Saturday, October 6, 2012

Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)

Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (originally Flesh for Frankenstein) is a 1973 American-Italian horror film directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol, Andrew Braunsberg, Louis Peraino, and Carlo Ponti. It stars Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, Monique van Vooren, and Arno Juerging. It was filmed in Cinecittà by a crew of Italian filmmakers.

In the United States, the film was marketed as Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, and was presented in the Space-Vision 3D process in premiere engagements. It was rated X by the MPAA, due to its explicit sexuality and violence. A 3-D version also played in Australia in 1986, along with Blood for Dracula, its obvious pairing. In the '70s, a 3-D version played in Stockholm, Sweden. In subsequent US DVD releases, the film was retitled Flesh for Frankenstein, while the original title was used in other regions. The gruesomeness of the action was intensified in the original release by the use of 3-D, with several dismbowelments being shot from a perspective such that the internal organs are thrust towards the camera.

Baron von Frankenstein neglects his duties towards his wife/sister Katrin, as he is obsessed with creating a perfect Serbian race to obey his commands, beginning by assembling a perfect male and female from parts of corpses. The doctor's sublimation of his sexual urges by his powerful urge for domination is shown when he utilizes the surgical wounds of his female creation to satisfy his lust. He is dissatisfied with the inadequate reproductive urges of his current male creation, and seeks a head donor with a greater libido; he also repeatedly exhibits an intense interest that the creature's "nasum" (nose) have a correctly Serbian shape. As it happens, a suitably randy farmhand, Nicholas, leaving a local brothel along with his sexually repressed friend, brought there in an unsuccessful attempt to dissuade him from entering a monastery, are spotted and waylaid by the doctor and his henchman, Otto; mistakenly assuming that the prospective monk is also suitable for stud duty, they take his head for use on the male creature. Not knowing these behind-the-scene details, Nicholas survives and finds his way to the castle, where he is befriended by Katrin; they form an agreement for him to gratify her unsatisfied carnal appetites. Under the control of the doctor, the male and female creatures are seated for dinner with the castle's residents, but the male creature shows no signs of recognition of his friend as he serves the Baron and his family. Nicholas realizes at this point that something is awry, but himself pretends not to recognize his friend's face until he can investigate further. After a falling-out with Katrin, who is merely concerned with her own needs, Nicholas is captured by the doctor while snooping in the laboratory; the doctor muses about using his new acquisition to replace the head of his creature, who is still showing no signs of libido. Nevertheless, Katrin is rewarded for betraying Nicholas by being granted use of the creature for erotic purposes, but is killed during a bout of overly vigorous copulation. Meanwhile, Otto repeats the doctor's sexual exploits with the female creature, resulting in her graphic disembowelment. The Baron returns and, enraged, does away with Otto; when he attempts to have the male creature eliminate Nicholas, however, the remnants of his friend's personality rebel and the doctor is killed instead in gruesome fashion. The creature, believing he is better off dead, then disembowels himself. The doctor's children, Erik and Monica, then enter the laboratory, pick up a pair of scalpels, and proceed to turn the wheel of the crane that is holding the farmhand in mid-air. It is not clear if the scalpels are there in order to release him, or take over where their father left off

104 MIN

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