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Published by David Carter on 2015/6/28 (952 reads)
Directed by Richard Griffin
Review by David Carter

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Released by Wild Eye Releasing
Running Time: 85 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo English
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Commentary track, Director Interview
Trailer Online: Yes

Open in new windowHorror movie fans are a demanding lot. Obscurity tends to foster elitism, and as horror cinema has often been given short shrift by mainstream media and society, horrorphiles frequently possess encyclopedic knowledge of their beloved genre and require the same of horror filmmakers. Director Richard Griffin has the same affinity for the horror genre as the most obsessive gorehound, and his love for and knowledge of horror is entertainingly displayed in his latest effort, FRANKENSTEINíS HUNGRY DEAD. Originally titled DR. FRANKENSTEINíS WAX MUSEUM OF THE HUNGRY DEAD, this nostalgic gorefest is now available on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing.

Griffin displays his aforementioned horror knowledge with an opening montage that has the viewer taking a first-person POV journey through a wax museum dedicated to the legends of screen horror. The serenity of the waxen monsters is disturbed by a teenaged intruder who is quickly dispatched by a certainly non-waxwork creature. A few days later a BREAKFAST CLUB-esque group of high schoolers are suffering through another stint in detention when they are given a choice: remain there or take a field trip to Charles Frankís wax museum. The teens naturally opt for the wax museum but infuriate both their teacher and owner Frank by their blasť attitude towards classic horror cinema.

Open in new windowThatís not to say that the kids arenít interested in the wax museum for other reasons, however. They all break in to the museum after hours to throw a party among the ghoulish statuary. Raging hormones and loud music distract them from the fact that they arenít alone -- Chaney and Lugosi arenít the only monsters in the wax museum. Charles Frankís obsessions run a bit more macabre than simple statues, and heís got an army of snarling undead to prove it. The teens are an unwelcome intrusion but Frank isnít one to pass up a fresh supply of bodies, so he sends his creatures to begin an orgy of carnage so he can begin putting an even more fiendish plan in action.

Open in new windowI thoroughly enjoyed FRANKENSTEINíS HUNGRY DEAD, even more so that I expected to. Griffin has knack for making entertaining horror films that will appeal both to the diehard horror fan and the newcomer alike. A fine example of this is how the nostalgic aspects of the story were employed. The film presumably takes place in the eighties, but it doesnít pummel the viewer over the head with this fact. Instead, Griffin establishes the setting subtly, exhibiting a level of skill rarely seen in the horror genre. I particularly enjoyed the homage to exploitation cinema. Again, FRANKENSTEINíS HUNGRY DEAD doesnít scream ďLook at me! I know what grindhouse movies are!Ē like some nostalgic horror films, but instead recaptures the spirit of those films without direct imitation.

I am a huge fan of misleading cover art and, to my pleasure, the muscled and menacing Frankensteinís monster on the cover appears nowhere in the film. This is the only misstep on an otherwise excellent disc from Wild Eye Releasing, which features a solid print and an interview with Griffin. Plainly put, FRANKENSTEINíS HUNGRY DEAD is a fun movie. It doesnít take itself too seriously but manages to deliver some solid comedy and the occasional shock. Fans of classic horror and exploitation will be hooked from the opening scenes, but everyone will likely have a good time with this one.
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