Just Don’t Go There…

January 11, 2012 | By

Still sick with this cold thing, and while not a full-blown monster, it’s the more stealth version: exhausted, pounding headaches, and pounding headaches. Did I mention pounding headaches?

The plus side is when not holding my cranium until the Advil kicks in, I can do things, so in addition to more tests with the camera, there was cooking silver beet soup, which may not be heavy on protein, but is almost as soothing as chicken soup (of which I have none because I never replenished the chicken stock that had to be turfed when the fridge died a few months ago. But that’s another story for another cold day).

When Henry Frankenstein decided it was worth risking everything to create his monster, he pretty much deserved everything that ensued; had he stuck to studying mould /mold on cheddar cheese as original planned, he and Elizabeth would’ve wed, and the two could’ve started their own firm, beating Kraft and Black Diamond to the finish line as the dominant cheese manufacturer.

But no, Henry wanted to play with dead things, reanimate them into something better than reconstituted beef, and move on to a bride for his all-singing / all-dancing creation, losing everything he was destined to enjoy had he stayed on the straight & narrow path of orange cheese products.

The theme of wanting to create a vision from spare parts and goo pushed Jeffrey Franken (idiosyncratic James Lorinz) to reconstitute dead love Elizabeth (hot Patty Mullen) into a better bride. Yes, Elizabeth was mulched by an experimental robotic lawnmower, but Jeffrey still had her head and arm, and her discombobulated status gave Jeffrey a prime opportunity to improve upon his beloved’s flawed parts by getting better ones from hookers in New York City, and so begins the story of Frank Henenlotter’s awesomely warped Frankenhooker [M] (1990), which gets its Blu-ray release from Synapse Films. The review’s up, and you’ll find some details regarding the different extras between the Synapse release and the British Arrow edition.

Also uploaded is a review of Ralph Nelson’s bullshit cautionary tale  Embryo (1976), another example of why sometimes eggheads just shouldn’t go ‘there’ – the middle ground between light and dark  immorality, between science good and bad, of things and ideas and really wrong feelings.

Nelson may have earned an Emmy Award (Playhouse 90’s Requiem for a Heavyweight) and directed the Oscar-winning hit Lilies of the Field (1963), but by the seventies he had slipped, and Embryo was a peculiar effort to recapture the moral arguments of earlier & better films, if not the tragic relationships within one of his best: Charley (1968), where a slow-witted man becomes smart due to some brilliant experimental work by eggheads, and then starts to regress.

That film’s final scene is a real slammer, but the sadness & desperation of Charly is constantly bungled in Embryo [M] (1976), right down to the finale where star Rock Hudson realizes Barbara Carrera (who’s frequently nekkid) has done something really bad.

Whereas Frankenhooker is out on Blu, Embryo is a classic public domain DVD title, which means finding a clean widescreen copy is near impossible, unless TCM perhaps airs one. I’ve reviewed the Diamond Entertainment DVD, and you’ll probably be simpatico with my frustrations with Nelson’s clunky film, and Diamond’s absolutely wretched transfer.

Really: the label deserves to be smacked hard with the Idiot Stick for ever thinking they could improve upon a garbage U-matic transfer from 1942.

‘Nuff said.

More to follow shortly, including details of some great stuff coming very soon to the TIFF Bell Lightbox.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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