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Film / Flesh for Frankenstein

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Also known as Andy Warhol's Frankenstein.

Flesh For Frankenstein is a 1973 horror movie that was filmed alongside its companion piece Blood for Dracula, which was released the following year. Both films were written and directed by Paul Morrissey, a frequent collaborator of Andy Warhol who allowed his name to be attached to their alternate titles but otherwise had nothing to do with them. The films also starred Joe Dallesandro, another Warhol collaborator, and Udo Kier. Both films dealt with themes of sexuality, classism, and immortality in a tongue-in-cheek manner, using classic horror figures of the 19th century. In this case, Frankenstein.

The movie concerns Baron Frankenstein (Kier) who lives in Serbia with his sister/wife and two children. As with other versions of the character, he is a Mad Scientist. This particular version wishes to create a Master Race using body parts stolen from corpses. He creates a female body but needs a male, preferably one who has a massive libido and sexual stamina so that they can produce offspring. He scopes out the local brothel for just the right man and mistakes the ambiguously gay Sacha as the perfect lover. He and his assistant Otto kill Sacha and use his brain as the mind of the male monster. His friend Nicholas the stable boy, works for the Frankensteins but does not fully realize Sacha's true fate, only seeing his dead body and left with several questions. Meanwhile, the Baroness begins seducing him after she catches him having sex with fellow workers.

Before long, everything goes nuts and most of the cast die.

This film contains examples of

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Obviously, this movie is loosely based on the original novel but it's usually fairly established that Frankenstein's creations must look monstrous. Here, they look like an attractive young woman and man. Sure, there are some stitches around the torso but it looks as though they just came out of surgerynote .
  • Ambiguously Gay: If Sacha isn't asexual, he is likely homosexual since he seems outright bored when women throw themselves at him. Granted, he mentions wanting to become a monk but he does not seem to have any moral objections with being inside of a bordello. Then there are the gazes at Nicholas' naked body.
    • This would later come back to bite Frankenstein in the backside since he initially thought Sacha was The Casanova due to a series of misinterpreted events, and decided to use his brain for the male creature, hoping he would mate with his female creature. Turns out, he's not interested.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: With certain edits titled Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, one would assume Mr. Warhol wrote, directed, produced, or otherwise had something to do with the film's creation, right? Especially if one knows that Mr. Warhol dabbled in the art of film-making himself. Wrong, all he did was visit the set a couple times and gave permission for his name to be used in a way that suggested he was more involved.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Frankenstein and his wife are brother and sister. See below for how this impacts their kids. (Surprisingly Truer to the Text ; in the first original version of the novel Victor and Elizabeth were in fact related by blood.)
  • Creepy Child: The Frankensteins' kids love torturing small animals, chop off the head of a doll, and seem keen on continuing their father's work once he dies, much to Nicholas' chagrin. It doesn't help that their parents are blood siblings.
  • Creating Life: Frankenstein believes he is doing this.
  • Dr. Frankenstein: Baron Von Frankenstein is a Serial Killer with Nazi-like obsessions about creating a Master Race from spare parts of bodies. He is also in a marriage with his sister.
  • Dull Surprise: While Kier is being his usual hammy self, Dellesandro barely emotes, even when he discovers his friend has been turned into a monster or that he is possibly moments away from a nasty death.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: The movie has a low bodycount all the way until the last scene in which most of the main characters are killed off in rapid succession with only three people left alive. And even then, one of those characters is certain to recieve a slow and painful death after the credits.
  • Fan Disservice: The close up of the large, old prostitute's bare breasts (remember that this movie was originally in 3D as well). Morrissey would sometimes throw these shots in early as a You Bastard! moment to the audience members who came just to see some nudity.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Expected, although this is perhaps the only version in which Frankenstein makes a female creature before the male creature. It's also probably the only version in which he works on two monsters at once.
  • Gorn: When Frankenstein gets his heart removed via spear, it gets placed front and center. Considering this movie was shot in 3D, this effect was probably even squickier.
  • Grave Robbing: While Frankenstein and Otto start off doing this, they eventually decide on using live test subjects since their organs are fresher.
  • Herr Doktor: Udo Kier's version of the Baron would not look out of place in a nazisploitation film.
  • The Igor: Frankenstein's assistant, Otto.
  • I Love the Dead: Baron Frankenstein has a rather "odd" reaction as he takes out the female creature's organs. At one point, he even demands Otto look the other way as he climbs on top of her and starts putting his fist inside her torso.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Many characters meet their fates this way.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Andy Warhol's name was slapped on the alternate titles of both films but he had little to do with them.
    • A similar credit was given to famed Italian director Antonio Margheriti as assistant director simply so that the studio would finance the project. He had nothing to do with the film but allowed his name to be used as a personal favor.
    • Andy Warhol later said that his job "was to go to the parties." The use of Antonio Margheriti's name was a result of Carlo Ponti's habit of crediting his films to Italian directors in the Italian market so that they would qualify for tax breaks. The practice was how Ponti ended up in jail.
  • Large Ham: Udo Kier, as per usual.
    "To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life in the gall bladder."
  • Made of Plasticine: Stabbing someone in the back is a good way to punch their heart clean through their chest, apparently. Also, when Otto kills the caretaker, he apparently rips her organs out just by tearing her dress a little.
  • Mad Scientist: Frankenstein, as expected.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Also expected.
  • Market-Based Title: In some markets, this film was called Andy Warhol's Frankenstein in order to cash in on his fame while Blood For Dracula was given the similar title Andy Warhol's Dracula. Morrissey would later regret this since many people believed Warhol wrote and directed these films.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: Frankenstein's two creatures.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Baroness Frankenstein would make sure she wore as little as possible when meeting with Nicholas.
    • Not to be outdone, the female monster is topless the entire time.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Frankenstein is a man with a heavy German accent who is obsessed with ideas of a master race and is willing to stoop to violent means to achieve that goal. One of his speeches is underscored with a piece from Wagner's Lohengrin. Pretty cut and dry.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The movie takes place in Serbia but it's in English so it's expected that no one would have an accurate accent - only Sacha is played by an actual Serb. Most of the cast speak with their natural voices but Udo Kier stands out with a hilariously thick German accent as well as Joe Dellesandro who has a hilariously thick New York accent.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted oddly enough. Frankenstein refers to his creation as a zombie twice. Granted, it's a reanimated corpse but there are few similarities beyond that.
  • Off with His Head!: They had to get Sacha's head off somehow.
  • Rich Bitch: The Baroness is quite wealthy and enjoys torturing her husband or manipulating the help into sleeping with her.
  • Secret Relationship: Baroness and Nicholas have a secret fling for two reasons: they are boss/employee and she is married.
  • Slave Race: The race of humans Frankenstein wants to create would also, ideally, obey his every command. Since these people were once autonomous, this trope seems to be in effect.
  • Social Darwinist: Frankenstein, very much so.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: The two creatures spend most of the movie in this state. Nicholas finds himself in the Unwilling Suspension variation of this trope at one point.
  • Thematic Series: Along with Blood for Dracula, this film creates a duology that share creators, themes, tone, and similar titles.
  • Unequal Pairing: The Baroness and Nicholas, although this seems to be part of what turns the Baroness on. One of the ways she seduces him is to call him into her bedroom (because she's ill) in order to lecture him about having sex on their property. And of course, she's wearing nothing but lingerie, so she ends up... sucking his armpits?
  • The Vamp: Baroness Frankenstein. She seems to be luring Nicholas in for her own pleasure but it soon gets him in deeper trouble than expected.
  • Video Nasties: It was never officially added to the list by authorities but was considered as one by the UK media.
  • Villainous Incest: In Mary Shelly's original novel, the Frankensteins were brother and sister by adoption only. In this version, they're biological siblings. While the Baroness claims they are "married only in title", she does have two children by him.
  • Villain Protagonist: Baron Frankenstein is the main character with his creatures having a surprisingly less important role in the action.