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Sunday, September 8, 2013

FRANKENSTEIN'S ARMY (BLU-RAY REVIEW)

I had the opportunity to enjoy Frankenstein's Army upon it's initial release on VOD. Today, with Blu-ray in hand, I'm happy to say it held up to a second viewing. If you like creature creation that looks organic with a fun play on steampunk monsters taking place during the golden age of monster movies (the movie take place during World War II) have I got a movie for you. If you have any questions about the content of the film or overall perspective make sure to check out my initial review HERE (When Effects Guys Attack). Let's start off with what Frankenstein's Army is not and what director, Richard Raaphorst, did not intend it to be.

I've been hearing way too much about the historical accuracy of the movie. Did you forget that the movie is called Frankenstein's Army and is set in a bunker where a mad scientist is creating warriors to combat, of all things, war? This movie didn't go to history class like Saving Private Ryan. This is a clever display of special effects with a story to give you max look at some very impressive make-up and costume design. It gives you just as much history as you're going to need to enjoy this action/effects focused movie. It has a comic book feel. It has a comic book "history"; not entirely accurate nor does it need to be. The technology displayed in the movie can be fantastical because it's a work of fantasy. The camera that shoots the movie... doesn't have to a be a film camera. It doesn't have to look like it was shot in the 40's nor does it have to rely on potentially damning computer aging. It is possible to enjoy a found footage film that doesn't look like it was shot with a camera of the era. I think V/H/S proved that to me even if it is a somewhat controversial stance to take given the divisiveness with which horror fans view the original V/H/S. In short, if you want to enjoy Frankenstein's Army you have to remember that it's supposed to be fun, entertaining and not a movie that should be considered by the Academy for an award or the goddamn Nobel Peace Prize.

Here's the synopsis from Dark Sky Films:

In the dying days of World War II, a battalion of Russian soldiers find themselves lost in enemy territory in eastern Germany. One soldier (Alexander Mercury, The Golden Compass) has been ordered to make a propaganda film as the squadron makes its way across the wintry landscape, and what follows is a thrilling mix of found-footage shocks and classic horror. Stumbling upon a village decimated by an unseen terror, the Russians are lured into the secret lab of deranged scientist Viktor (Hellboy's Karel Roden). Viktor has unearthed the journals of the legendary Dr. Victor Frankenstein and has used them to assemble an army of supersoldiers stitched together from the body parts of fallen Germans - a desperate Hitler's last ghastly ploy to escape defeat.

Leaderless and faced with dissension in their dwindling ranks, the Russians must find the courage to face down this fearsome new brigade of flesh-and-metal "zombots" - or die trying. A nightmarish fantasy thrill ride unlike any other, Richard Raaphorst's FRANKENSTEIN'S ARMY, which was filmed at abandoned World War II sites in Prague and throughout Europe, is a delirious plunge into the darkest depths of insanity.


Trailer:


So that's me playing to the trolls out there. I wanted to get that off my chest because this is a movie that you can allow yourself to enjoy, but you can also force yourself to hate it if you don't keep an open mind. The best way to give horror fans a fun time in front of the boob tube is to throw a mad scientist at them. Make some monsters. Show them destroy shit. Add blood and gore but maybe in a sorta campy, kinda funny way but still enough to make you uneasy and you'll have fun, right? This movie is fun! At first I was afraid of the found footage style because it's abused. It was fine and almost unnoticeable save for a few moments where the camera was too shaky. It fits the narrative and tells a story. The movie's under 90 minutes, so you can't even say you "wasted your time" with it. Frankenstein's Army gets to the point, delivers and then punches it home.

The Blu-ray itself looks delicious. My initial viewing was an HD VOD, and both look good. Both sound great. The effects and blood and carnage look great. Frankenstein's army plays with the big boys of independent cinema when it comes its visual prowess. The disc does have a lengthy making of feature, but it may prove to be overkill. I wouldn't necessarily expect a pile of extras, so this is in line with my expectation. You do get a reference gallery of each creature creation which is an excellent feature.The live action second look at my favorite monsters with name will help to build a cult around this movie.

I hope you enjoy Frankenstein's Army as much as I did. After waiting for a movie from the man who wasn't able to bring us Worst Case Scenario, this was a treat worth waiting for. You can pick it up at the link below. It'll be a great gift for the horror effects fan in your family.




-Dr. TERROR


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