Frankenstein’s Army (2013)
Directed by Richard Raaphorst
I love a director with a vision and who uses all his creativity to get that vision to the screen. The ‘monsters’ in Frankenstein’s Army are marvelous creations in concept and portray a unique vision of industrial bio-mechanics. In one scene a creature attacks, but instead of a human head, the creature has a prop-engine with blades spinning at high speed. Not only was I impressed with Richard Raaphorst’s imagination to envision this, but I was impressed with the small special-FX team that brought this to life without CGI. This is one of about a dozen man-monsters (referred to as Zombots) featured in Frankenstein’s Army.
The movie is a found footage film (what the crew from the Netherlands calls 1st person POV) under the pretext of a camera man recording a wartime film for the Russian Army. It is near the end of WWII and the Russian troops are making advances into German occupied territories. They come upon a desolate town and an old mining factory. When they investigate this factory, they are hunted and slaughtered by the horrors of Frankenstein’s Army. The acting is good, especially Karel Roden, who plays Viktor Frankenstein (grandson to the original), who seems to have inherited the mad-genius gene from his grandfather. FF films never leave much room for character development so aside from Viktor we only learn of one other character’s motivations. However, that doesn’t stop this film from feeling like a good old fashion monster movie. Laced with political satire and irony, the film takes the horrors of war one step further.
I don’t always watch the special features of movies, even ones that I like, but I watched the making-of immediately following the movie. It was amazing to see the ingenuity that brought the Zombots to life. While other filmmakers tend to use the FF/POV style as a crutch or to save money on filming, Raaphorst explains why he wanted to film this first person and the difficulties of capturing a special effects heavy film in this style. Many of the shots had to be completed in one take with multiple effects timed and choreographed just right. The making-of also went to the abandoned factory in the Czech Republic where the film was shot as the director explained how he used items on site for the film.
Starting with detailed drawings of his monster designs, Raaphorst took these ideas from concept to finished product on a small budget. This film shows he may be a visionary as unique as Tim Burton, Brian Yuzna, or David Cronenberg. I look forward to future films by Raaphorst and his team; I think they really put something special on the screen. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie!
Recommended if you like: Dog Soldiers, Society, From Beyond, Monster movies, Nazi zombie films, etc.
Good review. I heard about this one, but passed on it for now. More and more I’m skipping on modern films (any genre unless it’s made or stars someone I really like). Based on the reviews I write that’s more or less the bulk of eras I watch. I’ll keep a look out for this one though. Think I saw it at best buy.
The thing I like about this is it doesn’t feel like a modern horror flick. Its not Hollywood, its European and that’s already a plus in my book! I’m really kind of done with Hollywood Horror films and look for foreign made films now. Many horror directors go to Europe to get their films made these days, Savini, Gordon, Yuzna, etc.
I like pre-90s Euro horror. In particular Italian. Modern day honestly I don’t keep up with it much. The French wave of horror films from a few years ago was fairly good though.
Of this year alone. I’ve seen like 5 or 6 horror films. Outside of horror honestly don’t think I’ve seen anything. Oh wait my bad Bullet to the Head I saw.
I guess best way to put it I probably wouldn’t need both hands to count how many films I’ve seen in 1 year for like 7 of the past 10-years or so. I do sort of collect films and its expensive at times to keep up with everything. So basically its like ok you can’t get the eras you like and modern films. 1 or the other. And seeing as I’m not that into newer stuff easy choice.
Sorry for the long reply lol
Wow, this look great, will have to see this! The make up and monster effects look brilliant!
Definite fun for the monster movie fan!
I started this movie and I stopped watching for some reason. Then, I never picked up where I left off. Need to start it over. Looks like a blast, good review, bro!
The trailer looked great but I had convinced myself that I saw everything good in the movie in those 2 minutes. Now I’ll actually seek this out.
Yeah, its not going to win any awards for story or acting but its fun to watch.
I enjoyed your review and posted it on Dreddit. Hopefully you’ll get some new readers to your fine work.
Thanks John, I appreciate it!
Nah. It’s nothing. If it works out well, I get a good Dreddit rep and you get more views. If not, no one really loses. There was a recent discussion about the movie on Reddit so it felt right to throw up a good review. Since I don’t have one and, even if I did, self-promotion is viewed as SPAM and policed heavily on Reddit, I used yours. If you always write this well, I’ll keep doing it.
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