Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So a few months back I watched Director Frank Henenlotter’s movie ‘Bad Biology’ which… well… was terrible. But… I couldn’t stop watching it. I was in a trance watching that movie amazed at the gall, the nudity, the detached deformed penis… it was something else altogether. Now I’ve had in my possession a copy of Henenlotter’s classic ‘Frankenhooker’ for years now. Years I tell you. But I had never gotten around to actually watching it and to be honest with you, after seeing ‘Bad Biology’, despite the fact that the movie had me tranmorgified to my TV screen, this didn’t encourage me to dust off that copy of ‘Frankenhooker’. Not at all. But eventually ‘Frankehooker’ had to be seen. And it has been seen. And ‘Frankenhooker’ is a classic that has matured very well over the years. Or about as well as movie like this can mature. Maybe ‘mature’ isn’t even the right word.

Jeffrey (James Lorinz) loves his girl Elizabeth (Patty Mullen) even though Elizabeth could stand to lose a few pounds. Of course it would be obvious to even a blind man that Elizabeth is probably proportionally perfect under that fat suit, but we’ll go ahead and digest what we are being fed. Jeffrey is a bit of a mad scientist as we can plainly observe while he works on a detached human brain with an eyeball embedded within it at the dinner table of his future in-laws, all this during his future father-in-law birthday celebration. Then there is a tragic accident at this party involving a lawn mower that changes the course of Jeffrey’s life forever as he has sadly lost the love of his life. Or maybe not.

Yes, Jeffrey Franken is going to reanimate his woman. To complete his diabolical plan all he needs is some loose morality, which he achieves by damaging certain sectors of his brain with a power drill, some electricity which will becoming his way via a mega-storm in a few days, and a few body parts. To get these parts all the New Jersey boy has to do is go across the river, where parts abound, and this is where he will meet the lovely lady of the night Honey (Charlotte Helmkamp) who will in turn introduce him to mega pimp drug dealer Zorro (Joseph Gonzalez) who will give Jeffrey all the girls he needs.

Jeffrey only wanted one girl, but sadly the girls got a hold of Jeffrey’s Super Crack which has the unfortunate side effect of blowing up the smoker. Tragic, but now there are plenty of body parts to choose from, including the breasts of Heather Hunter. It’s a shame, and I’m not proud of this, but I didn’t even notice Heather Hunter, who I’ve heard was a porn star during this time around 1990, until they zoomed in on her breasts. I’m sitting there looking at the TV screen saying to myself, ‘Hmmm… those look exactly like Heather Hunter’s tits’. I have no idea how I knew this.

Anyway, Jeffrey reanimates his lady with these spare hooker parts, Zorro by the way is none to happy about his exploding bitches, then his reanimated girlfriend busts free, but possessing the memories of the hookers she’s constructed with and not those of Elizabeth. Thus this Frankenhooker goes about the process of finding johns, though sex with the Frankenhooker is NOT recommended. Zorro seeks revenge, gets revenge, pays for revenge and eventually a pair of lovers are reunited. Kind of. In a way.

‘Frankenhooker’ is a strange and interesting little film. I mean it is twenty years old and it is a low budget twenty year old movie so some of the elements of the film were betrayed by its twenty year old low budgetness, but as I’ve often said, one thing that rarely cost much money is the ability to tell a decent, coherent story and this movie… one called ‘Frankenhooker’, somehow manages to do just that. The story itself is admittedly silly, but there are so many little clever nuggets and little tidbits floating around this silly story that you really need to pay attention to catch them all. Plus it was funny. Admittedly, for disclosures sake, I should mention I was riding on the back of a few Seven and Seven’s while watching the movie but that’s really neither here nor there. You gotta take your hat of to James Lorinz who had to carry this silliness pretty much from start to finish, and played the role of Jeffrey Franken with just the right amount respect for his character, but not so serious to the point that it seemed like he wasn’t in on the joke. Not to mention this movie also has Charlotte Helmkemp in it. All things considered maybe that’s not a big deal to you but if you ever saw the movie ‘Posed for Murder’ which isn’t necessarily recommended, but Charlotte has completely redeemed her status here at the FCU with her tour de force performance as the head ho, super crack stealer. Super Crack. Come on now. Henenlotter even took the time to throw some serious social commentary in the mix. What better way to decry the exploitation of women than by exploiting them further. Crazy perhaps. Crazy like a fox.

Naturally the acting was incredibly spotty for the most part, no debating that, but if you did see ‘Bad Biology’ the cast of ‘Frankenhooker’ is Shakespearean by comparison. And yes some of the exploding whores didn’t look so authentic but it did smell like 1990 up in there and I remember 1990 and 1990 smelled good. Even New York in 1990 didn’t smell so bad all things considered, and I was there.

A classic by any other name is still a classic and ‘Frankenhooker’ is truly a classic. A shame it took me this long to jump in.

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