Follow TV Tropes


Film / Blackenstein

Go To

Blackenstein, also known as Black Frankenstein, is a 1973 American Blaxploitation horror film directed by William A. Levey and starring John Hart, Ivory Stone, Andrea King, Roosevelt Jackson, Joe De Sue, Nick Bolin, and Liz Renay. It was made in an attempt to cash in on the success of Blacula; released the previous year by American International Pictures.

Eddie is a Vietnam veteran who loses his arms and legs when he steps on a land mine, but a brilliant surgeon is able to attach new limbs. Unfortunately an insanely jealous assistant (who has fallen in love with Eddie's fiancee) switches Eddie's DNA injections, transforming him into a gigantic killer.

Tropes in Blackenstein include:

  • Asshole Victim: Malcom.
  • Attempted Rape: Malcolm attempts to rape Winifred. It is interrupted by the arrival of Winifred's fiance Eddie, who is now the monstrous Blackenstein (ironically because of Malcolm's sabotage of his treatment). Eddie pulls him off Winifred and kills him. Winifred flees before Eddie can attempt to force himself on her.
  • Bridal Carry: Eddie carries the unconscious girl he abducts from the dune buggy to the abandoned warehouse like this. As they arrive, she wakes up and starts screaming.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: A dog whines and barks at the approach of the monstrous Eddie. Eddie kills the dog, and the householders go to investigate why the dog has gone silent. Bad move.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: In what may be one the earliest examples of this trope, Dr. Stein is using new techniques involving DNA grafting to regrow lost limbs. His attempt to regrow lost limbs on a disabled Vietnam vet goes horribly wrong when his lab assistant sabotages the experiment, and the subject returns as a Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: After murdering the blonde lady in her backyard, Eddie rips out her intestines. He later does this to the black woman he murders behind the bar.
  • Hate Sink: You can't hate Eddie, who was turned into a monster against his will, but you can hate Malcom, who transformed him and tries to rape his fiancé.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: The soundtrack features a heartbeat as the monster approaches. The heartbeat gets faster as it prepares to attack. At the end of the film as Eddie is ripped apart by dogs the hearts slows down, eventually stopping as he dies.
  • High-Voltage Death: Eddie kills Dr. Stein by pushing him on to one of the sparking pieces of electrical equipment in the Mad Scientist Laboratory.
  • The Igor: Although normal looking, the monotone Malcolm fulfills this role for Dr. Stein. He falls in love with Eddie's fiancee Winifred and sabotages Stein's attempt to cure Eddie, so he can have Winifred for himself.
  • Immune to Bullets: Malcolm empties his revolver into the monster Eddie to no effect.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Despite all his talk of DNA and laser surgery, the Dr. Stein's laboratory set uses Kenneth Strickfaden's original sparking and zapping electrical equipment from the 1931 Frankenstein film.
  • Medication Tampering: Dr. Stein's assistant, the lovesick Malcolm, switches Eddie's DNA injections, causing him to transform into a gigantic killer.
  • My Car Hates Me: The girl in the dune buggy spends several minutes trying to start said dune buggy, which stubbornly refuses to start; unaware that the monster is approaching her from behind.
  • Neck Lift: After Malcolm tries to shoot him, Eddie grabs him by the throat and hoists him up in the air as he strangles him to death.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: At the end of the film, the police call in the Los Angeles County Canine Corps, and the Dobermans surround Eddie, knock him to the ground and, with a fittingly macabre irony, viciously tear the monster to pieces in the same way he killed his victims: absolutely nothing to with Winifred or Dr. Stein, the movie's primary protagonists.
  • One-Word Title
  • Orderlies are Creeps: A white orderly at the veteran's hospital, jealous at not having been able serve in Vietnam, delivers a long angry to tirade to Eddie about how stupid he was to be suckered into fighting. Also, when the limbless Eddie says he is thirsty, he mockingly suggests that Eddie reach over and pour himself a glass of water. Eddie's first act after being turned into a monster is to find the orderly and kill him.
  • Portmantitle: "Black" + "Frankenstein"
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Eddie attacks a rapist behind the bar. the rapist squares off and delivers a series of body blows to Eddie's torso. This completely fail to faze Eddie, who knocks him down and kills him.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: Dr. Stein has a Nobel Prize for his work in solving the DNA sequencing problem. Bizarrely, Winifred that he received a Peace Prize for his work, rather than the far more likely Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
  • Zombie Gait: Eddie moves like after he is transformed into a monster: shambling from foot to foot without bending his knees and holding his arms straight out in front of him.