When horror becomes a whore show

frankenhooker

Frank Henenlotter, the man behind the sleazy awesome gross cult film Basket Case, seemed to have been perfectly in tune with the sucky horror that would define the 90s when he made the 1990 film Frankenhooker. It was a popular rental at the video store I worked in at the time (the talking VHS box had a lot to do with that), and I know I saw it, but I really remembered nothing about it. That could be because it’s mostly about some dude’s visit to a whorehouse.

frankenhooker party

There’s this medical student dude who has a brain with an eye in a fish tank. His mother is Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (Louise Lasser is in the film for like a minute). His fiancée is creamed by a remote control lawnmower during a birthday party. All that remains of her is her head. Guess what the medical student does next.

Where to get female body parts? The streets! Strip clubs! A seedy hotel!

Frankenhooker is all about the prostitute party. The forgettable medical student dude (he’s no Jeffrey Combs) examines all their body parts. There are wicked close-ups of nipples (a magnifying glass is involved) and other female body parts. Then it breaks out into a big naked hooker dance party (that gave me the urge to watch The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), complete with lesbianism. But then the hookers get into the medical student’s lab bag, which leads to…exploding whores!

Frankenhooker hooker

Once the medical student puts his fiancé back together with whore parts, all she can do is spout what sounds like lyrics from Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” (I was hoping she would say, “toot-toot, aaaaah, beep beep!”).  She doesn’t like when he refuses her offer of a date, so she sets out to menace men on the street.

But don’t expect much of a body count. All Frankenhooker does is bitch slap every dude who passes on the enticing offer of secondhand va-jay-jay. When she finally finds a dude horny enough, he gets electrocuted when she screws him.

frankenhooker hunk

frankenhooker kiss

Near the conclusion of the film, we finally get more horror than whores. Well, sort of, considering the horror is made of whores. A bunch of spare hooker body parts come together as deformed creatures.

Frankenhooker isn’t as darkly humorous or exploitative as I would have expected, even for 1990 (or else I would have remembered it). But it is determined to be shocking right to the bitter end, at which point it gives us what I’d call a reversed Sleepaway Camp finale.

frankenhooker man head

Perhaps those last moments did scar fragile young minds as much as Angela ruined me seven years before, but overall, Frankenhooker feels like Re-animator with hookers—and not enough bang for your buck.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES.

I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.

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