Frankenstein Release Date: 2004 Genre: Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi Director(s): Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) Writer(s): John Shiban Starring: Parker Posey, Vincent Perez, Adam Goldberg, Michael Madsen On the commentary track for Frankenstein, director Marcus Nispel speaks about how nabbing Parker Posey for the lead role in this extended pilot episode for a […]

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Frankenstein
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
Director(s): Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake)
Writer(s): John Shiban
Starring: Parker Posey, Vincent Perez, Adam Goldberg, Michael Madsen

On the commentary track for Frankenstein, director Marcus Nispel speaks about how nabbing Parker Posey for the lead role in this extended pilot episode for a USA series was a huge deal to him because she is the “Queen of independents.” When you consider that the film turned out quite poor and it didn’t get picked up to become a series, it’s easy to see why she’s stuck with indies throughout the years.

Like Frankenstein Reborn, Frankenstein is another reimagining of Anne Rice’s much-loved story. This time its in the frame of a cop show, just instead of the usual suspects, Detectives O’Connor and Sloane are played by Parker Posey and Adam Goldberg (of the two-episode wonder “Head Cases”) respectively. They’re investigating a murderer that has been deemed The Surgeon for his ghastly methods. As it turns out, there’s a two hundred year old mad scientist using the organs for his experiments. Related to this are the artificially created Deucalion and Michael Madsen doing his thing as a demented guy.

At the very least it can be said that Frankenstein looks tremendous. USA seems to have assumed that, if all else failed, there was a great chance for a successful video release. As a result, Frankenstein’s got itself a serviceable budget. This allows Marcus Nispel to achieve a beautiful gothic look for the film, which comes thanks in part to the excellent locations he secured in a pre-Katrina New Orleans. Many of the locations had never been shot in prior to Frankenstein, which is a good thing since they’ve likely been destroyed or damaged beyond repair since.

All the nifty directing and beautiful sets can’t save the film from suffering due to its lackluster plot and obvious TV feel. Like just about every failed pilot or packaged syndicated series to go to DVD, Frankenstein leaves us with unsolved mysteries and unsettled plots. This is just annoying, and while I’d be able to let it off if the actual plot was original, this all feels too formulaic.

Inventive with its execution at times, but all together not worth much.

DVD: An audio commentary with Marcus Nispel where he honestly and cordially speaks about the project’s many flaws and pluses. Kudos to him for recognizing that the pilot, which had a shattered start that saw producers come and go, isn’t perfect. There’s also a thirty-minute making of featurette that’s mostly fluff, but occasionally it does get interesting.

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Frankenstein, 4.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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