From the freaky brain of writer/director Frank Henenlotter, comes Frankenhooker! He is known for the Basket Case trilogy, Brain Damage, and the grotesquely weird, Bad Biology. Part comedy, part horror, and part science fiction, Frankenhooker is an oozy-goozy, campy delight!
Jeffery Franken is a self-proclaimed doctor or “bio-electro-technician”. He works for an electric company but performs experiments on his own time. His fiancé, Elizabeth, dies in a freak lawnmower accident (yes, it is as absurd as it sounds), described as a “blood, bones, and body parts salad… a salad once known as Elizabeth,” by the nightly news. You can probably guess what happens next by the title. There is no guess work here, the name says it all. If he needs body parts to reconstruct Elizabeth, he should just BUY body parts… from hookers. Like the smutty version of May looking for the ideal body parts.
We follow Jeffery into the seedy world of pimps and hookers, where he sees boobies of all shapes and sizes and where the hookers scream bloody murder in excitement over drugs and call Jeffery “doctor Jersey boy.” You can imagine how thick and ear-piercing this Jersey accent is. (No offense to those who have it!) It fits his character though. Jeffery uses the body parts of exploded prostitutes (an utterly awesome scene) to bring his Elizabeth back into his life.
This new and (un)improved Elizabeth isn’t the sweet girl Jeffery once knew, she is now the definitive run-for-your-life hooker, simultaneously terrifying and arousing men with a limited dialogue of “Wanna date? Looking for some action? Got any money? Need some company?” Her personality may be rigid, but her looks aren’t. Her stitched together, mismatched body, purple hair, and purple stripper outfit would be the BEST costume for a daring lady. I may try it myself one year! Frankenhooker Elizabeth is iconic. The first time I saw the cover image of this movie I couldn’t wait to see it.
This movie is what you would expect: cheap, cheesy, low-budget exploitation. Actually, I would call it campy over low budget. You have to be into this kind of movie to like it. I would compare it to Re-Animator, The Evil Dead, Tales from the Crypt, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space. It’s also got a little Beyond the Darkness vibe with similarities with the main characters obsessed with their lost significant others and going crazy. Beyond the Darkness is darker and grittier in my opinion and Frankenhooker is its light-hearted counterpart, still with plenty of gratuitous nudity. This sleazy comedy is basically a dirty reboot of the classic mad scientist tale with a brazen ending full of outrageous laughs and tasteless fun!
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