Flesh for Frankenstein
Last Friday the more fearless Nottingham cinema-goers put down their hard earned tenners - or £8 for clued up members - at the Broadway desk and demanded four hours of pure, unadulterated gore. As you may have guessed from the preview, LeftLion get pretty excited by a double bill, especially when the double bill is of the B-movie grindhouse tradition brought to us by the horror triumvirate that is the Mayhem collective.
With both films, rightly, shown on 35mm film – yes, real film, with scratches and discolouration and everything - the night kicked off with a collection of classic trailers and then quickly moved into Andy Warhol’s Flesh For Frankenstein, which provided as many laughs as it did shocks. Actually, scratch that, twice as many laughs as shocks. The film’s protagonist, Baron Frankenstein, is a man intent on creating a master race from two zombies he’s pieced together. In a film that’s thin on the ground in terms of acting skill, Kier’s performance as Baron Frankenstein is delightfully camp - the scene where he gets a bit too friendly with the lady zombie contained at least a year’s worth of quoting - and together with his assistant, Otto, they manage to stop this gem of a film from straying into the murky waters of just plain terrible. Conversely, Dellasandro's turn as Nicholas showed that the man was used for reasons other than his acting, however, it was with mirth that we watched his fatally flawed line delivery.
Warhol, who teamed up with legendary Trash director Paul Morrissey for this masterpiece, is either a cinematic genius or so deluded that he makes Tommy Wiseau look almost normal by comparison. This isn’t to say that Flesh For Frankenstein isn’t a whole heap of fun; it is. From the opening scenes where a tiny pony carries Baroness Frankenstein and her children to their castle, to the overtly gross gall bladder scene, to the final, bloody climax – it delivered almost constant laughs, as well as squeals of delight and disgust.
A mute Satan worshipping hippy - must be I Drink Your Blood
With an incredibly tough act to beat, the second film of the night was 1970 exploitation thriller I Drink Your Blood – which, it was accurately pointed out, is a very misleading title. Although thinner on the ground with the laugh factor, the film did have more gore and shocks than its predecessor. A cross between Hair and Night Of The Living Dead, I Drink Your Blood explores the prejudice towards evil, Satan worshipping hippies - two lifestyles that blend together flawlessly! - in much the same way that Sacha Baron Cohen decides to do it with North African leaders in The Dictator. When the aforementioned hippies pull up in a remote town and rape a girl and then beat up her grandfather, a young boy decides to teach them a lesson, by feeding them infected pork pies. This leads the merry band of hirsute newcomers to turn crazed and rabid, intent on killing anything that comes their way. They have no regard for pain, no terror of death, their only fear is...WATER!! Yes, a side affect of rabies is hydrophobia and the film uses this symptom to, well, hilarious effect. Director David E. Durston was definitely channeling true B-movie style here, complete with terrible special effects and almost equally appalling acting. As with the first feature, IDYB is definitely from the school of “so bad it’s good”.
Seriously though, double features are an incredible way to while away your Friday night; friends, beer, films and laughs… When’s the next one?
The Flesh and Blood double feature was shown at Broadway on Friday 11 May. Catch the next gruesome double bill at Quad, Derby on Friday 25 May.
Mayhem Festival website