Let’s just start with the name of this one. As a fourteen year-old with a newly minted affinity for B-movies, when I walked by this at the local mom and pop video store I had to rent it. Back then it was on VHS, and this was pre IMBd and Rotten Tomatoes scores, so one would go on the strength of the cover art and description on the back. Plus this wasn’t a new release, so it was only $1 to rent anyway. (Take that Red Box!)
First off you have to go in with the right frame of mind for this movie. It’s not good. It’s not even trying to be good. The acting = bad. The special effects = bad. The script = bad. But it’s so bad it’s good. Remember I first saw this when I was fourteen, and most fourteen year-olds aren’t the arbiters of good taste. (Witness the popularity of Twilight. Kiddies, I promise you that when you are in your mid thirties you will look back on Twilight and think WTF? If you are in your mid-thirties and like Twilight. Um Yeah, I doubt you would even be reading this blog, but in the off-chance that you are; seek help IMMEDIATELY. and the hate mail commences……)
So anyway, when I watched this as a kid I was fresh off of a gore high from seeing Re-Animator (1985) and thought that this would give the same level of body horror. It didn’t, but it was still a fun ride. The story centers around Jeffrey Franken, a medical school drop-out working for the power company, who has just lost his fiancé to a horrific lawnmower accident. He eventually uses the body parts of hookers and his deceased beloved’s severed head to reanimate her.
At first the reanimated girlfriend acts like a hooker asking, “You wanna date?”. I’m guessing that’s because the majority of her is hooker parts that it’s the muscle memory taking over. With that, I realize that I have just used entirely too many of my brain cells to make sense of this movie. Anywho, one of the best scenes in the movie is when Zorro (the pimp) punches Frankenhooker’s head off, making her look like a life-sized pez dispenser.
Watching this again as an adult I can appreciate some of the content more. It TOTALLY missed me when Jeffrey made the “super crack” as a kid, but it’s pretty funny to me now, because I can see the context of how the pimp game changed in the 80’s with the advent of crack being introduced
into the underworld of the city. Hookers went from being whores, to being crack whores. Plus the scene were the pimp Zorro is just standing in the bathroom with all the weird $h!t going on in the background, just set the mood. Director Frank Henenlotter always infused his films with the past grittiness of Times Square NY, before it was Disneyfied for tourists, and he continues that tradition here.
This movie is still a classic, and I really look forward to getting this on Blu-ray and watching all the extras. It will be on my shelf right next to Basket Case!