Udo Kier plays Baron Frankenstein. In his attempts to create the perfect creature, a mirror of Serbian physical superiority, the overly, dramatic doctor wrongly chooses the head of a celibate monk to top off his monster. With little to no sexual desire the doctor’s monster hasn’t the slightest interest in fathering a new master race. Elsewhere in the castle, Frankenstein’s nymphomaniac wife (Monique van Vooren) seduces a local farmer hand (Joe Dallesandro), who happens to be the beheaded monk’s best friend. When he’s not getting it on with Baroness Frankenstein the strapping young farm lad is sneaking around the castle trying to find out what happened to his best friend.
Departing from Mary Shelly’s classic gothic novel, director Paul Morrissey fills his colorful re-telling of the Frankenstein tale with plenty of ambiance and tons of scenery chewing. Sadly, we weren’t able to project a 3-D version of the film, as that is how it was originally shown. While you can still spot a few of the more obvious dimensional gags, the real joy with this film has always been Udo Kier’s performance. Kier comes right through the screen with each thickly accented line. Only, Frankenstein’s wild-eyed assistant, Otto (Arno Juerging), can come close to upstaging Kier. But with lines like, “To know life, you must fuck death in the gall bladder,” no one can out do Kier.
Flesh For Frankenstein balances somewhere between, horror film, soap opera, farcical comedy, and theatrical pomposity. It does a serious job of making a quality production while taking the time to never take itself that seriously. Rather polished, the film exceeds its low-budget. Having the airs of pretentiousness, the film also revels in campy, grotesque fun. Lacking the musical numbers of The Rocky Horror Picture show, that made that film a favorite with theatrical film freaks, Flesh For Frankenstein still possesses an off-kilter cult-vibe. Mixing together sex and gory effects helps make this Warhol produced horror-comedy a hit with those film fans who would prefer to let the actors do the acting and feel no need to sing and dance along.
Thankfully, everyone in the audience quickly saw the film for what it was and the applause of laughter showed that Flesh For Frankenstein was a smart choice to start the night off. The next question would be how well the crowd would hand Blood For Dracula.