Frankenstein Unbound (DVD)

Frankenstein Unbound DVDStarring John Hurt, Raul Julia, Nick Brimble, Bridget Fonda, and Catherine Rabett

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!

Frankenstein unbinds his new babeAs 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.

Special Features
Not a damn thing unless you count being on DVD for the first time special

4 out of 5

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Mike Phalin

Since 1997, Michael Patrick Phalin has been a contributing writer to various websites including Dread Central, iMockery, Bloody Disgusting and KrytenSyxx. During the early 1980s, Phalin's love of the movie industry was fueled by the VHS tapes he found during his time spent at the video rental store his mother worked at. Rather than attending a daycare regularly, young Michael would form a tower of tapes with interesting cover art and go watch each one, the very first of these being the original 'A Nightmare on Elm Street.' From that point he was hooked on horror and the process behind creating special effects. In his twenties, Mike met Steve 'Uncle Creepy' Barton and was soon aiding the horror website Dread Central with film reviews. As the site grew in popularity, Phalin soon started writing news stories and conducting interviews on a daily basis. After a few years, he decided to take a break from writing to focus on other opportunities. After moving to a beach community with his wife Michelle, both were cast to appear in the final season of A&E's home improvement show 'Fix This Yard' in 2013. This event rekindled Mike's love of the entertainment industry. Between the time he spends being with his family, Michael continues to contribute to Dread Central both with writing and photography. In his mid-thirties, Phalin took up oil painting after being inspired by an episode of Bob Ross. Pieces of his artwork and photography can be found on his Tumblr and official website.