed DVD edition, including a fun and informative audio commentary track from director Henenlotter and Gabe Bartalos, and on-screen interviews with Patty Mullen (who looked even more beautiful in '06 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 unquestionably one of the most enjoyably ludicrous horror-comedies of its era, and well worth checking out. Synapse's HD presentation is highly recommended.

BUYFrankenhooker (Blu-ray)