ROCK & ROLL FRANKENSTEIN
Zero asterisks (1999, 88 minutes, Rated R)
Warning: This film is not prohibited under the rules of the Geneva Convention.
This film is a tragedy. I don’t mean it’s a tragic story, like Romeo & Juliet. I mean its mere
existence is a tragedy.
Rock & Roll Frankenstein has a great premise: A lazy music producer enlists his pre-med
nephew to re-create Victor Frankenstein’s famous experiment, but with the body parts of rock
legends. “Frankenstein in a jumpsuit” – that’s as pure of an elevator pitch as it gets.
THE ROAD TO B-MOVIES
PART VII: THE SPOILER
2005, Married with one Nolahnette and another on the way. I’d settled down, but wasn’t
completely settled, if you follow. I was looking for a creative outlet, but necessity dictated that it
be something I could do from the house at little expense.
I hemmed and hawed, and after much deliberation, I launched the Bargain Basement Review.
That’s right: “Basement.”
The scope of the Bargain Basement Reviews was specifically straight-to-rental fare. Being
enthusiastic and naive, I had created an elaborate rating system based on the film’s
cheesiness, incoherence and overall gratuity. I thought the idea of a 15-point rating system
would be delightfully obtuse.
And the Bargain Basement Review was good. For three whole reviews.
Then something terrible happened, something I was not prepared for. I sat down to review this
I was not ready for this. This was only the fourth film I’d ever reviewed, and I was still learning
the ropes, still sorting out what works and why it works in a film (good, bad or otherwise).
Worse, this film exposed the problems with the Basement’s overall approach. This film is quite
cheesy, has moments of stunning incoherence, is enormously gratuitous… and is the worst
thing I’ve ever sat through.
The experience broke me. I shut down the Bargain Basement Review, and wouldn’t even
consider trying again for another year. All thanks to…
Wouldn’t you want to watch this movie? I wanted to watch this movie.
And then the filmmakers screwed it up. I don’t mean by making a cheap knock-off of Young
Frankenstein or not unveiling the Frankenstein Elvis until the very end of the film. And I don’t just
mean screwed it up with bad acting or porn-quality dialogue or sluggish passing (all of which it
has). I mean the filmmakers thoroughly and completely screwed up this movie by making Rock
& Roll Frankenstein as mean-spirited and ugly a comedy as I’ve ever seen.
For future reference, the following items are not funny:
- Liberace’s penis
- A talking gay predatory penis
- Watching someone argue with his penis
- Watching someone masturbate to pictures of cadavers
- Being gay*
- A pile of dead hamsters encased in condoms, killed by being shoved up a character’s
- Anal rape (no matter how big the prop is)
presumably not a serial rapist.
* Don’t get me wrong, gay people can be absolutely
hilarious, but simply being a homosexual isn’t inherently
funny. Absolutely not hilarious? A talking penis threatening
to “cornhole” someone.
Seriously. Go back and look at that bullet list. All of those
are played for laughs.
I can’t imagine why anyone involved with this film would
think any of this was funny. I don’t even want to imagine it.
Rock & Roll Frankenstein is an ugly and mean film, an
endless, unrelenting assault.
This is one of those films I wish I could un-see. I want
those 88 minutes of my life back.