After watching (and loving) Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case last year I knew I would get round to checking out more of his work eventually. Frankenhooker is very much in keeping with the spirit of that earlier film with it’s combination of outrageous body-horror and clever comedy. It would be easy to write this movie off as a stupid idea but Henenlotter is much smarter than that. The film is very self-aware and uses it’s silly trappings to it’s advantage. I mean, just look at the set-up: A poor sap’s girlfriend gets chopped up in a horrific lawnmower accident so he decides to reanimate her using severed limbs from dead hookers. How could anyone try to make that movie with a straight face?
There’s stuff in Frankenhooker you won’t see anywhere else. One sequence featuring a room full of naked hookers exploding after ingesting batch of super-crack (yes you read that correctly) is among the most entertaining few minutes of B-movie nirvana I’ve ever seen. The production value might be quite shoddy but like Basket Case, the ideas behind the visuals make the rubbery execution even more charming. Where else are you going to see a table full of severed tits used as a sight gag? Patty Mullen’s performance as the titular Frankenhooker is terrific too. Is it weird to find a dead hooker sexy? Somehow, she makes it feel right. Watching her shuffle through 90s New York’s sleazy underbelly, her face twisted with electricity, feels somewhat iconic for trash cinema. And so it should be.
I really enjoyed Frankenhooker. It’s such a blast to sit through and one of the highlights of my Halloween viewing for 2015. Much smarter than it’s silly and gimmicky title would have you believe. Plus the original poster famously boasts an approving quote from Bill Murray. If it’s good enough for Bill Murray then it’s good enough for anyone with taste.