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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Frankenstein
Frankenstein
MVD Entertainment Group // Unrated // March 22, 2011
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Rich Rosell | posted May 22, 2011 | E-mail the Author
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REVIEW
This umpteenth reworking of the Frankenstein mythos - dosed pleasurably with plenty of appropriate Shelley nods - comes from the redundantly named writer/director/musician Creep Creepersin. While the world was hardly clamoring for another stab at the whole man-plays-god bit Creepersin somehow succeeds with an openly low-budget short film (it barely hits the 60-minute mark) that manages to be clever, disturbing, funny and even a little bittersweet at times. It's not the most polished film ever made, but Creep Creepersin's Frankenstein shows the director's obvious love of the genre while still allowing him to put an alternate spin on a familiar plotline.

That's good news for horror fans, because this film - even with its budgetary/production limitations - is definitely worth checking out.

In Creepersin's world, the character of Frankenstein is the pet rat of simple-minded Victor (James Porter). Poor Victor doesn't have much in the way of social skills, and spends most of his time having conversations with his rat - his only friend - while watching old horror movies on television or reading Gray's Anatomy. Things get progressively nutty when the ghost of Victor's dead mother returns to torment him, which then prompts him to take action and try to create a female mate for himself. Naturally things go horribly askew, and that's where Creepersin really settles in for some bent humor with a sequence that was both refreshing and unexpected, so much so that I would really hate to ruin it for you. It is, however, the moment where I fell in step with Creepersin's vision, and knew immediately that this film had enough substance and merit to stand on its own.

James Porter gives a developmentally disabled texture to the character of Victor, and while he sometimes ratchets it up a little too high there were scenes where his portrayal was handled wonderfully. At one point he attempts to call a 1-900 sex line, with Porter uncomfortably and sadly cementing Victor's social awkwardness/stunted mental growth with effective emotional simplicity. It's a tough acting gig to carry off, and with Porter onscreen for nearly the entire film it's an even bigger challenge to not overplay. It takes careful steering not to veer dangerously into a character that sounds like Rosie O'Donnell from Riding the Bus with My Sister, which is the benchmark performance for how to overact to new annoying levels and insultingly play a developmentally disabled person. Thankfully Porter fares much better.

This isn't a flawless work, and Creepersin admits in the supplements the entire thing was shot in a day and a half, so there's a sense that much of this was one take filmmaking. While the production values sometimes falter and certain scenes appear tired and cliche-ridden (I'm looking at you third-act chase scene that is sloppily shot and edited) there is enough horror movie geek love for the genre to earn this one a hearty recommendation. The opening vintage horror credit sequence - complete with a mini-overture - sets a proper tone, one that Creepersin calls back to a number times, building to one of the most brilliantly weird creature unveilings I've seen in quite some time. If, for nothing else, get a hold of this just for that one scene. You'll thank me later.

He may have a silly name, but Creep Creepersin delivers the goods with this low-budget alt-spin on the Frankenstein saga. I liked this one. A lot.

THE DVD
Video
It's a shame this one doesn't look better than it does, because I think Creepersin tells a neat variation on a classic work. No big shocker that the quality of the anamorphic widescreen transfer is dodgy, at best. Shot on a shoestring, the production wears its no-budget limitations proudly, and there's clearly not much that can be done with the transfer to make this one look any better. An outdoor night scene late in the film is almost impossible to follow.

Audio
The 2.0 stereo audio is serviceable, but largely unremarkable either way. Voice quality is generally discernible - perhaps a bit flat- but passable given the low-budget background. Creepersin has a habit of following quietly spoken dialogue or dialogue-free scenes with some sort of loud sound stinger, so keep the remote handy.

Extras
Extras consist of the marginally disappointing A Test of Our Stupidity: The Making of Creep Creepersin's Frankenstein (38m:21s), a rather casual and dull behind-the-scenes piece. It's structurally loose, basically a collection of poorly recorded interviews, cast/crew hi jinks and on-location footage that only occasionally provides any sort of insight into the production. Also included are two teasers and a trailer for the feature.

Final Thoughts
I won't go as far as to say this is brilliant, but what it is, however, is a neat spin on a classic story that has been done a million different ways already. Even with its imperfections, I really liked this outing from Creepersin. Dark, humorous and awkward, Creep Creepersin's Frankenstein proves low-budget guerilla filmmaking can be viable entertainment. And - more importantly - it shows a director who clearly loves the genre.

Recommended.
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