A sprawling gothic horror story set in a far-away fantasy kingdom, Frank & Zed is an unbelievable DIY passion project from Portland-based filmmaker and puppeteer Jesse Blanchard.
Conceived and filmed over a period of six years, this love letter to classic terror is filled to the bloody brim with long-forgotten ancient secrets, a towering cursed castle, and a world of unbelievable characters that both honor the legacy and humor of The Muppets while simultaneously making their own ghastly mark on the world of cinema.
Long ago, a foul wizard was cut down by cursed weapons of tremendous power, leaving behind two servants, Frank and Zed. For centuries, the two monsters have survived by working together: Frank hunts for squirrels to feed Zed, and Zed hooks Frank up to a lightning rod to charge. But just as their decrepit bodies crumble beyond repair, a new threat arises in the nearby village. In a dark grab for power, the Lord Regent of the village deliberately triggers the curse by sending innocent civilians into the woods. Frank mistakes the wayward villagers for threats, cutting them down and serving their brains to Zed. This awakens a thirst for human flesh in Zed and stirs memories of his tragic past in Frank. In the ensuing chaos, their friendship is torn asunder. Convinced that killing the monsters is the only way to save themselves, the villagers dig up the cursed weapons and storm the castle. Now, Frank and Zed must come together if they are to survive The Orgy of Blood.
Filmed over the course of six years, Frank & Zed is one of only a handful of films made entirely with hand puppets. Featuring stunningly detailed handmade props and creatures and packed with old-school practical effects (from detailed cloud tank shots to fiendishly complex puppet disembowelments), Frank & Zed is a loving, blood-soaked homage to classic monster movies, delivering a story that’s outrageously fun, funny, and surprisingly tender.
Are you (virtually) attending NIGHTSTREAM? Are you excited to check out Frank & Zed? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.