Directed by Roger Corman
Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment
The future holds many possibilities, especially in the minds of people at the start of the 1990’s. Frankenstein Unbound opened my eyes to such a world where laser light shows cause black holes and dot matrix printers are still the fashion. In the future computers do not get smaller as the advancement of microchip technology progresses, they get bigger and add more blinky lights!
Roger Corman’s vision of the future is beautiful. New Los Angeles is the bright spot of weapons development in the year 2031. Everyone loves silver jumpsuits with garter belts, but no one can make it look as sexy as John “I’ve got an Alien STD” Hurt can. Hurt plays the ever-regal Dr. Buchanan. This man’s voice could calm a rabid cougar.
Dr. Buchanan is the lead developer of a weapon that creates mini black holes. This fancy weapon is first put to the test on a model of the Statue of Liberty. BOOM! The little French miss is zapped away after getting a healthy dose of squiggly laser loving. Does a weapon that forces black holes to open sound dangerous? Nah, there’d never be anything wrong with it . . . wait, oh crap.
There are some concerns that freak weather, missing people, and recent slips in time may be connected to the testing of this fancy weapon. Dr. Buchanan doesn’t seem to mind one bit and brushes it off as a small side effect. Rifts in time are only a minor concern next to the wacky cloud that is forming over New L.A.
Buchanan is rich, bitch! Just to show off his wealth and genius, he has built a talking car/super computer with a sexy female voice. Buchanan’s car is the 21st Century’s KITT. The slick silver vehicle can drive itself, print out documents, receive TV signals, and gets you some fine ass later. The good doctor heads to his shiny triangular-shaped home, where he witnesses children performing some sort of ceremonial burial. Who’s dead? A bike. Yes, an old analog bike has been replaced with a digital one, in a manner of speaking. If I had creepy kids like these in my neighborhood, I’d let them bury whatever the fuck they wanted in my yard as long as they copied the same ritual.
The cloud that Buchanan has been pondering breaks open the sky to reveal some sort of doorway to another world. Suddenly a Mongol warrior bursts into existence with no other instincts but to kill. Before we get to see some kids get speared, raped, or trampled, the super cloud sucks Buchanan and his female KITT through to the other side.
Now the real fun begins!
They are alone. Neither the car nor Dr. Buchanan have any idea as to where they are or why they cannot get the Spice Channel on the car’s TV screen. Luckily they land next to a nice abandoned shed in the middle of a beautiful countryside where his sexy ride can hide just in case. They both take this situation rather well. Would being cut off from modern society be that bad? No Fox News, no CNN, no reality TV? Count me in!
As the doctor goes out on his own to explore his new surroundings, he makes a ghastly discovery. DEAD SHEEP! These poor animals look to be torn apart by bare hands. Wait, what’s this? They are still breathing? Zombie sheep?! No, just a mistake. Next time, Corman, simply get some dead sheep. I do not like my hopes being shattered that I may see some sheep rising from the dead to feast on the grass of the living.
Buchanan eventually finds society. Maybe he stumbled into a renaissance fair. It’s hard to tell what he thinks because no matter what happens, the doctor acts so calm, collected, and lovingly snobby. After pawning off a ring for 50 francs and a bit of deer meat, the doc takes a seat at a table with a mysterious man reading a paper. Holy shit! He’s in Switzerland and the 18th Century! But . . . why does no one have a Swiss accent? Maybe it’s a popular tourist town in the 18th Century. Buchanan soon learns that this man of dark foreboding is in fact Victor Von Frankenstein and is being played by the amazing Raul Julia.
Now we finally get a look at Victor’s creation. It is a giant, red-haired nightmare to plastic surgeons everywhere. The Monster (Nick Brimble) is Joan Rivers on steroids with a bit of Cenobite mixed in. Frankenstein has made a better man, a man with 6 fingers, one of which can’t really move, but the more the merrier, right? What sets this monster apart from other incarnations has to be the eyes. This is where the effects department got everything right. The Monster’s eyes are 3 different colors all stitched together. While the rest of him may leave something to be desired, the eyes make up for it.
There was something bubbling in the back of my mind while watching this film that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until the end. The whole movie plays out like a fan fiction where the author puts himself in the story so he can fight the bad guys and sleep with the famous women. Hey, whatever floats your boat as long as you aren’t making a movie about Harry Potter taking a wand up the bum by Snape.
There’s much that could be spoiled in this review, but this is a must see even if it is a bad movie. The whole film is a great mix of Back to the Future, Frankenstein, and the Bride of Frankenstein. The concoction of these films, added with a morality tale about the cost of scientific progress, is great. It’s like a fondue pot. Sure, you’ve got cheese, but there’s so much that can be dunked in that cheese, it’s hard not to have a good time. There are also plenty of things to pick apart while watching. Not only that, but you will learn a thing or two.
Things I have learned from Frankenstein Unbound:
• Raul Julia is the calmest mad scientist in the history of Frankenstein films.
• Lasers can do anything!
• Sweet tits, there are a lot of Americans in Switzerland! Or did Corman forget to tell them which nationality they were supposed to be?
• Dream sequences don’t have to make sense as long as they have the same flare as Corman’s older films like The Masque of the Red Death.
• Frankenstein loves electrogadgets from Spencer’s Gifts to be in his lab.
• A bitching silver car will always get you a piece of ass from the 1800’s.
• There are palm trees in Switzerland.
• Bridget Fonda can display as many emotions as accents in the same scene.
Don’t let the mistakes sway you from picking this gem up. It is certainly a drinking game movie to be watched with a group of people. Since this was Roger Corman’s last directorial effort, I think he knew exactly what he was making, and what he made was a fun little romp. If you’re a Frankenstein fan, this movie will certainly be a better addition to your collection than Frankenhooker.
Not a damn thing unless you count being on DVD for the first time special
4 out of 5
Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View
Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly
Directed by Marcel Sarmiento
Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as
17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?
What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.
Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?
IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor
Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.
On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.
The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.
While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.
What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.
While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.
IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.
The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell
Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law
Directed by John Law
I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.
The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.
The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.
The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.
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