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Talk about weird science!

Rod Lott October 4th, 2011

Frank Henenlotter's "Basket Case" sequels, while certainly tongue-in-cheek, had little in the way of actual jokes to support their lighthearted tone. His "Frankenhooker" has no such problem. (It has the distinction of being the film that nearly got me fired from my college stint at Blockbuster Video, but that’s another story, long and unimportant.)


Now on Blu-ray from Synapse Films, the raunchy 1990 comedy provides a delirious take on the Frankenstein legend, with crazed electrical worker Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz, "The Sweet Life") wanting to bring Elizabeth Shelley, his dead girlfriend (Patty Mullen, a former Penthouse Pet), back to life. Since she was killed by a runaway lawn mower, however, he has to reassemble her, using other people's limbs.

Wanting nothing but the best, he feeds a potent form of homemade crack to a room full of hired help — hookers, to be clear — collects the desired appendages from amid the carnage, and revives his true love. Problem is, when she comes to, she thinks she's a prostitute.

As the title heroine, Mullen gives a great performance, built largely on physical comedy. It's a shame she never worked again. Lorinz, who has to carry most of the film on his own, is a likable average Joe. With this whacked-out wonder, Henenlotter stops at nothing, and nothing is sacred, to the point where you may genuinely be bothered by what you first see. One of the better bad-taste gags has a pimp named Zorro knocked unconscious by the flying disembodied head of one of his girls.

One of those girls, Jennifer Delora, provides Synapse’s disc with a delicious pair of extras, including a narrated tour through her on-set photo collection. The best, however, is a brief interview with Mullen, who looks better than ever.  —Rod Lott

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