John Richardson, Gordon Mitchell, Renato Romano, Xiro Papas, Dalila Di Lazzaro
Ferdinando De Leone and Mario Mancini
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By now, it should be firmly established that I adore "bad movies." How else do you think I could survive so willingly reviewing an abundant diet of indie flicks?
Frankenstein '80 is a bad flick even by the fairly modest expectations that typically come with Italian horror, especially of the early 70's. Co-written and directed by Mario Mancini, Frankenstein '80 has going for it the presence of horror legend Gordon Mitchell but not much else.
Filmed in 1972, Frankenstein '80 is actually set in 1980 with Dr. Frankenstein being an organ transplant doctor who makes his creation, named Mosaic, and makes him out of transplanted body parts. Unfortunately, his plans go increasingly awry as Mosaic becomes ever stronger and ever more violent. Eventually, he must be stopped.
Carlo Rambaldi, from Alien and E.T., created Mosaic. The film itself starts off in a way that actually makes you think this could end up being a lot better than expected as Mancini tosses in a rather layered storyline with multiple angles that show quite a bit of promise. The film quickly downward spirals, however, with limp dialogue and tech issues that will make your average "shot in the family garage" film look like a James Cameron flick. The film does have a rather successful jazz-tinged original score that complements the film fairly well, while those who appreciate gore may find some appreciation for a couple of Mosaic's more inventive kills.
I'm not quite willing to call Frankenstein '80 "so bad it's good," but I'm also not willing to completely dismiss it. Heck, I'll even confess that as the closing credits started rolling I found myself hitting play and watching it all over again.
The film has been given new life on Cheezy Flicks, which is sort of a badge of honor for B-movies. You like B-movies? You'll find Frankenstein '80 to be a bad but beautiful B-movie.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic