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Why It Took a Month to Watch “Frankenstein ’80”

Frankenstein ’80
Year: 1972
Genre: Horror
Director: Mario Mancini
Stars: John Richardson, Gordon Mitchell, Renee Romano

Time to get on with the next film in the Pure Terror DVD Collection – Frankenstein ’80, a little bit of Italian schlock from the ’70s.  Now, it’s been awhile since I tackled the next movie in the Pure Terror set, a month to be exact.  Why such a long break?  Well the short answer would be Shark Month mixed with some personal issues popping up here and there.  Long answer – well this movie is BAD.  I mean, I’ve seen a good deal of cheaply-made giallo horror, but very few have been as difficult to watch as Frankenstein 80.  Several times I would start it and either fall asleep within moments because, let’s face it, this movie is boring as hell, or I would just become so irritated with how poor this movie was that I would just turn it off in favor of whatever cheap shark movie I could get my hands on.  Here, though, are the top reasons that it was so difficult to get through Frankenstein 80

1. Terrible copy of a bad VHS transfer

What’s a aspect ratio?  Here’s some shots of the film’s opening credits – let’s see if you can figure out what’s wrong:

frankenstein 1frankenstein 2frankenstein 3

Get the hint?  I mean there is some hardcore cropping going on with this film.  Whole chunks of images are missing.  Normally this would be a non-issue, essentially the whole “Letterbox Vs. Fullscreen” debate from back in the day.  Is the amount of image cut off for a fullscreen transfer really that important?  Is the artist’s vision compromised?  In this case, YES!  The title of the movie is cut up, whole people’s names are gone, some people aren’t even credited. On top of that, this level of cropping DOES compromise the director’s vision for the film – it’s not what he intended to show.  Granted Frankenstein 80 is crap, but I would like to think that the director had some desire for the movie to be seen with his glaucoma-addled vision.

2. It’s a patchwork person movie

frankenstein 4Like the classic Pieces or the terrible piece of crap The Body Shop, or an earlier film on this DVD set, The House That Screamed, this is one of those movies about assembling a person made out of pieces of other persons (Yeah, that’s some awkward sentence structure, but fuck it).  I liked Pieces and I liked The House that Screamed but that really is my limit for these “patchwork people” type of stories.  Now there is the bit of difference, in this movie that patchwork guy is going around collecting some of his own parts.  His patchwork body is rejecting his liver so he just goes out and yanks a new liver from a woman on the street. But what about Blood-types and all that necessary screening information for organ transplants.  Well, it don’t matter to this guy.

Now one could argue that the story of Frankenstein that this film is clearly struggling to pay homage to was also a patchwork person story?  Not quite.  Frankenstein’s monster was just one dead body with a new brain.  Also, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein didn’t wear out it’s story with unnecessary discussions of organ transplants and all that boring “real” medical stuff.  Now about this patchwork fellow:

3. Mosaic

frankenstein 5Sure, Dr. Frankenstein would like to refer to his creation by the name of Mosaic, but I’m just gonna call him Derpenstein.

Dr. Frankenstein has made this person from the parts of other people.  He’s stolen a special serum from a colleague that prevents bodies from rejecting transplanted organs to make his patchwork person making go along smoother.  With all the kidneys and livers and eyes he’s sticking into this man, you think Frankenstein would have given him a tongue at some point?  Nope!  We end up with dialogue like this.

Mosaic: aaaa. ffff.. arrrr… gggg.
Frankenstein: Yes, Mosaic.  That’s right.
Mosaic: uuuuuu hhhh aaaa uuuhhh
Frankenstein: Yes, Mosaic.  We will get him soon.

4. The Dubbing

Now I have heard some bad dub actors before.  I really don’t have the words to describe just how bad it is, so here is a scene from the movie so you can experience the pain yourself:
See what I mean?

5. This Line

Mosaic meets with a prostitute.  And she says this:

You may have a limp when you walk but I bet you don’t in bed.

What the hell does that mean?  How would someone have a limp in bed.  They’re laying down, you dumb woman.  People only limp when they walk!  What kind of terrible excuse for a pick-up line is this.

6. Solving the Mystery

frankenstein 6There are some detectives out there looking for Mosaic as well as a newspaper reporter.  However, there’s no real detective work that happens.  They find a surgical lancet with different sets of fingerprints.  Their immediate assumption is “this killer had a hand made out of fingers from different people”  Really?!  THAT is the only possible theory?  Not that “Hmm, maybe more than one person touched this.”  These people make more ridiculous leaps of logic than Scooby-Doo’s gang.  “Hmm, this crime scene smells faintly of formaldehyde so that must only mean that our killer is a reanimated body made out of the parts of other people.”  Nobody thinks that way?  It’s a poorly told story with a mystery that is only solved out of convenient plotholes.

So, that’s Frankenstein 80.  Glad THAT damning movie is over with.  Time to movie on to The House By the Cemetary.  Don’t know what’s so scary about that, though.  I used to live in a house by a cemetery and never had a problem at all.

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats
Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski. Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.

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