Frankenhooker (1990) – Film


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A young inventor and medical school drop-out, now electrician, from New Jersey, loses his fiance in a tragic lawnmower accident.  He decides to put his unique skill set and unconventional problem solving to work to bring his fiance back.  This time, with the perfect body.

Writer/director Frank Henenlotter’s passion for the seedy shines through in this off-beat love story in which our protagonist embraces his inner mad-scientist  in his obsession to get his fiancee back.  Though not quite as she was, and not exactly new, but improved.

There are a lot of little amusing details in this flick.  Pretty much all the photos of Elizabeth in Jeffrey’s room are head shots.  Several of them give the impression of being postmortem, as her eyes are closed.  The audience will notice this right away on the sketch Jeffrey is working on during the opening credits.   Coincidentally, the video tape that Jeffrey watches is hidden inside the book Gray’s Anatomy.   And apparently, the garage where Jefferey’s laboratory is located uses Time Lord technology, it’s bigger on the inside.

Patty Mullen does a terrific job as Elizabeth, the Frankenhooker.  Her performance, the little ticks, twitches, and idiosyncrasies, is the best part of the film.  I thought it was great that almost all of her lines as Frankenhooker, were the lines that had been said by the prostitutes whose bodies were used to bring her back to life.  James Lorinz got the job done as Jeffrey Franken, our mad scientist.  The running commentary of everything was wonderful. I loved that he continued a constant deadpan babbling to himself, rather than doing a voiced over narration.  The running monologue really emphasized his crazy, and the fact that no one really payed attention to what he was saying.

Of note, this movie features performances by such icons as Shirley Stoler, as Spike the Bartender;  Louise Lasser, as Jeffrey’s Mother; and, Horror Host Hall of Famer, John Zacherle, does a cameo as the maniacal Weatherman.

I gave this film 3 fru fru drinks.   I found it to be a suitably enjoyable and frivolous movie, full of subtle and obvious humor and well worth the time to watch.   But I may have questionable taste.

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