Some of us lucky few who would haunt the weird late-night grindhouse movies they'd show on USA in the Eighties or Nineties got introduced to many wacky, creepy movies. The nauseating, perverse duo of Andy Warhol's Dracula and Andy Warhol's Frankenstein were no exception. Rare, terrifyingly "other," if you were as young as I when you first encountered them, you know they're exotic, awful, freak-fests worthy of a second look. They freaked me out and stayed with me, they may do the same for you.
31 Flavors of Horror #22
Flesh For Frankenstein
A good deal of the perversity here comes from the duo of Joe Dallesandro and Udo Kier, who exquisitely overacts as the Baron who is lusting after the perfect "nasum" for his experiments in building his specimen of uber-man-meat. His obsession with his master race is all-consuming... and highly comical. You'll savor his German accent as it emphasizes a W in the place of every R and V. (Also: "Pop-o-lates" for "populates." Love it.) Sure, he's building a male and a female, but she's an afterthought. He's got a sister-wife (eww) and a red-headed "Igor" in his assistant, Otto.
One can't imagine why the Baron would be more interested in building the perfect man than in the beauty-obsessed, eyebrow-deprived Baroness, Monique Van Vooren. Considering how these siblings squabble it's a wonder he hasn't chopped her up for parts. He eschews Sis to get his freak on fingering innards down in the lab. He hand-humps his female "zombie" at one point with the immortal line: "To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life in the gallbladder." The Baron is all sexual hangups while the Baroness is all repressed need.
Kier's cerebral fey-ness is countered by Dallesandro, who still wasn't much of an actor at this point in his career. He's all meat as a farmhand from the Bronx who has somehow been transplanted to 19th century Serbia. Van Vooren keeps running into him while he's boning Farmer's Daughters. Of course she's going to want him.
(It's all meandering sass, smut, and gore from this point forward...)
The Baron, meanwhile, wants his head because he's so single-mindedly horny. Dallesandro's delivery is pretty awful, be it his "What did they do to you" soliloquy or his slapping Van Vooren with an unaffected "you bitch!" As an actor, he's a good looking face. Admittedly, he's a better actor than hang-dog faced Sacha (Srdjan Zelenovic) , the quiet monk who winds up beheadded for his enormous "nasum" by mistake. (He's somehow stiffer as the silent creature than as a talking bore, but not by much.) Sacha clearly, like everyone else in the movie, wants Dallesandro.
|Everyone loves Joe Dallesandro. Physically.|
This was also shot to be shown in 3D. With spears (and organs) thrust at the camera, and wide deep vistas of the laboratory, the overall look of the movie is pretty lavish. I'd love to see the fish tank and children's toy carousel in 3D. One notices the similarities in the lab here, with it's big marble walls, two-tiers, and center tank, and the one in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I'd go safely out on a limb and say this film influenced the look of that.
|Did we mention this was originally in 3D?|
|This is what we call "Grand Guignol"|
All the effects here are fun. The movie's filled with lots of fake torsos and bright red blood that doesn't hold up to today's effects, but they still please the eye. The organ meats are at least nauseatingly real. There's a pair of breathing lungs that make for a nice effect. Van Vooren herself is almost a special effect. Her bone structure and lack of eyebrows disconcert, her bones are so pronounced one would almost expect she suffers from acromegaly. She also reminds one of plastic surgery nightmare Jocelyn Wildenstein.
|Do Not Displease Monique Van Vooren|
|I know I left a gallbladder around here somewhere!|