Production: Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment
Distribution: Synapse Films
Release: Nov 8th, 2011 (Blu-ray Edition)
There’s a lot of guys out there who enjoy daydreaming about the perfect woman. They pick and choose different body parts from the world around them, pairing up this woman’s legs with that woman’s breasts, and then topping it all off with the perfect features from that lady who waited on them in the bank. But in the case of failed medical school student Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz), it has a lot more to do with re-creating the perfect woman, rather than conjuring her up from scratch. Because after the love of his life dies in a tragic remote-controlled lawn mower accident, he’s left with little more than a disembodied head and a whole host of ideas for how to fix that problem.
Jeffrey is something of a mad and misunderstood genius. He’s been tossed on his keister by three different schools of medicine, and currently makes do by working for New Jersey Electric. But in his spare time he conducts wildly inadvisable experiments using brains floating in multi-hued solutions of mysterious chemicals, and electrodes crackling with dangerous amounts of electricity.
The love of his life is Elizabeth Shelley (Patty Mullen), a kind and sweet-natured woman who thinks Jeffrey’s bizarre experiments are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Unfortunately, one of those projects just happens to be a powerful, remote-controlled lawn mower that Jeffrey assembled as a birthday present for Elizabeth’s father. And when Elizabeth gleefully demonstrates the new device for her expectant father, she neglects to stand a safe distance away, and sets it loose while standing directly in its mulch-grinding path.
Elizabeth is torn to shreds, her body dismembered and separated into numerous parts. Jeffrey, in his state of grief, steals away with Elizabeth’s head and a few other mismatched pieces of her body, and preserves them in a glowing liquid solution. He then sets about the complicated and half-mad plot of bringing his love back to life by finding replacement body parts. And the first places he goes looking are the street corners and alleyways inhabited by New York City’s prostitutes.
Of course, this mixing and matching of various persons has unintended side-effects, not the least of which is a pissed off body-building pimp, and a newly resurrected girlfriend who isn’t quite herself anymore.
Frankenhooker was originally released back in 1990, and has attained something of a cult standing. But this is the first time the film has been presented in full high-definition Blu-ray format, and Synapse has spared no expense in bringing fans of this genre favorite the best possible version. Unrated, uncut and brought to vibrant life with an all-new 2K high-definition transfer from original vault materials and digitally remastered for 5.1 surround sound, Frankenhooker can now be viewed with an unparalleled amount of on screen clarity.
The film looks downright beautiful, and has a crystal-clear presentation that makes every scene pop right off the television, showcasing the pores on an actor’s face, and the sweat on their nose, yet still preserving the original grain of the film stock, which is something I always look for in re-masters.
Frankenhooker is a great genre classic, as the continued popularity of the film over the years can attest to, and now that we can finally see it in all of its glory, with full nudity and gore restored and reinvigorated in glorious high-definition, you’d have to have a screw (or bolt) loose not to grab a copy. I highly recommend this version of the film. And the fact that it’s loaded with great extras, like an interview with Patty Mullen, behind-the-scenes coverage of Gabe Bartalos’ make-up effects, and extensive reminiscing with Jennifer Delora, just makes it all the more definitive.
This film receives a score of:
8.5 out of 10