Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)

flesh for frankenstein poster 1973 movie andy warhol
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 7/10

Interesting new takes on aspects of the Frankenstein story

Doesn't push differences enough, camp style acting

Movie Info

Movie Name: Flesh for Frankenstein

Studio:  Compagnia Cinematografica Champion

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  November 30, 1973 (West Germany)/March 17, 1974 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

flesh for frankenstein udo kier dalila di lazzaro

When you can’t get a girlfriend, make one

Frankenstein (Udo Kier) dreams of perfection.  He believes through science, he can create a master race that will follow his every order.  With his assistant Otto (Arno Juerging), he finds a specimen in Sacha (Srdjan Zelenovic) and kills him for his experiments.  Meanwhile Sacha’s friend Nicholas (Joe Dallesandro) has found his friend decapitated and is hired by Frankenstein’s sexually deprived wife Baroness Katrin Frankenstein (Monique van Vooren)…and he’s about to discover Frankenstein’s twisted experiments.  With Frankenstein’s desire for control, a rebellious streak in his monster could be his undoing.

Written and directed by Paul Morrissey, Flesh for Frankenstein is a science-fiction horror film.  Released as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein in some countries including the United States, the movie was also released in 3-D and received mixed to negative reviews upon its release but gained a cult following.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film which is now out-of-print (Criterion #27).

Both Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula were very hard to track down.  With both being out-of-print for years and having more adult content, they didn’t always find their way onto the internet intact and in good quality.  While I ended up having to watch Flesh for Frankenstein in kind of a squished image, the movie wasn’t as interesting to me as the follow-up Dracula film, but it too had interesting aspects worth exploring.

flesh for frankenstein severed head srdjan zelenovic

Sometimes it is hard to get ahead as mad scientist

The real story of Flesh for Frankenstein is the idea of perfection and control.  While those feel more like undercurrents in the original story (with God complex being a major theme), having control over someone and striving for what one person sees as perfection is interesting…and reminiscent of Hitler’s goals.  While Dr. Frankenstein wasn’t ever seen as a hero, he generally wasn’t seen as a Hitler, but it is an apt description…I just wish that movie had really hit home these aspects of the story to make it completely original.

The acting isn’t great, and it largely comes off as campy.  Udo Kier is known for his overacting and he doesn’t disappoint here as the manic Frankenstein.  Monique van Vooren also is over-the-top as Frankenstein’s strict but sex crazed wife.  Joe Dallesandro (like his role in Blood for Dracula) reads all his lines with little energy or effort.  Srdjan Zelenovic and Dalila Di Lazzaro get to play the “monsters” which largely entails either just staring or having sex.  I do like the ending with Frankenstein’s children played by Marco Liofredi and Nicoletta Elmi carrying on their father’s work.

flesh for frankenstein monique van vooren srdjan zelenovic

Mr. Monster, I barely know you like that

This movie isn’t as visually compelling as the second film in Morrissey’s monster series.  It is gorier and the stitched up monsters get to spill their guts (literally) as Frankenstein’s creations.  It is also a bit of a more realistic approach to the Frankenstein monster in that it is literally just held together by thread…no skin or tissue would probably grow or attach.

Flesh for Frankenstein is interesting and like Blood for Dracula, I wish it was more readily available because they both seem to be a different niche than other “monster” movies.  The movie does introduce new concepts and ideas to the Frankenstein story that are unique and the biggest fault of the film is that it starts to explore them but doesn’t (ironically) flesh them out.  Seek out Flesh for Frankenstein and hopefully someday a nice available copy will surface again.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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