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Frankenhooker – Arrow Video (BluRay) 
Written by: on December 20th, 2011


Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1990
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Writer: Frank Henenlotter, Robert Martin
Cast: James Lorinz, Patty Mullen, Louise Lasser, Joseph Gonzalez, Joanne Ritchie, J.J. Clark

BluRay released: January 2nd, 2012
Approximate running times: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £24.99


Synopsis: After the tragic death of fiancée Elizabeth who died due to a freak lawnmower accident her fiancée Jeffery Franken dreams up a too bring her back to life. He decides to give her new body by taking the best body parts from various prostitutes. After he reassembles Elizabeth he gets more then he bargained for when she takes on the persona of the prostitutes who body parts now make up her body and she goes on a rampage through the streets of New York looking for John’s who are looking for a date.

Frankenhookeris like a cross between Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and the film Weird Science. Who hasn’t dreamed of or wouldn’t want to put together a perfect woman. Unlike these other films that explore a similar idea the plot for Frankenhooker sees Jeffrey Franken who wants to bring his dead girlfriend because he misses her and not to advance science. It is also amusing how he wants to give her the perfect body when while she was alive she battled a weight problem.

One of the films strongest assets is its special effects which while at times not perfect they still get the job done. The most memorable scene is when a group of prostitutes start smoking the super crack Jeffery Franken made and then they all start to explode. The most colorful and charismatic character in the film is a pimp named Zorro who brands his ladies with a Z that he burns into their arms. Patty Mullen (Doom Asylum) is also really good especially once she takes on the persona of Frankenhooker. She also gets some of the more memorable lines in the film. James Lorinz (The Sweet Life) is wonderful as the prototype mad scientist Jeffrey Franken and his enthusiasm for his work is infectious.

Part of Frankenhooker’s charm is that the film never takes itself seriously. Fans of director Frank Henenlotter who go into the film expecting the gore and violence to be on the same level as his previous films Basket Case and Brain Damage might feel under whelmed since this film relies more on comedy on less on these two things. Overall Frankenhooker is a biting satire that cleverly pays homage to the Frankenstein legacy.

The BluRay:

Note: This review is based on a test disc and may not be representative of the final product.

Frankenhooker comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Though this transfer appears to come from a similar source that was used for Synapse Films recently released BluRay. They are a handful of instances in which they differ, most notably it looks like Arrow Video have once again boosted the colors and there also appears to be more digital manipulation present on Arrow Video’s transfer.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digtal Mono mix in English and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio mix in very good shape as dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and there are no problems with distortion or background noise.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 26 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), a Frank Henenlotter trailer reel that includes that following trailers – Basket Case, Basket Case 2 and Brain Damage and three interviews, the first interview with actress Patty Mullen (8 minutes 48 seconds – 4:3 full frame), the second interview with actress Jennifer Delora (19 minutes 32 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and the third interview with special effects advisor Gabe Bartalos (20 minutes  55 seconds – 4:3 full frame). The interviews with Patty Mullen and Jennifer Delora, both ladies are candid as they recall in great detail working with director Frank Henenlotter and their experiences making Frankenhooker, while the interview with Gabe Bartalos covers the make-up effects and this segment is filled with a lot of cool behind the scenes footage.

Other extras include a very brief intro before the film with Frank Henenlotter and James Lorinz, a segment titled ‘Exclusive Tour of the Gabe Bartalos Effects Lab’ (19 minutes 12 seconds – anamorphic widescreen),  a ‘Making of’ featurette (39 minutes 22 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) with comments from director Frank Henenlotter, special effects Gabe Bartalos and actor James Lorinz and a audio commentary with Frank Henenlotter and James Lorinz. The ‘Making of’ featurette is a well rounded discussion that covers the various areas of this production like casting, the script, the special effects, how Frankenhooker and Basket Case 2 were filmed back to back, how they got Bill Murray to do a quote for Frankenhooker and director Frank Henenlotter discusses various problems that befell Frankhooker, most notably how he did not get along with his two cinematographers. The audio commentary is a laid back track that finds a pleasing balance between being informative and humorous. And though there is some info covered here, that also crops up in the ‘Making of’ featurette, this is still a very good track that offers up a few cool facts about this production like how they casted the actresses that portrayed the hookers that appeared in this film.

Rounding out the extras include a reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphries, a double-sided fold-out artwork poster and a exclusive collectors’ booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Calum Waddell. Overall Frankenhooker gets a good release from Arrow Video that comes with a wealth of new extra content that is exclusive to this release.

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