I liken “Frankenhooker” very much to the classic “Re-Animator.” That is if “Re-Animator” were conceived by a mentally deranged chimpanzee. Even as a dark horror comedy “Frankenhooker” is a film that has to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s so monumentally moronic and ridiculous that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing most of the time. Of course going in to a film named “Frankenhooker” you’re not going to get high art, but Frank Henenlotter takes viewer expectations and drags it in to the mud with a shit eating grin. “Frankenhooker” is yet another take on “Frankenstein” with a bit of a Lovecraft twist that really is never as creative as it thinks it is.
Every bit of this film is cheesy, campy, and absolutely stupid, and for some reason I found it hard to turn away, even when I found myself rolling my eyes at every turn. If you see this movie for any reason, it’s for the utterly horrific performance from star James Lorinz. He plays the woefully demented man named James Franken. Subtle, no? He’s a man so obsessed with his experiments involving human body parts that his family treats his shenanigans with a smile. The film opens with his experimentation on a human brain while his family is having a barbecue, and ends with his wife dying at the blades of a robotic lawnmower. Destroyed by her comic death, Franken plans to make a monster out of his wife and revive her from old body parts.
This involves a lot of deadpan improve of Lorinz who mumbles to himself throughout the entire film like an imbecile and spends a good portion of the story conversing with parts of his dead wife. Jeffrey now spends the nights looking for body parts for his wife devising a way to lure hookers in to his home and use their combined parts to assemble his wife’s perfect body, but none of it goes as planned. Suffice it so say not a single scene is too ridiculous for Henenlotter as he implements insane sequences like an exploding guinea pig, exploding prostitutes, a flying decapitated head that knocks a pimp out cold, and a horde of prostitutes going bonkers over a bag of crack that Jeffrey has created to kill them slowly. “Frankenhooker” is just an all out assault on good sense and good taste with bad performances, gratuitous nudity, and references to Mary Shelly’s original book about as subtle as a foot to the groin.
“Frankenhooker” is pure total garbage, but thankfully it’s garbage that will blow your mind so completely you’ll find it hard to turn away. Just like a car wreck. Synapse Films of course treats this film with the respect it deserves, because I guarantee there will never be a film like this again. The video comes in a 1.78:1 widescreen presentation with high definition audio. Among the special features, there is an audio commentary from the director and make up artist, “A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth” about star Patty Mullen, “A Stitch in Time” about the make up effects, “Turning Tricks” with star Jennifer Delora, and a photo scrapbook featuring Jennifer Delora. “Frankenhooker” is one of the many cult films that fall in to the so bad it’s good category. Cribbing from “Re-Animator” and “Frankenstein,” it’s a convoluted, tedious and often messy little horror comedy that should not be taken at face value.