9 August 2002 | haxan
French oddity that is rather enjoyable
Horror comedies rarely work, in my opinion. Either the humor is unsuccessful or the horror is. Or both. In this case, there is a good combination, although ultimately there is more humor than horror.
The setting is modern day (1984) France and (what we find out) is a descendent of the Frankenstein family is continuing to work on the same old experiments. However this time around he is more successful and the "creation" is rather civilized (wearing jeans and a sweatshirt for much of the film) for the most part although he does have some anger management problems.
The humor is not heavy handed and in my opinion that helps it work better.
A good example of a funny bit early on is when the doctor, stealing an arm from a laboratory, accidentally drops it while climbing over the fence only to have it picked up by a dog. This results in a brief struggle for the arm. Not hilarious, but funny. There is a lot of that in the film.
This is a more down to earth version of Frankenstein. It is without the drama and grandiose aspects many of them have. It addresses, in some manner, the real problems that might come up if one had assembled a human/creature from dead body parts.
Some of the humor is a bit dark, naturally, and there are some genuinely atmospheric moments in the form of a dream sequences.
I'm sort of surprised this film doesn't have a greater cult following, although maybe it does and I'm just not aware of it. Maybe it will now since Anchor Bay has just released a nice looking DVD of the film.
For fans of the bizarre and humorous, I suggest checking this one out.
It is worth comparing this film, in a way, to the other comedy film based around the Frankenstein story - Young Frankenstein. I enjoy that film very much but this one has a different feel to it. It has some darker moments, thematically, and some darker comedy. Simply put, this one is French and the other is a Mel Brooks film made in his prime.