Flesh for Frankenstein (1974)
|Category||Horror||Main Menu Audio|
|Year Of Production||1974|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Paul Morrissey|
Beyond Home Entertainment
Monique van Vooren
Dalila Di Lazzaro
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The absolutely unique Udo Kier stars as Baron Frankenstein in this writing and directing effort from Paul Morrissey, a very campy take on the Hammer franchise of the 70s.
The Baron Frankenstein has settled into family life, with a frustrated wife who also happens to be his sister Katrin. Their two understandably weird children like to spend play time cutting the heads off dolls with a miniature guillotine and spying on their inattentive parents - their father in his cadaverous laboratory and their mother in the sack with the labourer. What a childhood! The Baron and his ever-faithful assistant Otto have been hard at work for years, perfecting a man of parts with which they intend to begin a race of super humans that can populate and eventually take over the world. Now only one piece is missing - a head. But it can't be just any ordinary head - it must be the head of a strong, virile, insatiable hunk. The mayhem begins when the Baron mistakenly installs the head of a quiet artistic lad who can't get it up, and is left with his plans for world domination in tatters.
This is actually quite a funny film, but sadly not funny enough to stand up to repeat viewings. There are many gross-out scenes that focus on the fondling of internal organs, but all of the props and effects are so laughable it is absolutely impossible to take any of this seriously. The terrifyingly awful rubber bats on strings cracked me up in particular.
Although the title bears the words Andy Warhol Presents it is widely believed that the famed artist had very little to do with the creative process of filmmaking, only offering financial backing in exchange for the inclusion of his name and an acting job for some of his 'friends'. Morrissey's flair behind the camera can can only be respectfully described as unique, although it certainly does this horror/comedy style justice. Flesh for Frankenstein is by no means the best retelling of this classic monster tale. However, one thing is for sure - Hammer did it better.
Our transfer of Flesh for Frankenstein has been slightly overmatted into a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, though still quite close to the original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1. Be aware that contrary to the disc's packaging, this transfer is not 16x9 enhanced. Considering the film's age and relatively low budget, I was prepared to cut it a bit of slack. I have, however, ultimately been left disappointed by the transfer.
This is a hazy transfer at best, generally lacking in definition. There are absolutely no examples of film-like sharpness to be found, and black levels are similarly foggy and inconsistent. Judging by the lack of detail and some distractingly jerky pans, I suspect that this transfer may have been sourced from an NTSC tape.
The colour palette is muted and drab, with no rich colouring to speak of. Skin tones take on a slightly orange appearance in well lit scenes and appear washed out during darker moments.
Film artefacting isn't the the worst I have seen, but it does become obvious at times. There are many segments of damaged or scratched film, and some rather dirty portions as well, presenting both positive and negative specs intermittently. An ugly black spot also appears on the camera lens at 7:50 for a few seconds and is a little distracting. Telecine wobble is surprisingly rare, but similarly noticeable. I didn't see any compression issues during the transfer, probably because I was so consumed by the lack of detail.
There are no subtitles on this single-layered disc.
An English Dolby Digital mono soundtrack is included.
The film's dialogue is composed of location audio and a little ADR in some scenes. Voices off camera are muffled and hard to understand, while some pieces of dialogue are presented at a lower level and are even harder to discern. There were a couple of minor instances of audio sync problems, but these were only brief.
The soundtrack score by Claudio Gizzi is not surprisingly the most professional aspect if this production. His contribution to the film is a haunting, melodic and strangely romantic theme reminiscent of many classic European horror films from this era.
There was obviously no surround activity or subwoofer response in this mono soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
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NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
A Region 1 Criterion release also exists, with these extra features included:
Both releases are coded Region 0 and do not have any subtitles. Despite not being 16x9 enhanced, the Criterion transfer is reportedly superior to the Region 2. The best value has to be the Region 2, offering both films in a package.
The video transfer is not very good.
The audio transfer is similarly ordinary.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-525, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|