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Andy Warhol’s Flesh for Frankenstein


Warhol's Flesh for Frankenstein (1974)

     After viewing Flesh for Frankenstein , I have to wonder if Producer Andy Warhol had said to himself, “How do we modernize Frankenstein. I know! Add loads of breasts and sex!” For that really is all that Flesh for Frankenstein is. It follows the same concept of the mad scientist in Bride of Frankenstein in desiring to create a human race derived from reanimated humans, it just goes about it in a much more graphic fashion typical of the times.

     Baron Frankenstein (Udo Kier) has created in his lab a woman assembled from a couple individuals and brought back to life. His next endeavor is to create a man with an immense libido. He has most of the body assembled from a handful of people but needs the head and brain of such a sex maniac. To find the perfect brain, he and his assistant Otto (Arno Juerging) lurk outside a brothel where two blonde blokes are having their fun. One of these men is a sex addict, the other is his chaste friend who desires to be a monk and needs some tutelage in the ways of the ladies. Despite their visit to the whore house, however, he remains unmoved by the variety of breasts. Unfortunately, Frankenstein observes him outside the brothel with two naked women and thinks he is engaging both their services at once. As the men walk home, Frankenstein and Otto knock out the actual ladies man and cut off the head of the celibate one.

     Meanwhile, Lady Katrin Frankenstein (Monique Van Vooren) –who is both the Baron’s sister and wife– has hired the ladies man Nicholas (Joe Dallesandro) to work as her body-guard and lover allowing for plenty of bedroom scenes, many of which are watched secretly by the Frankensteins’ strange children. When Frankenstein brings his female monster and newly animated male monster to the dinner Nicholas is serving the family, the servant is disturbed by the tall man with his friend’s head. He later shares his concerns with Katrin, but she’s too busy wanting sex. The mad scientist is confused about why his male monster has no sexual desire and cannot understand why both his wife and his female monster are so interested in the servant.

     SPOILER Katrin is permitted to try to draw some sexual desire out of the male monster, but he ends up crushing her in his arms instead. Nicholas has meanwhile been caught snooping in the lab and is being held captive by Frankenstein. Otto at this point is desiring a sexual exploit of his own, and following the example set by his master earlier in the movie (“To know death, Otto, you have to f— life in the gallbladder.”) fornicates with the female monster’s stomach incision, disembowling and killing her in the process. This enrages Frankenstein who dispatches of Otto, but the scientist too is eliminated, this time at the hands of the male monster. Nicholas wishes to free his friend, but the monster declares he cannot live in this alien body and instead digs his hands into his own incisions and kills himself. Nicholas is left dangling from a crane and when the Frankenstein children enter, it looks as though they plan to continue the family business. END SPOILER

     The version of Flesh of Frankenstein I viewed is one of the edited versions. When it was originally released in 1974, it was given an X rating for the sex and vivid violence/gore. Much of that happens away from the camera’s eye in the R-rated cut. Despite the gruesomeness of it all, the movie is laugh-out-loud horrible. All characters have soviet-style accents except Nicholas, who despite having “grown up” with his sexless friend has a New Jersey accent. What was worst was a scene between a horny and nude Katrin and an uninterested Nicholas during which the woman makes horrible sucking sounds while kissing the man’s armpit area while he is trying to convey his suspicions regarding his friend’s head. This drags on for several minutes and is impossible to not laugh at. Anything that is not a laugh riot will likely creep out any audience member through this terribly uncomfortable film. I am not a fan of anything Andy Warhol has done, so count this among them.


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