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Andy Warhol's Frankenstein

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Andy Warhol's Frankenstein
Fleshforfrankensteinposter.jpg
Directed by Paul Morrissey
Produced by Andrew Braunsberg
Andy Warhol
Lou Peraino
Carlo Ponti
Jean-Pierre Rassam
Written by Paul Morrissey
Tonino Guerra
Starring Monique van Vooren
Udo Kier
Music by Claudio Gizzi[1]
Distributed by Bryanston Distributing Company
Release date(s) 17 March 1974
Running time 95 min.
Edited version:
93 min.
Country United States
France
Italy
Language English

Andy Warhol's Frankenstein or Flesh for Frankenstein is a 1973 horror film directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol, Andrew Braunsberg, Louis Peraino, and Carlo Ponti and starring 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 3-D 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, an obvious pairing. In the seventies 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 film was later cut to 93 minutes for an R-rating, thereby increasing its viability for wider distribution. The U.S. DVD releases have utilized the full uncut version, which is now unrated. The film had its television premiere in the United Kingdom on November 17, 2009 and was broadcast in 3D as part of Channel 4's 3D Week.

PlotEdit

Dr. von Frankenstein (Udo Kier) neglects his duties towards his wife/sister (Monique van Vooren), as he is obsessed with creating a perfect Serbian race to obey his commands, beginning by assembling a perfect male and female (Dalila Di Lazzaro) 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.[2][3]

As it happens, a suitably randy farmhand (Joe Dallesandro) 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 (Arno Juerging); 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, the farmhand survives and finds his way to the castle, where he is befriended by the doctor's wife; they form an agreement for him to gratify her unsatisfied carnal appetites.[2][3]

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. The farmhand 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 the doctor's wife, who is merely concerned with her own needs, he 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, the doctor's wife/sister is rewarded for betraying the farmhand by being granted use of the creature for erotic purposes, but is killed during a bout of overly vigorous copulation. Meanwhile the jealous henchman repeats the doctor's sexual exploits with the female creature, resulting in her graphic disembowelment. The doctor returns and, enraged, does away with the henchman; when he attempts to have the male creature eliminate the farmhand, 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 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 father left off.[2][3]

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.[2][3]

Critical receptionEdit

Ian Jane of DVD Talk said of the film, "Flesh For Frankenstein is a morbid and grotesque comedy that won't be to everyone's taste but that does deliver some interesting humor and horror in that oddball way that Morrissey has."[4]

Nora Sayre of The New York Times said, "In a muddy way, the movie attempts to instruct us about the universal insensitivity, living-deadness and the inabilty to be turned on by anything short of the grotesque. However, this "Frankenstein" drags as much as it camps; despite a few amusing moments, it fails as a spoof, and the result is only a coy binge in degradation."[5]

J.C. Maçek III of WorldsGreatestCritic.com wrote, "There is a brilliance to the satire here and a certain way that Morrissey has with the camera eye and framing that allows for the lavishness of the countryside and even the castle and laboratory interiors to look incredible. On the other hand, one must be in on the joke to get much more enjoyment out of Flesh for Frankenstein. I get the joke, I'm a Warhol fan. I understand. But there's no way to make this into a "great" film. If the implied nastiness of the psycho-sexuality here doesn't get you the incessant gore will, especially when the two are combined. If neither one gets to you at all, even when combined, then you might want to consult a shrink. That's, um... not what gallbladders are for, there, Sparky!"[6]

Writer and directorEdit

Screenwriter Tonino Guerra is better known as the author of Fellini's Amarcord and Antonioni's Blowup.

While some Italian prints reportedly give second unit director Antonio Margheriti credit as director of the film, Udo Kier has stated that Margheriti had nothing to do with directing the film. Kier stated that he and the other cast members received direction only from Morrissey, and noted that he never saw Margheriti on the set.[7]

As a favor for producer Carlo Ponti, Antonio Margheriti agreed to take credits for free as director for the Italian release in order to help the film get funds from the government. Unfortunately, it ended up as a trial for producer and alleged director who both lost.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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