Flesh For Frankenstein (1974)

aka Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein


Nastiness Rating:

Directed by: Paul Morrissey
Written by: Paul Morrissey/Tonino Guerra/Pat Hackett
Based on characters created by: Mary Shelley

In the 60s, Andy Warhol had his hands in everything, from art to music to film to eating hamburgers. By the 70s, he had loosened his grip a bit, but he was still doing everything under the sun. He and filmmaker friend Paul Morrissey (the two teamed up earlier on the trilogy Flesh, Trash and Heat) decided to start making horror films in the early 70s.

The two films that they made (Blood For Dracula came out the next year) are a pretty interesting double feature, but Flesh For Frankenstein is the obvious winner.

The good doctor (Udo Kier, who plays the sickliest Dracula ever in the later film) is out to make a master race. He knows, though, that he must first create the master parents first. He and his assistant, Otto (Arno Juerging) find pieces of people to put together to form the perfect man and woman. They already have the woman put together, but the man is proving to be a bit harder.

That is, until they mistake Sacha (Srdjan Zelenovic) for a ladies’ man. He’s actually quite gay for his best friend, Nicholas (Joe Dallesandro, who is in all of Morrissey’s films to this point). This won’t help Baron Frankenstein and Otto breed their perfect race.
Meanwhile, Nicholas is bedding the Baron’s wife/sister, Katrin (Monique van Vooren), who is upset that the people around her are all “dirty.” Huh.

Also, the Baron and his wife/sister have two creepy kids who don’t speak, just spy.

Here’s the deal with Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey’s horror films: they’re not particularly horrific. While FFF starts off with a pretty gothy mood that nearly rivals the great Hammer Horrors of the previous decade, it soon devolves into high camp. BFD never reaches even that. In fact, it’s quite boring for the most part except for Kier’s performance, including his 15 minute death throes. You don’t watch these movies to be scared. You watch them to see how weird Udo Kier can be.

While there is hardly any gore in BFD (some blood, but not enough to be a true Nasty), FFF is FULL of organs and chopped off limbs. There’s a bit where Otto pulls a liver out of a box, drops it into a vat of water and then stirs it. There are shots of folks pulls their innards out. There’s a beheading. All kinds of stuff to keep our Nasty heads spinning. Is it as gory as, say, Cannibal Holocaust? Fuck, no. This is camp gore and isn’t really meant to sicken anyone.

Is it a good movie? Uh….fuck, no. Not really. First off, no one can act. Dallesandro’s thick New Yawk accent does NOT fit with all of the rest of the European accents going on. Juerging can barely speak English. Kier is not an actor. (He’s gotten better over the years…but not much.) Morrissey had about six bucks to make these movies with and it shows.

It is, though, totally worth checking out. This is the kind of movie that you watch with a bunch of like-minded friends to just see how weird filmmaking can be. Even with the slow parts, I kind of love it.

You can, however, skip Blood For Dracula.

By the way, the movie was filmed for 3D, which you can tell in the Baron’s death scene. Once again, Udo gets about 15 minutes to die. It’s amazing.

LOW POINT: “To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life… in the gall bladder.” Even out of context, this is one of the greatest lines in cinematic history.