Review: Frankenhooker (Blu-ray)

Synapse Films gives Frank Henenlotter's hooker-horror Frankenhooker new life with this HD debut release!

  • Director: Frank Henenlotter
  • Starring: Patty Mullen, James Lorinz, Louise Lasser
  • Year: 1990
  • Runtime: 85 Minutes
  • Company: Synapse Films
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Discs: 1 - 50GB
  • Video: 1.78:1 - 1080p - AVC
  • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, 2.0 DTS-HD MA
  • Region: All
  • Released: 10/11/2011

Timid aspiring scientist Jeffrey Franken's (James Lorinz, Street Trash) life is going pretty well. Sure there are a few downfalls (dead end job, lives with parents, etc.) but he has the girl of his dreams, Elizabeth (Patty Mullen, Doom Asylum) and plans to marry her. These plans are diced up quickly after a remote controlled lawnmower Jeffrey built runs over Elizabeth, reducing her to red mulch. Mournful and increasingly drifting away from reality, Jeffrey strikes up the ultimate plan to bring Elizabeth back to life. Kill a sexy group of prostitutes with self produced "super crack" and collect their various parts to use before an electrical storm with the right amount of voltage to resurrect Elizabeth passes. In a parodying homage, Elizabeth is brought back to life with the use of said electricity. Just not the way Jeffrey expected. He's created a hooker zombie that only wants two things, money and sex! Now she's on the loose in New York killing any perverted joe who answers to her demands. It's up to Jeffrey to track down his living dead fiancee and dodge pissed off muscle roid-pimp Zorro bent on killing him after "blowing up" his girls!
Director Frank Henenlotter has built (pun intended) his 30 year career on unleashing original, gonzo comedy laced horror films. Each film is wholly exploitative and filled to the brim with blood, boobs and laughs.  You'd be hard pressed to find a flick from Henenlotter's filmography you can't enjoy on some level. The low budget ferociousness of Basket Case, the psychedelic hilarity provided by Brain Damage and so forth. Henenlotter is never one to shy away or back down, no matter how outlandish or ridiculous the content may be. That trait is why his films are loved/reviled within the film community and heralded by cult fans everywhere.
With Frankenhooker, where do I begin? The title alone solely warrants an instant viewing. All of Henenlotter's (in)famous ingredients are included. Blood? Check (although not as gratuitous as his other efforts). Boobs? Plenty of em. Exploding hookers? You bet your demented expliot-horror loving ass there are exploding hookers, courtesy of FX wizard and Frankenlotter regular Gabe Bartalos. Frankenhooker excels in the comedy department as well, each scene is devoted to making your gut hurt from laughter. It's a culmination of all things you've come to expect from 'ol Frank and then some.
Frankenhooker still to this day holds up extremely well, retaining the outrageous hilarity it unleashed onto audiences 20 years ago. Former Penthouse gal Patty Mullen absolutely steals the show, spouting classic one liners such as, "Wanna date, got any money?!". Even under all that makeup, complete with a purple wig and nipples, she's still a babe. Frankenhooker is a prime example of independent 80's horror-comedy trash that is sorely missed today. Bill Murray's famous praising quote of the film states, "If you see one movie this year, it should be Frankenhooker". I couldn't agree more.

    • Video
    The mad AV scientists at Synapse are on an HD roll lately and this is another superb release to add to their already sterling roster. Frankenhooker has forgone a 2K high-def restoration from original uncut vault elements and it clearly shows. A fine layer of lovely grain adorns the transfer throughout. Skin tones are natural and never discolored. The gritty neon hue drenched streets of New York shine strongly, any use of colored lighting in particular sharply glows. Certain scenes lean a tad on the soft side but detail has strikingly improved over Unearthed Films DVD release. Simply put, it's a gorgeous transfer and one you shouldn't hesitate on adding to your collection. 
    • Audio
    An English 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio stereo mixes are included. I opted for the 6.1 and was more than satisfied with it's results. Dialogue is always crisp and clear with zero distortion. The various channels are put to great use and compliment the films effects/score nicely.

    Bonus Features
    • Interview - "A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth"
    Carried over from the 2006 Unearthed release, Frankenhooker herself Patty Mullen is interviewed about her time on the film. Patty is in great spirits (and great shape, she still looks fantastic) and loved working with everyone involved. Mullen says she would jump at the opportunity to make Frankenhooker 2 and has talked to Henenlotter about it many times. Make it happen Frank!
    • Featurette - "A Stitch in Time: The Make-up Effects of Frankenhooker"
    FX guru Gabe Bartalos guides us through the effects process of the film and it's simply fascinating. We're treated to vintage on-set clips and numerous photos detailing the crews painstaking work to bring Henenlotter's vision to life.
    • Interview - "Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers Frankenhooker"
    The actress who portrayed naked snarky hooker Angel, Jennifer Delora vibrantly talks about the set of Frankenhooker. Her experience of the production makes the film sound like an absolute blast. If time machines ever become a reality, I'm transporting back to this set!
    • Featurette - "Jennifer Delora's Photo Scrapbook
    Jennifer busts out her collection of rare behind the scene photos of her and the various ladies who made up the hooker group. 
    • Audio Commentary - Director Frank Henenlotter & FX Artist Gabe Bartalos
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Reversible Artwork
    An alternate cover of the artwork Unearthed used for their release.