20 January 2008 | Coventry
Pimp My Mary Shelley!
Nothing's sacred in the world of exploitation cinema, not even Mary Shelley's legendary novel or the classic Universal make-up effects on Boris Karloff. And thank the heavens for that, otherwise we never would have seen this wondrously demented Blaxploitation interpretation of Frankenstein. "Blackenstein" is a delightfully inept movie, some would even categorize it under so-bad-it's-great, and the script goes far beyond simply copying the original Shelley tale. There are even flashes of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" to be found here and there's another mini sub-plot about a rejuvenation serum. The actual Frankenstein plot is moderately altered as well, since the mad doctors (yes, two in this case, black & white brotherly messing with Mother Nature and God's creation together!) don't intend to re-insert life into dead body parts, but supply a wounded Vietnam veteran with new arms and legs. The procedure doesn't go as planned, due to the sabotaging of a jealous assistant, and a monstrous creation arises from the operating table. The genetically altered Brutha goes on a murder rampage but his endearing wife still doesn't give up on him. "Blackenstein" is original and funny because of its ineptness, but after a while it nearly becomes unendurable to sit through. The pace slows down fast and the story reverts to boredom, the dialogs are horrible, the make-up effects are miserable and the acting performances are lamentable. Especially Roosevelt Jackson, as Malcomb the assistant, is the hammiest performer I've seen in a long time. The DVD states that the operating sequences were shot with the same and carefully persevered scenery and sets of the original Frankenstein film. That's quite difficult to believe but, as said, everything's possible in the 70's exploitation industry. "Blackenstein" is definitely not a good film, but nevertheless recommended to people with a morbid & insatiable curiosity for weird film-making.