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Blackenstein

Blackenstein (1973) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  87m  •    •  Directed by: William A. Levey.  •  Starring: John Hart, Ivory Stone, Joe De Sue, Roosevelt Jackson, Andrea King, Nick Bolin, Karin Lind, Yvonne Robinson, John Dennis, Liz Renay, Gerald Soucie, Beverly Haggerty, Daniel Fauré.  •  Music by: Cardella Di Milo, Lou Frohman.
        Brilliant surgeon Dr.Frank N. Stein employs a new experimental technique on horribly-wounded Vietnam veteran Eddie Turner, combining restorative surgery to his limbs with injections of altered DNA. Problems arise when Stein's assistant becomes insanely jealous of Ed's girlfriend and switches the DNA injections, resulting in Eddie's transformation into a lumbering monster with a cylindrical Afro and a fondness for attacking scantily-clad women and popping off people's heads like champagne corks.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 3:40
 
 

Review:

Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
Image from: Blackenstein (1973)
"Blackenstein" is an unbelievably amateurish romp that cannot even be considered true blaxploitation. It's got no action, and even worse, no attitude. Instead, this simply was designed to capitalize on the trend of inserting "black" into the names of famous monsters, like "Blacula" or "Dr. Black & Mr. Hyde". It's the kind of movie that was intended to play on the second bill of a drive-in feature, or draw people into a sleazy theater based on the title alone.

Hilariously terrible on every level, this is compellingly awful viewing. In terms of film-making, "Blackenstein" is a great example of a half baked cash-in rushed into production with only vague ideas about what the final product was supposed to be like.

Consider, if you will, the plot: Dr. Winifred Walker is a young woman seeking to continue her studies with one of her college professors, the cleverly-named Dr. Stein. She just shows up on his doorstep one day (at his suitably cardboard-Gothic style mansion) and he immediately takes her on as his assistant. Winifred is devoted to her boyfriend, Eddie, who has lost all of his limbs (and apparently his personality) after stepping on a land mine in 'Nam. Coincidentally, Dr. Stein's experiments involve DNA and the replacement of lost body parts (or something like that). Dr. Stein's injections miraculously restore Eddie's limbs, seemingly within hours, but fate interferes. Dr. Stein's servant, Malcomb, takes revenge on Winifred when she spurns his love. Malcomb alters Eddie's injections and they turn him into a monster, complete with a square forehead and a huge afro. Whatever.

Since the makers of the film seem to feel as if a "Frankenstein" flick needs a dungeon, Winifred & Dr. Stein inexplicably banish Eddie to a basement cell after his results start turning out badly. They are also oblivious to the fact that he gets out at night to embark on nocturnal rampages.

The story takes every liberty to work in any type of Frankensteinmad-doctor cliché possible, even to the point of absurdity: bubbling beakers, crackling electrodes, inappropriate thunder & lightning, and a monster with confusing motivations. The dialogue, terribly stilted, is delivered by non-actors on all counts. One hilarious sequence involves Liz Renay as a victim who appears for a few minutes, only to be ripped open by Eddie, who eats her intestines. Her performance is the only believable one in the entire film.

The absurdities don't stop there, though. An incredibly silly soul song floats over the title credits. The Halloween-style sound effects are not to be missed, and also don't miss the scene inside a nightclub that features Cardella De Milo, prefaced by an emcee who delivers a painfully unfunny joke. And ah, let's see...I can't leave out the hilariously inappropriate music that pops up from time to time, offering shock and suspense cues while actors walk leisurely through hallways or glance around aimlessly. The attack scenes are also executed with a complete lack of suspense or logic, with many of the "victims" hurling themselves directly into the monster's outstretched arms. One especially stupid victim somehow eludes the monster, yet suddenly forgets how to climb a ladder, allowing the unbelievably slow creature to sneak up behind her.

The editing is inept, and goof-spotters usually notice the phenomenon of Winifred's hairstyle changing drastically from scene to scene. I'll be damned if one of the victims didn't have on the same dress as Winifred, too, as if nobody was supposed to notice.

The film's one innovative idea? The credits roll from top-to-bottom instead of bottom-to-top.

In spite of all of this, I don't agree with everybody who commented on this film and said it is not worth watching. It's not every day you come across a movie THIS bad. What did you expect with a title like "Blackenstein"? I adored it.


Review by GroovyDoom from the Internet Movie Database.