This grim, misogynist Italian production stars Gordon Mitchell as the modern-day monster-maker, who appropriately dubs his bald, lumbering patchwork creation "Mosaico." After the creature's escape from the lab, the plot seldom deviates from scene after scene of the scar-faced behemoth disemboweling women and bashing in people's heads with a leg-bone.
Directed by: Mario Mancini
. Starring: John Richardson
, Gordon Mitchell
, Renato Romano
, Xiro Papas
, Dalila Di Lazzaro
, Roberto Fizz
, Dada Gallotti
, Marisa Traversi
, Lemmy Carson
, Marco Mariani
, Luigi Bonos
, Enrico Rossi
, Fulvio Mingozzi
. Music by: Daniele Patucchi
A typically incomprehensible Italian sleaze epic, made on a shoestring budget and squarely aimed at the exploitation market with its offerings of graphic gore and copious female nudity. Although it's not consistently entertaining enough to be considered a so-bad-it's-good delight, FRANKENSTEIN '80 does contain its fair share of delirious delights which stop it from becoming totally unwatchable. These include a cheesy script full of overly serious dialogue; amusingly bad acting from Xiro Papas as the monster, Mosaic; overblown scenes of action; and some bad-taste moments in which the creature goes around raping prostitutes and innocent girls. The film's highlight has to be the moment in which Mosaic breaks into an abattoir and beats a girl to death with a bone (!) before stripping her corpse and having his wicked way with her - it's that kind of movie.
The strung-together plot sees the Frankenstein tale updated to the "then" slightly futuristic setting of 1980 where Dr. Otto Frankenstein continues his medical experiments. The first thing to notice is that the good doctor is played by peplum legend Gordon Mitchell, bizarrely decked out in Victorian attire whilst everyone else wears bad '70s gear! Mitchell can always be relied upon to deliver a solid performance and his appearance here is no exception, although sadly his character does get bumped off about halfway through the film, leaving the monster to go on a low-budget rampage of terror through the countryside with nobody to hold him back.
The story goes that bearded scientist Professor Schwarz has developed a serum which can help to bond organs into new bodies (an idea later used in the horror smash hit RE-ANIMATOR). Just as dashing hero Karl Schein is about to have the serum used on his sister, undergoing a heart transplant, Frankenstein steals it and his sister dies, leaving Schein understandably peeved and embarking on a personal investigation to find his sister's murderer.
The leading role of Schein is played by the omnipotent John Richardson, who gained fame with his appearance in ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. before appearing in all kinds of trashy Italian horror films (mainly gialli) in the '70s. Aside from his silly haircut, there's little memorable about his performance here and he doesn't actually achieve much despite his investigations. The film also includes a police investigation into the murders which is lethargic ever, but at least it is presided over by the short-tempered Inspector Schneider, who gets some great ranting when one of his officers spells his name wrong in his report!
Many scenes in the film involve Mosaic going around and offing a series of young, attractive women, with the rape angle added on to give the film an even sleazier atmosphere. There are also the standard "operating room" procedures in which the camera is held as close as possible to some sloppy organs and blood-covered hands. The string of murders that the monster commits are slapdash and brutal and almost always involve bright red blood being smeared over a clean white wall to emphasise the carnage. As for Mosaic, his physical inspiration seems to be the creature played by Freddie Jones in Hammer's FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, and the actor playing him is the bushy-eyebrowed Xiro Papas, a specialist in such areas - he would later play another sexual sadist in THE BEAST IN HEAT.
Don't expect any characterisation of the monster; he's simply a rampaging brute, a creature of destruction with murder in mind. The over-the-top ending, in which Mosaic's organs fail in an unforgettable display of fake blood and bad acting, is the stuff B-movie fan's dreams are made of. In most respects this is a poorly-made movie but that just adds to the charm; FRANKENSTEIN movies don't get any cheaper, gorier or sleazier than this brain-addled Italo entry.
Review by Leofwine_draca from the Internet Movie Database.