Flesh for Frankenstein (1974)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Sex Horror  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - France , Italy , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Craig Butler

Is Flesh for Frankenstein a dizzyingly brilliant social satire, a laugh-riot campfest, or a disgustingly gory slice of inanity that has no more claim to legitimacy than any other piece of schlocky exploitation? Different people will have different answers to this question, and one person from one of the camps is unlikely to be swayed by a representative from one of the others. However, it's fairly safe to say that the average viewer is more likely to fall into the third camp; whether they enjoy it or not, they're unlikely to find it anything resembling a work of art. And why should they? It's a ramshackle affair, with performances that are ludicrously over-the-top and direction that is even more so, and a script that is filled with horrible dialogue. Not to mention, it's a truly gross experience. Of course, many will appreciate it just for these qualities, either to laugh at how truly outrageous it all is or to marvel at the manner in which director/writer Paul Morrissey is skewering the very countercultural sex revolutionaries that were among his biggest fans, creating what is at heart a very conservative critique of hippie culture. Whatever one thinks of the film, it's hard not to be amazed by Udo Kier's extravagant performance as the doctor; love it or hate it, it's a spectacle, a fully-committed performance that takes outrageous to a new extreme. In some ways, Flesh defies any kind of logical attempt at criticism -- so that even those who find it distasteful and lacking in redeeming qualities will find it hard to simply dismiss it.