EXPLOITATION ALLEY: FRANKENHOOKER!!

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This week’s EXPLOITATION ALLEY is a fun one. I’ve decided to go with a movie that since being exposed to it back in 2005 by a close friend, has been a constant staple in quite a few nights of drinking and laughing. If you’re looking for some serious cinema, then you’ll need to look somewhere else, because today we’re getting our lawnmowers, spare body parts and quite a few other elements out and heading straight into 1990’s FRANKENHOOKER!!
Frankenhooker (1990)

FRANKENHOOKER tells the story of Jeffrey Franken, a young man who works a crappy day job during the day, but spending his free time aspiring to be a doctor, and doing experiments on a brain with an eye…hey I didn’t write it. After Jeffrey’s girlfriend Elizabeth dies in a freak lawnmower accident, Jeffrey loses his mind, keeping her head and various other parts stored in a cooler filled with liquid and planning on putting her back together. Unfortunately, most of Elizabeth’s body was destroyed and even before it was, she struggled with wanting to lose weight, so Jeffrey decides that he will find the perfect parts for her new body. He sets out to find the perfect body, leading him to slowly lose his mind, and to driving the streets looking for prostitutes to kill, to use their parts. There’s a hilarious part involving Jeffrey creating some pretty gnarly crack rocks that are massive in size and telling himself something along the lines of “it’s not like I’m going to kill them, the crack will kill them..”.
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After talking to a prostitute, Jeffrey is led to the pimp of all pimps, Zorro, who graciously sets Jeffrey up with six of his best ladies, and when the ladies are exposed to Jeffrey’s insane crack rocks, it gives us one of the craziest scenes in the whole movie: a smorgasbord of combusting hookers. Bodies parts fly, and there are instantly legs, arms, breast, you name it…all over the place.
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With an ensemble of hooker body parts, Jeffrey returns home and finally assembles Elizabeth back together, and holy hell is she a gorgeous lady now. Expecting Elizabeth to be herself, Jeffrey is shocked to hear that his creations just wants to turn tricks and after knocking Jeffrey out, Frankenhooker escapes, ready to hit the streets. I cannot gush enough about how awesome the movie is from this point. Sure it’s entertaining and funny before Elizabeth is resurrected, but the movie kicks in hardcore as soon as she hits the streets. Patty Mullen’s performance as Frankenhooker is one for the books, as her twitches, her walk, it’s all solid stuff, and adds to the already awesome movie.

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Pretty soon, Frankenhooker picks up a client and while having sex with him, electricity goes through the guy, and she ends up ripping his head off, giving us yet another visually fun as hell scene. As Frankenhooker goes through her rampage, she pretty much destroys any man trying to pick up on her, eventually catching the eye of Zorro. After seeing his mark on one of the hooker arms attached to her (Zorro brands a big Z on his ladies’ arms), he attacks Frankenhooker, punching her head, almost knocking it off. Jeffrey runs to the rescue, taking Frankenhooker home, fixing her up. After getting shocked a bit more, Frankenhooker stops her horny tendencies and begins to talk like Elizabeth again, and when all seems well, Zorro shows up and it goes straight to hell, leaving us with one of the craziest endings around. I won’t give it away, but I will say that it’s definitely memorable.

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FRANKENHOOKER is by far my favorite film made by the great Frank Henenlotter (BASKET CASE, BAD BIOLOGY), and though Frank is easily known for his other exploitation horror masterpieces, it’s this film that gives me that grim satisfied smile every time I watch it. The very impressive makeup fx by Gabe Bartalos (DARKMAN, TCM 2, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6), the performances from Patty Mullen as Frankenhooker and James Lorinz as Jeffrey, I cannot find a single element of the movie that I’m not crazy about. Its a fun and gruesomely entertaining ride and well worth checking out.

Until next week, have a good one!