This theater of the absurd, overtly sexual, bloody, and over-the-top film fits snuggly under the “Andy Warhol Presents…” title.
Baron Frankenstein uses his scientific endowment to create sex slaves in hopes of mating them and create the perfect race. Let’s dig into 1973’s FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN, directed by Paul Morrissey!
As I See It
It’s amazing that in a film with multiple scenes of absurd sexuality, violence, gore, and dialogue, the thing that grated on me like nails on a chalkboard was Joe Dellasandro’s Long Island accent. It’s my native tongue, and I couldn’t stand it.
I know the huge, snake-like scar has become synonymous with the film thanks to the cover art, but it’s really a terrible prosthetic. Even with some 3M blood spurting from it as Udo Kier fingers it with needle nosed pliers, I couldn’t find it attractive in respect to the art of effects.
I can’t think of many scenes that are more disturbing than watching Udo Kier thrust on top of an inanimate “corpse”. I feel terrible for that actor that was subjected to that, probably for scale.
The delivery of the dialogue sounds like a rehearsal for a high school play, and the Baron (Kier) is played like a petulant, Invader Zim-esque character — bent on creating a master race (how very German of the German) by mating two “zombies”. Really, what he’s doing is creating a couple of sex dolls for the other characters to play with.
Udo Kier’s performance actually improves as the film gets more chaotic, but his death scene is long winded and ridiculous. Its parody counterpart would be Paul Reubens’ slow death in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer film.
I’m not entirely sure why this is cited by so many as a top entry in horror, even in a top one hundred list.
The best part of the film is the lab set and the autonomous beating heart.
Before this film, Udo Kier (the Baron) starred in Mark of the Devil and would go on to cult genre fandom with a role in Dario Argento’s Suspiria.
Joe Dallesandro (Nicholas) also known as “Little Joe” in the Warhol collective, starred in Warhol’s most famous, successful, and seminal films including Flesh, Trash, and Heat as well as being the crotch on The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” album cover and the torso on The Smiths self-titled debut album. He has been the focus of obsession for musicians, artists, and filmmakers since his emergence with Warhol in the late sixties.
Of Gratuitous Nature
The film received an X rating thanks to explicit sex and violence, and I have to say, it didn’t deserve it. Not even for the era. Actually, especially for the era. It was a liberated time in film. We’re talking about after Ned Beatty’s character was r*ped along the river by a couple of back wood cretins.
You have to imagine Warhol’s esoteric nature had something to do with the stigma that was applied to this film and its rating, until you see the Udo Kier scene. He fucks the entrails of the female monster.
“To know death… you have to fuck life in the gall bladder.”
That line made me cringe but not half as much as watching Kier thrust on top of Dalila Di Lazzaro.
Dalila Di Lazzaro (the female monster) has ice blue eyes and is naked for just about the entire film. She has a wholesome vibe yet is exotically beautiful.
Ripe for a Remake
Is there a need for some fresh fleshy take on the Shelley classic? I can see a modern take on this iteration in spirit, with updated sexuality.
Filmed at the same time with some of the same cast and the same director was the similarly presented Andy Warhol’s Dracula or Blood for Dracula.
Where to Watch
In March of 2022, Vinegar Syndrome released a Blu-ray along with a 3D viewfinder, but it is now sold out. You can stream it on Shudder or AMC+.