For the record, the fact that you’re his fiance is not reason enough to let your non-doctor boyfriend perform surgery on you. Elizabeth Shelley (played by Penthouse pet, Patty Mullen) would have done well to establish that boundary whilst she was still alive, thus saving her and a lot of hookers from some horrible troubles in the future.
After dropping out of medical school (as they frowned upon his more eccentric research) Jeffrey Franken turns to electrical engineering, and sets to work combining the two disciplines, in the hopes of using electricity to reanimate dead flesh. He has had some success with this, though none of his loved ones seem all that impressed.
Jeffrey’s peculiar pursuits come in handy when his girlfriend Elizabeth is killed in a lawnmower accident (the remote-controlled lawnmower was another of his innovations, by the way). Jeffrey never stops loving Elizabeth, and commits his life to getting her back, by any means. Leaving aside the horrible things he does to accomplish his goals, Jeffrey could have come across as a tragic hero, but instead is largely unlikable. The Blu Ray includes an interview with Jennifer Delora, who played the hooker, Angel. She describes James Lorinz (Jeffrey) as a ‘diva,’ who was a pain to work with and made everyone miserable. His character certainly has that vibe about him, but at the same time, he is, essentially, the villain of the piece, so it works in the context of the film. This isn’t a heartfelt character study, it’s just a fun horror-comedy movie.
The biggest obstacle to returning Elizabeth to life is the fact that most of her is missing, the lawnmower having done quite a number on her. Jeffrey comes to the conclusion that he must replace the missing parts, and hits upon hookers as the best option. What’s interesting about a movie with a premise like this is how unsalacious it feels. The hookers are the stereotypical type; lingerie-wearing drug addicts with mean pimps, and yet it’s not depressing. They seem to enjoy their work, and come off as more sassy than sad.
Jeffrey seems to succeed in his work, only to find a fatal flaw; Elizabeth has absorbed the personalities of the prostitute parts stitched onto her body and is now a mindless hooking machine, wandering the red light district, hitting up potential customers. That would be all well and good, except that Frankenhooker’s lightning-infused body has a somewhat negative side-effect on her customers.
Frankenhooker is everything a great ‘B’ movie should be; colorful, creative, and a little edgy. It’s a movie that’s classified as ‘B,’ not because it has a low budget, but because it is out of the mainstream. It’s easy to ignore a movie called Frankenhooker, but it’s a highly entertaining movie, with more originality and wonder than is seen in most a-list films.
The Blu Ray from Synapse Films features beautiful video, a commentary, and some insightful interview features.