Wolfenstein has come to life! What seemingly looks like a video game turns into a motion picture unlike any other. Other filmmakers have only half-assed an attempt to take the Nazi industrialization and combine it into cybernetic top secret warfare. A reconnaissance company of Soviet solders receive an S.O.S. transmission from an abandoned mining facility in the middle of nowhere behind enemy lines. The squad finds themselves in the middle of hell where soldiers are took apart and sewn together with machine parts creating a killer, monstrous army. These abominations are the work of the grandson of Viktor Frankenstein. What’s worse is that the soldiers are a part of a secret mission that will put their lives in more danger than the hell they’ve stepped into with Herr Doctor Frankenstein!
I was once in e-mail contact with the film’s director Richard Raaphorst many years back when he was trying to fund an on screen production for Worst Case Scenario. A project I couldn’t wait until the dream came true on the big screen. I waited and waited and waited. Only two promo reels were released and then the project just drifted off into the dead project pool and drowned out of existence. Raaphorst was inspired again, most likely, by his failed project to create Frankenstein’s Army and even using some of the monster nazis he was once going to input into Worst Case Scenario. I’m stoked that Raaphorst was able to see his creation in another, more profitable direction.
Speaking of nazi monsters, the creations where spectacular especially the creature “Mosquito Man.” Mosquito Man has blades on all fours and a drill for a mouth – pretty fucking frightening. There are also creatures with razor sharp blade fingers, cast iron maiden-chopping faces, slice and dicing propeller heads, and whatever your demented imagination can conjure. Frankenstein’s Army is an ultimate take on the Frankenstein legacy and spins it into the 20th century during World War II the most crucial and humbling time in the world’s history.
Raaphorst chose to film Frankenstein’s Army in first person using the story of a soviet solder recording a documentary of the team’s reconnaissance mission and to show back home in mother Russia, to the socialist people, that their solders were happy and safe and brave in the face of the enemy. I watch a lot of movies and I stand by my personal decision that the first person use has been overused, abused, and old as a Roman shoe. In saying that, the first person works here for Raaphorst because we’re only given glimpses of the creatures leaving more to the imagination and probably so the audience can’t really see how bad the costumed nazi getups may have turned out.
Usually in screening the portrayal of any historical war, I can usually tell if a war’s historical accuracy is off or how I feel on how believable these characters can be in period piece. The Soviets soldiers felt like Soviet soldiers. The war felt like war. Saving Private Ryan is a good example of what I’m trying to convey where we, the audience, can empathize and experience the gruesome war with Tom Hanks and his band of brothers. That same sensation didn’t strike me when viewing Nicholas Cage’s Windtalkers which seemed to bastardized by Hollywood. Raaphorst had me in the dark, dank underground tunnels of these spooked Soviet lads and had me feel the fear in the face of patchwork humanoid creatures.
I can’t recommend Frankenstein’s Army enough. The unique concept and the precision of execution should be a great draw for this film. More likely, Raaphorst’s film won’t win any major awards. Dark Sky’s picture presentation is clear. The audio suffers tremendously as much of the background noise drowns out the fake Russian accents. The extras are a little thing with a 31-minute “making of”, the trailer, a “creature spot” which displays the picture in a slide-show like feature. Raaphorst steampunk horror-thriller will keep you entertained and see what kind of man-machine construction will lurk around the corner, but the movie does feel like a video game with creatures hacking away at the camera while others stalk in the dark.
If you want to see Raaphorst Worst Case Scenario promo reels and see the similarities – see below.
Promo Trailer 1
Promo Trailer 2