World War Evil! Frankenstein’s Army Review!

Amaray Wrap.EPS
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.
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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.

Mosquito Man!

Mosquito Man!


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.
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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

Evil Thoughts. The Baby (1973) and The Prowler (1981)

Tonight I thought I would discuss two very different kind of horror films.  Trying to dissect and compare horror films to each other can be enlightening to others; to help them explore new territories in horror.  Also, this idea gives me to chat to be a blabber mouth about obscure, retro movies that most of the younger generations don’t know about.  Hell, I’m almost 30 and I probably still need more horror movie schooling.

babyFirst I want to talk about Ted Post’s 1973 exploitation film The Baby.  A social worker seeks out and becomes hired by the Wadsworth family to oversee the mentally ill child of the family who goes by the name of just Baby.  Besides the retardation, Baby is an average boy who plays with toys, sucks on a bottle and cries when his diaper is wet with the exception that Baby is a 20-year-old man.  The social worker plans for Baby seem genuine  – to try to progress Baby’s ability to walk and talk like everybody else.  However, the Wadworth family holds a dark secret that if anybody gets to close to that person ends up disappearing, but little does the Wadworth family know, that the social worker has alternate means for Baby than what she cares to divulge.

The Baby is a unique exploitation for me.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.  The fact that the mentally ill, a man, and the mind of a child are being exploited beyond rational means.  When you (in this case when I) think of the exploitation genre, I imagine women being used for their body or just a person being exploited for violence.  In The Baby, the man and the mentally ill is being abused for his body and the man and the mentally ill is being exploited for violence.  During the duration, there is no grasp on who might be the hero and who might be the villain.  The roles are a virtually reversed between the Wadworths family and the social worker and even at the end of the movie, you still don’t know how to process the information and end up second guessing the hero and the villain.  The Baby will imprint in your mind and sear into your brain making The Baby a well executed film just by script alone.  Director Ted Post and The Baby David Mooney do a remarkable job even if the 70s film does come off outdated and corny.  Gerald Fried’s score is also pretty amazing and that is worth listening to as well.

 

 

Second comes The Prowler.  A maniacal killer runs rampant on Avalon Bay, NJ dressed in WW II fatigues carrying aprowler pitchfork, bayonet and a handheld shotgun.  The killer reminisces about Rosemary, the love of his lift who gives him a Dear John letter for his time in military service.  His longing forces him to kill.

 

 

Tom Savini has mentioned that his work on 1981 The Prowler was his best work ever.  I don’t know if I could agree with Mr. Savini or not on that as his effects for The Burning are superb, but anything Savini touches is gold so The Prowler is a shining example of his gruesome work.  The problem or problems rather with The Prowler is the entire storyline as it was far too choppy and incoherent.  I pieced the story all together sans the movie and I get that the audience sometimes has to make their own interpretation, but come on!  I feel as if The Prowler character just didn’t have enough back story like Jason Voorhees who had a tragedy as a child seeing his mother beheading and seeks revenge on the free-spirited, sex crazed teenage campers and consolers.

Two very different movies.  Two different styles.  All with in the realm of thrills and chills.  Exploitation and slasher genres have gained knowledge from these two prime examples, yet we still build and build upon each genre.  We don’t see them too much in theaters anymore which is a shame since both genres really put you in the center of the worlds most delicate issues of the world.  People kill people.  People exploit people.  These issues will never go away but they will never been renowned as popular because the subjects frighten us way too much.

 

 

Nazis and Allies vs evil! The Devil’s Rock news!

The Devil’s Rock is brand spanking new to this blogger, but my friends over at http://www.horroryearbook.com has posted a trailer and a synopsis of the upcoming World War 2 horror flick.  On the eve of the D-Day invasion upon the beaches of Normandy, France, two special op commandos are sent to scoop out and destroy German gun emplacements on the Channel Islands.  What they discover is more terrifying than they could have ever imaged when the Nazi force commanding the gun emplacement are knee deep in the occult.  Their high command has summoned a demon in hopes to use it for Nazi gain; the demon has other plans.

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