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Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound

Roger Corman

Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound
Presumably re-released on the heels of a moderate Corman resurgence (The Terror, Little Shop Of Horrors), this 1990, er, Frankenstein-ed take on the classic Mary Shelley tale finds protagonist John Buchanan (John Hurt) teleported from the year 2031 to 19th Century Geneva after experimenting with implosion techniques. He arrives just in time to find out that the tale of Victor Frankenstein (Raul Julia) is in fact true and that the timeless novel is little more than an account by Shelly (Bridget Fonda). Despite being his return to the directorial chair after a 30-year hiatus, Frankenstein Unbound features all of the typical Corman idiosyncrasies: cheap, chintzy and cheesy. Budgeting and a horrific script make for hilarity in all of the wrong spots and a virtual groan-fest in the intended comedy. Props and CGI effects were most likely impressive at the time but fare worse than that of an early ’60s Godzilla flick, themselves far superior on entertainment levels. Hurt struggles desperately (and embarrassingly) to work with the sub-par material, occasionally trying to inject kitsch that falls flatter than the monster, itself looking like a cast-off from the Krull beast design sessions. The flimsy premise for Buchanan’s arrival in the past reeks of Back To The Future (down to the metallic "futuristic” car) and even his own bona fide accent sounds as ham-fisted and put on as that of Fonda’s, who flip-flops between straight-up American and the occasional posh British. But at least she tries, unlike many of the supporting characters, who are severely Americanised and act strangely familiar with the "horseless carriage” they be fucking freaked out by. As Corman pictures go, Frankenstein Unbound is amusing. Barely. The 90-minute run time feels exceedingly long, even on first viewing. As for Corman, well, the guy’s revered for making bad films and even this is pushing it. Why anyone would feel compelled to own it is a greater mystery than why Fox bothered funding it in the first place. (Fox)
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