Everyone has their staples for Halloween watching, like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.” But be forewarned, gentle reader, because your master of Scarimonies (God, I sound like the Crypt Keeper), Dukey Flyswatter, will suggest some gems and themes that may have flown drastically under your radar, like a schizophrenic Vampire Bat. Week three we focus on drive-in gems and Just plain weirdness.
Director: Frank Hennenlotter. Stars: James Lorinz, Joanne Ritchie, Louise Lasser
Hennelotter, who gave us the crazed cult classic “Basket Case,” was lucky enough to get this film into Drive-ins and midnight movies at the beginning of the end for said venues. Once more we are plunged into his skewed vision, acerbic wit and gobs of slapstick violence. It’s really got everything one needs for an exploitation horror comedy.
Scraping the plot down to its bloody bones, we have an absent-minded med school dropout who is brilliant–up to a point–but then takes a power drill to his head to relieve the pressure when things get too special. At his Dad’s birthday party, he presents his automated lawn mower, but the kinks aren’t quite worked out yet. His fiancee gets run over and mulched, save for her head, which goes flying like a football into the arms of her beloved, who vows that she will live again.
The next step is to get her the right body, or in a pinch the right parts. Jeffrey Franken (get it?) then cruises the red light district on the wrong side of the tracks, and sets up a big party so he can pick and choose a couple of girls for his experiment. To make them more agreeable, he concocts a drug the hookers refer to as super crack. In a heartbeat, a busload of uninvited call girls show up when the word hits the street. Jeff starts to feel some guilt over the situation, but before you can say, “KABOOM!” dozens of naked prostitutes begin to explode, an unfortunate side-effect of the drug. It’s a big mess, but our anti-hero bags body parts to start his quest. He leaves behind a pissed off-pimp named Zorro, who starts to search for the S.O.B who destroyed his meal tickets.
Frankenhooker is lowbrow and vulgar, but frequently hilarious as each successive scene tries to top the previous one, and often succeeding. It’s not a Halloween pick for mixed company or minors, but it has a tone that could be described as “Blazing Saddles” meets “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein.” A Personal Favorite.