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The Frankenstein Syndrome
The Frankenstein Experiment / The Prometheus Project

USA 2010
produced by
Dustin Lowry, Noah Todd, Sean Tretta, Tiffany Shepis, Joe Ricci (executive), Eric Weston (executive), David C.Hayes (associate) for American World Pictures, NWR, Ominous Productions, Zone Glory
directed by Sean Tretta
starring Tiffany Shepis, Scott Anthony Leet, Patti Tindall, Louis Mandylor, Ed Lauter, Noah Todd, Joe Ricci, Sebastian Kunnappilly, Esther Ellsworth, Shane Dean, Zena Otsuka, Kristina Wayborn, Richard Anderson, David C.Hayes, Jonathan Northover, Kevin Tye, Lillie Richardson, Michael Tassoni, Josh Bingenheimer, Maya Stojan, Emilee Edwards, Jessica Lemisch, Danielle Donis, Krystal S.Boughman, Melanie Miller, Edna Trevizu, Laura Estay
written by Sean Tretta, inspired by the novel Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley, music by Lawrence Shragge, special effects by Quin Davis

Frankenstein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Doctor Elizabeth Barnes (Tiffany Shepis) is the latest addition to a top secret and highly illegal research group on stem cell research financed by Dr Walton (Ed Lauter) and headed by ruthless Marcus Grohn (Louis Mandylor). She has personbal reasons why she joins the group, so she doesn't ask too many questions, like where all the human live specimens come from (They are drug addicts and the like kidnapped right off the streets). From day one, Elizabeth faces fierece opposition from Doctor Victoria Travelle (Patti Tindall), but this actually only motivates her. Then, one of the specimens, Kima (Zena Otsuka), dies, and Grohn gives Elizabeth a shot at reviving her. Elizabeth succeeds inasmuch as she manages to revive Kima - but Kima has turned into a murderous monster and ultimately Marcus shoots her.

Kima's death causes some problems, because she had a boyfriend among the guards, David (Scott Anthony Leet), and now David wants revenge, and if he can't get revenge, he at least wants money, much money ... and instead he gets a bullet in the head from Marcus himself.

Marcus is not one to bear grudges though, so he immediately hands David's body over to his team of scientists to revive him - after all, with most of his brain blown out, David will not remember anyways, will he?

The experiment, this time headed by Victoria, succeeds, and once David is brought back to life, Victoria takes a special interest in him, and like a mother she educates him, makes him a normal human again - but David exceeds all expectations by far, not only does he learn reading, writing and whatever else there is in record time, before long he also manages the art of mind-reading. And he realizes he wants Elizabeth, but Elizabeth thinks he's a monster, and since he can read her mind ...

Evetnually, David seems to develop supernatural powers by the minute, but the stronger he gets the more uncontrollable he gets, and only Victoria, whom he soon calls mother, seems to have some power over him. Then David starts killing people, and Marcus shoots him dead because the experiment has clearly gone out of hand. Doc Walton decides to shut down the research facility altogether and let his staff go ... but that's easier said than done, because now David shuts everyone in with him, and slaughters everyone, everyone but his mother of course. Oh, and he spares Elizabeth, though the fate he has in store for her - he severs her spinal cord and rips off her facial skin - might be worse than death.

And while Elizabeth spends the rest of her life as a disfigured invalid, Victoria travels the country selling david as the second coming of Christ (after all, he can turn water into wine) ...

 

A radical reinterpretation of the Frankenstein-tale that in manya aspects remains closer to the source than most other adaptations, especially in the portrayal of the monster as both the pathetic creature and the ruthless killer without favouring one over the other, and the portrayal of the not-really-mad scientist as someone who every now and again suspends his moral judgement and pretends to be blind to the consequences of his doing as a sort of justification.

This all might sound a bit lofty, but in fact, The Frankenstein Syndrome is a rather exciting, tense and quite gory low budget thriller, carried by an uniformly excellent cast and a tight directorial effort, and the idea to confine the film (mostly) to one location (the research lab) adds just the right sort of claustrophobia to the proceedings the story needs.

Recommended!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD