Published Jul 20, 2015Producer Tim Kirk's (The Nightmare, Room 237) feature directorial debut, Director's Commentary: Terror of Frankenstein, is one strange beast.
Part Mystery Science Theater 3000, part murder mystery, it's hard to think of any film that's been done like this before, let alone to imagine someone repeating the idea so exquisitely after its release.
Using writer/director Calvin Floyd's straight-laced 1977 reinterpretation of the classic horror story by Mary Shelley as the film's base, the movie plays out as if you were watching a standard director's commentary from the privacy of your own home (it even features an unseen viewer trying to access the film's main menu from the copyright warning screen and perusing the special features before the original film begins). From there, the audience is treated to one of the stranger exercises in storytelling seen on screen.
Kirk and his writing partner, cousin Jay Kirk, have created one hell of a horror story hidden behind the film's production. It's a tale of death and dismemberment, as the director (genre staple Clu Gulager) and its screenwriter (Zack Norman) bicker back and forth along with the original movie about a strange string of serial killings that started to occur almost 40 years ago during (and after) shooting for the film. Even the source film's original star, Stanley Kubrick disciple Leon Vitali, makes an appearance and gets a few digs in at the film's screenwriter during the recording of their commentary track, pinpointing his approach to method acting as starting off the string of events that lead to the cast and crew's brutal deaths.
In reality, no such carnage plagued the film's production, and although the voice work falls into the confines of radio drama-esque overacting at times, Director's Commentary is a totally engrossing effort, and one whose uber meta approach will likely be mimicked for years to come.