Frankenhooker Blu-ray Review
Directed by Frank Henenlotter
Written by Frank Henenlotter and Robert Martin
1990, Region A, 85 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on November 8th, 2011
James Lorinz as Jeffrey Franken
Joanne Ritchie as Mrs. Shelley
Patty Mullen as Elizabeth Shelley
J.J. Clark as Mr. Shelley
Carissa Channing as Dolores
Jennifer Delora as Angel
Say the love of your life loses hers when she is mangled by a remote control mega-lawnmower gone amuck? Even worse, what if it was your invention that tore her to bits, depositing body parts everywhere at your future father-in-law's birthday bash? Naturally, you'd sneakily gather up the pieces of your honey — the ones still intact — in order to rebuild her because that's what true love is, and that's exactly what Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz) does in Frankenhooker.
Of course, things don't go as planned for Jeffrey. These things often don't. He briefly struggles with the morality of his plans to find a woman to use for body parts to go with Elizabeth's (his currently inanimate fiancé) head, but eliminates guilt in a way that should be seen for yourself. Eventually, Jeffrey decides on putting his humpty dumpty back together again using the best parts from the special ladies on the seedier side of town. Yet even that fails in epic proportions in an explosive (literally) scene that to say it is surreal would be drastically understating and under-appreciating the magic of what happens in a hotel room packed with hookers.
Frankenhooker,quite simply, is a lot of fun. There are a ton of 'wtf?' moments throughout the film and some very questionable effects that are lingered on way too long, but none of this matters because of the sheer enjoyment the movie delivers. And while there are tons of quotable lines, hell the entire scene with the news reporter describing Elizabeth's death is worth the price of admission alone, there are just as many incredibly awkward scenes that will have you either laughing for real or laughing uncomfortably.
The acting in Frankenhooker is solid across the board, with James Lorinz easily carrying the majority of the film. He's quite believable as the socially retarded protagonist, slowly going a bit mad. His nervousness around the life-experienced prostitutes is very natural and you find yourself cheering for him, even if what he is doing is completely fucked up.
And while Patty Mullen's Elizabeth takes her time getting onscreen in her new form, it's well worth the wait. Former Penthouse Pet Mullen does a wonderful job stumbling and bumbling her way through the city looking for her next john. I say with no shame that she is hot even as the titular character, purple-faced, stiched-up body and all.
Boobs are plentiful in Frankenhooker, but there is a surprising lack of blood and grue. However, where those things are missing, there are good amount of exploding bodies to take the place of them. You really have to see this to appreciate it.
I generally hate using the term "cult classic", because so few movies actually deserve the title. Frankenhooker, however, is quite deserving. It's often referred to by those two little, but weight-carrying words, and for good reason. More black comedy than horror and with an ending that is just as crazy as the rest of the film, Frankenhooker should be a top choice on those movie nights with your friends.
Video and Audio:
Synapse Films delivers a fantastic 1:78:1 presentation in Frankenhooker. Colors are as vibrant as they were twenty years ago (if not more so), blacks are suitably deep and detail is impressive. In addition, there isn't any noticeable tinkering such as edge enhancement, which should come as no surprise considering Synapse's reputation.
For audio, the Blu-ray offers a DTS-HD MA 2.0 and 5.1 track. As with the video, Synapse did a great job with the soundtrack. Bass thumps, conversations are clear and there is a good amount of use of the surrounds.
- Audio Commentary with Director Frank Henelotter and Make-Up Effects Designer, Gabe Bartolas
- A Salad Once Named Elizabeth: Patty Mullen Featurette
- A Stitch in Time: The Make-Up Effects of Frankenhooker
- Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers Frankenhooker
- Jennifer Delora's Frankenhooker Photo Scrapbook
- Theatrical Trailer
The offered commentary with director Frank Henelotter and effects designer Gabe Bartolas is an absolute blast to listen to. Filled with interesting tidbits and behind the scenes info, Henelotter's enthusiasm is contagious and makes it for a really enjoyable listen.
The two featurettes with Patty Mullen and Jennifer Delora are well worth a watch. While both seemed to enjoy the experience, Delora is a little more straight forward and has no problem dropping names of those who annoyed her.
A Stitch in Time: The Make-Up Effects of Frankenhooker centers around Gabe Bartolas and the, you guessed it, effects work he did for the film. There's some great behind-the-scenes video here, including a trip to the Bunny Ranch in Nevada.
Rounding it out is a photo gallery and a trailer.
*Note: The screenshots on this page are not a reflection of the Blu-ray image. They were captured from the Blu-ray, but sized down.*