Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Frankenstein's Army (2013) US/Netherlands/Czech Republic

Somewhere in Hollywood we-don't-give-a-shit land, greedy overlords were desperate to find a way to earn their million for the week. They met around their solid oak table that approximated the cost of three houses and pondered for five minutes. Then they decided to write their ideas on a piece of paper and throw it in the I-don't-give-a-shit box. What they didn't count on was the president had had 'friends' over the night before (EXPENSIVE friends) and he had a hell of a hangover, so he hadn't heard that they were only going to pick ONE idea. Instead this genius took all the scraps of paper, laid them out on the table and said, "This is our next movie!"

So there you go. This movie really has no particular genre - no, scratch that. This movie can be put in any genre you choose, depending on your mood at the moment. It is a horror-creature-feature-sci-fi-Frankenstein-war-found-footage film. With whipped cream on top.

It does have its moments though. I wouldn't say run from this movie, maybe a slow walk would suffice. It also wouldn't hurt much to watch it just once. I'm just being a wussy 'cause to get this review done for good (instead of drafts I can't understand because it's been too long) I've watched this bloody thing at least three times. Pffft. Double DUH on me, I know.

You think they'd have run like
hell when they found Frank Tank...
So. This is WWII and we are with the Russians in this one. If I interrupt with a couple of 'facts', it's only because I care about your welfare and if you can at least learn a little bit of history it's worth it right? I know I learn from these 'cause school didn't do squat but teach me how to memorize facts for 24 hours, then forget everything. It wasn't a bad school, I was a lazy student.

Kentucky Fried Nuns... yeah, I know,
I already slapped my hands with a ruler...
Oh yeah, Russians. They are currently under the thumb of Stalin. At the beginning of the film a man, using what's supposed to be a camera of the age, announces that he is Dimitri and he is doing this for the mausoleum and for Stalin. Sigh. What's a mausoleum got to do with it? Short answer: That's where they put Lenin. Stalin was in it until 1961 before it was quietly removed. There were no ceremonies and no fanfare. 

About 300 feet from the mausoleum, Stalin's body was buried near other minor leaders of the Revolution. Stalin's body was placed near the Kremlin wall, half-hidden by trees. A few weeks later, a simple dark granite stone marked the grave with the very simple, "J. V. STALIN 1879-1953." In 1970, a small bust was added to the grave.

...and this is where techno came from...
Sorry, that wasn't very short, was it? Anywho, right now the Russians are fighting Nazis - their group has the required stereotypes - the peacemaker, the asshole, the lied-about-his-age-to-fight kid, the photographer of course, and others. Two are Jewish - one escaped Krakow as the Nazis invaded and so wanted to fight to avenge his mother. 

You're the only guy we've come across
but don't worry, we're too dense to figure out
that you're Viktor so you're safe...
Everyone seems to have their own agenda, and we are beat over the head with the message that 'no matter what side you're on if you war against others you are a monster' kind of thing. Just because this didn't have American troops in it doesn't mean they wouldn't have acted just this way. War is hell and people become desperate when the death of another means that you get to live.

And don't think I'm picking on Germans, 'cause this is a Nazi problem - the Nazis threw a lot of German people in the camps as well. There were many colored triangles delegated to the different 'undesirables':
  • Red triangle - political prisoners: social democrats, socialists, trade unionists, Freemasons, communists, and anarchists.
  • Green triangle - "professional criminals" (convicts, often working in the camps as Kapos).
  • Blue triangle - foreign forced laborers, emigrants.
  • Purple triangle - primarily Jehovah's Witnesses (over 99%), and members of other small religious groups. They were considered a triple threat because they were Pacifist (and therefore had to refuse both voluntary military service and conscription), were forbidden to swear oaths (and therefore couldn't swear loyalty to the party or allegiance to Hitler), and socially and politically opposed the Nazi party.
  • Pink triangle - primarily homosexual men, as well as sexual offenders including rapists, pedophiles and zoophiles.
  • Black triangle - people who were deemed "asocial elements" and "work shy" including Roma (Gypsies later assigned a brown triangle), the mentally ill, alcoholics, vagrants and beggars, pacifists, conscription resisters, prostitutes, some anarchists, drug addicts
  • Brown triangle - Roma (Gypsies), primarily men. Previously wore the black triangle with a "Z" notation to the right of the triangle's point.
  • Uninverted red triangle - an enemy POW, German spy or traitor, or a military deserter or criminal.
And in case the US starts feeling superior I know more than a few Japanese immigrants sent to internment camps in your country that would like to speak with you.

Ahem. The soapbox is in the closet and we are gonna do this movie if it kills you... umm I mean kills me. Let's see, Russian detail with a movie maker in tow to catch the 'action' for Stalin. Yay. While in battle the men act all brave and noble, but when they approach a small cluster of houses, they kill all they find and steal the rest. And that was normal for all sides.

They find a monastery with a pile of burning nuns - all the religious trappings are piled in corners and huge generators are providing electricity to... something. They find a "man" hooked up to electrical wires, stitched all over, blind, with a drill for a hand. He manages to kill one of them before being shot up by the soldiers. 

After lots of monsters (the most interesting part of this movie - definitely puts 'creature feature' into the movie) they discover they've been chasing a 'radio signal' set up for them to find - and the cameraman, Dima, is involved. He's the one who'd been blocking their transmissions so they could stumble onto the monastery. He outranks them all and blackmails them with the lives of their families in case they want to kill him.

They keep going down, down, down, until they think they've found the actual 'lab'. To get there they have to go down a blood-slick shute and the others decide that Dima should be first - whether he has the ability to get their families killed or not. They throw down all his gear and leave him groaning on top of a pile of assorted body pieces. After cussing out everyone he can think of (including Stalin) Dima watches as another monster grabs his gear bag (probably thinking it another body) and throws it on the pile he is pushing in a mine cart. Dima follows. 

Teddy Ruxpins always did creep me out...
It's a regular assembly line of monsters making more monsters. Dimitri realizes he's gonna die. On his last roll of film, he apologizes to his mother and father, as they too were being held captive unless he did this job for Stalin. Now they will die too. For one last dash at freedom he runs and finds the doctor's office - full of everything a mad doctor could want - including a teddy bear with a woman's head belonging to Viktor's mother apparently (Just in time for Christmas!).

After watching more... gore, he decides to make a run for it. The movie becomes like the POV of a video game player, running down hallways, meeting monsters, turning to different hallways, meeting more monsters, etc. It's nauseating. He runs into what was formerly Ivan and being movie-stupid assumes that means it won't kill him. It tries. But nope. Now we FINALLY see the actual doctor as he tries to figure out how to work the camera (it's upside down for a bit) and he has another man sitting at his table. 

It's Dimitri. The doctor wants to film him and Dimitri together. He feeds him Eintopf, a traditional type of German stew which can consist of a great number of different ingredients. Technically, the term refers to a way of cooking all ingredients in one pot, not to any specific recipe. Dimitri gags although he's fed by force because he realizes that there's got to be at least chunks of human in the stew but the Dr. wants him 'strong' to film his work. 

Viktor's specialty was novelty Halloween decorations...
The doc explains his dad told him man needed hammers and screwdrivers for hands to be more efficient, but when the doc tried it on cats the dad said it was against God and beat him for it. So he's been screwed up since birth.

Dad died (Viktor killed him) and he was sent to the camps until the Sturmbannführer (equivalent to a major) asked about his cats and whether he could do the same to people. Yup. He used his grandfather's techniques but had generators instead of thunderstorms. He gets mad when Dima suggests their automated machines - he insists they're alive and they eat Eintopf. He shows his next project - the fusing of two soldiers brains together, the right side from one and the left from another (massive duh - like pulling out half a brain and plunking it into another skull would work - meh, who am I kidding - they don't care).

Jabba's gonna be pissed when he
finds out that Oola is moonlighting...
The gist of the deal is the Russians want Viktor to help them win the war and since the Russian front is closing in on them he hopes Viktor will take the deal and they can both make like a hockey stick and get the puck out of there. But Viktor believes that a half-n-half soldier will end the war. No, it'll just hit itself in the face 'til it dies, asshole, sheesh. Dima's fine when the skull comes off the Nazi, but when his 'comrade' gets the drill, he passes out. Waking up he finds there is no deal and he's about to become one of the 'experiments'.

Viktor has already been in a Nazi camp, he expects no better from Russia. But alas, the bombing begins before he can cut Dima open. He decides to leave Dima tied up and take his camera, but he is shot in the back before he can grab it. Who shot him? Sasha, the youngest I-lied-about-my-age soldier. 

Dima has a shitfit because it was Viktor that was going to save his own life and his parents. Sasha takes Viktor's head, the camera bag and, of course, the camera. He leaves Dima behind.

Our last picture is a (supposedly) old photo of Stalin, with Sasha right beside him. Huh. I don't seem to feel bad for Dimitri at all.