“Fuck Life in the Gallbladder”: Flesh for Frankenstein

01/30/2013 4:00 AM |

Flesh for Frankenstein (1974)
Directed by Paul Morrissey
January 31 at Videology

A year before Morrissey directed Blood for Dracula, he helmed this X-rated comedy wherein Udo Kier’s mad, bourgeois scientist commands his assistant Otto to “fuck life in the gall bladder.” Just from that, you can tell the film is exceptionally… unusual. It even stands apart from Blood for Dracula, as it’s funnier and even more absurdly grotesque. Though both monstrous movies were advertised as being the product of Morrissey’s patron, Andy Warhol—originally, they were titled Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Andy Warhol’s Dracula—both films are now recognized as unique products of Morrissey’s po-facedly sarcastic sensibility; they’re also both essentially horror films with a juvenile class consciousness. But while Dracula features a funnier, more ecstatic performance from Kier, Frankenstein is more consistently charming in its own bratty way.

Along with several other 70s nudies, Flesh for Frankenstein was originally released in theaters in Space-Vision 3D, technology that allowed 3D films to be screened using one projector instead of two. But unlike other pseudo-subversive porno opuses, Frankenstein‘s most devious when it’s most sincerely invested in setting up the deviant machinations of the fascistic, organ-squeezing Baron von Frankenstein and his sexually inexperienced, armpit-sucking sister/wife, Baroness Katrin Frankenstein (Monique van Vooren). In spite of some memorably florid dialogue, most of the film is deceptively generic. It’s only when scars are tongued and corpses dry-humped that the film’s flagrant outre-ness becomes apparent. Flesh for Frankenstein is, in other words, a monster movie in kitschy, gut-busting drag. It’s also tellingly the only Warhol-produced film on Britain’s list of banned “Video Nasty” films.

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