October 12, 2013

Horror-A-Day: Blackenstein - The Black Frankenstein

So, the decidedly un-Fall like weather persists. The good thing is that the march towards Halloween movie marathon marches on. There is nothing quite like scrolling through my Netflix queue searching for the next hopeful winner. Well, I did succeed on watching something I had never seen before, but it is not one that is going to float to the top. With that said, it does have a certain undeniable charm that firmly plants it in the era in which it was made, never to be confused with a more modern production.

A year after the success of Blacula, they went back to the well of bringing classic monsters into blaxploitation genre with the release of Blackenstein: The Black Frankenstein. The movie has some solid moments, but it is not what one would call a classic or even a terribly memorable Blaxploitation outing. Still, it is one that needs toe seen to be believed.

The movie follows Dr. Winifred Walker (Ivory Stone) as she moves to California to be close to her boyfriend, just returned from Vietnam. He stepped on a landmine which took both of his arms and legs. Winifred goes too her old college mentor, Dr. Stein (John Hart). A Nobel Peace Prize (?) winner for work in medicine. Anyway, she gets a job with him as an assistant and he agrees to work his DNA and transplant magic on her boyfriend.

All is going well, he responds well to the therapy and before long, he and Winifred are planning their future. Of course, things in movies like these can never just go right. Dr. Stein has a servant named Malcomb (Roosevelt Jackson) and it seems that he has taken a strong liking to the lovely young doctor. His jealousy leads to him sabotage the treatment.

With the patient, Eddie (Joe Desus), getting the incorrect injections the results take a turn for the worse. Eddie's head begins to deform, taking on squarish shape, including his fro. His limbs seem to have stiffened up as well. Each night, he gets up and wanders into town, killing people. He rips limbs off and fondles disemboweled intestines, in thoroughly unconvincing fashion. Of course, it comes down to Eddie versus Malcomb. Who will win? Watch and find out.

Blackenstein is a rather inept movie. The acting is poor, the screenplay is pretty bad, the effects are awful, and it has some dull moments. Still, it is a snapshot in time and the bad acting is so flat as to be comical. I do like the way he plays with those intestines.

Watch it, think about it, move on. You could look at this as a missed opportunity. The idea of Frankenstein mashed with blaxploitation seems like a winner, it is a shame that this one comes across as rushed and ill conceived. Still.. It has a certain charm..

Very Mildly Recommended.

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