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05 January 2015 @ 08:35 am
Movie Reviewed: Frankenstein '80 (part 2 of 3)  
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Scene 31: Later, Schneider is back in his office where he receives a call he’s been waiting for. The lab reports that they’ve captured two sets of fingerprints from the killing lancet, but the results aren’t exactly making sense -- there seems to be two different sets of prints from the same hand. This leaves the Inspector confused and frustrated.

A knock on the door reveals our two subordinate detectives. They report that the prostitute who was being followed wasn’t able to identify who the large man was, as she hadn’t seen him before. In addition, she reported that another gentleman was also searching for their “brute” just prior to the murder.

The Chief Inspector next bellows out about the lab’s confusing analysis. He’s getting more angry that the details of this serial case aren’t illuminating anything but only leading to more chaos.

Another knock has him bellow for entrance. This is our misspelling typist with the local paper, which has a large article on the latest murder adding to the pressure to figure out what is going on.


Scene 32: At his office, Karl is recording his thoughts on his story. He gets a visitor delivering a message for him. Karl takes the opportunity to review what details he’s collected, using the junior reporter as a sounding board.

This mental exercise causes him to realize something important and he dashes off, leaving junior reporting wondering what just happened.


Scene 33: Schein’s sudden departure was to the police precinct to talk with Schneider who isn’t interested in speaking to reporters. Karl insists he can help by tying the theft of the serum with the recent spate of killings.


Scene 34: Outside, assistant inspector and Detective Mustache discuss how few ideas the department have on what is going on exactly and how it sucks that none of them can catch a cigarette around the office until the case breaks. Right now, they’re focused on putting together a line up of previous perpetrators and hoping the witness prostitute can identify their killer.


Scene 35: Assistant Inspector Strauss returns to his boss’ office to hear the details of what Karl has shared. Both inspectors confirm that formaldehyde was scented in the dead hooker’s room.


Scene 36: The next morning, Karl has dropped back in on Frankenstein’s place. Otto isn’t there, but the niece invites him in to wait. They discuss her uncle and her own interest in anatomy.

It comes out that Otto Frankenstein used to be a surgeon. There was an accident during a high profile surgery he’d been performing on a politician’s wife and she died. It ruined his career and left him changed. Now, Sonia shares, he works as a pathologist as a less stressful alternative to put his skills to work, while not risking another patient dying under his blade.

They discuss organ transplants and the problem of rejection. Sonia and he flirt a bit over her plans to be a pediatrician. Sometime later, Karl has to leave never having seen Otto.


Scene 37: Otto isn’t there as expected because he’s currently meeting with Professor Schwarz. The professor is very interested in what his tracking the scalpel’s serial number for the police revealed about not only where it came from, but to whom it was assigned after the hospital received it.

Otto asks if he turned the information over to the police, but Schwarz hasn’t yet. Frankenstein suggests that it could’ve been stolen from his office and Schwarz tells him that they need to track down who, as it may be related to the theft that he suffered recently. The discussion is interrupted by the sound of a huge crash.


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They’re meeting in Otto’s workspace, and the sounds are very clearly coming from the room next door -- behind the secret passage blocking book case, in fact. Otto Frankenstein doesn’t even bother trying to deny it and reveals he has a secret lab hidden away. Schwarz insists on seeing it, and Otto is only to happy to show him. With Schwarz preceding Otto into the lab beyond, the sounds of Mosaic struggling, wrecking the place, and his tortured vocalizations are heard.

It’s not shocking anybody that Otto picks up a scalpel for the good Professor as he follows him in.


Scene 38: In the lab, Mosaic is having a painful fit. Schwarz reacts with shocked horror to seeing the towering, scarred man being kept in secret. Shocked until he’s dead by a slit throat, anyway.

Otto then calms Mosaic down enough to give him an injection for his extreme pain. He’s helped to lie down on a gurney. But now, Otto has a famous professor in charge of his clinic lying on the floor to deal with.


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We get a blurry fade as the Professor is lifted by Otto…


Scene 39: When we unblur, Otto is replacing Mosaic’s eye… seemingly the cause of the excruciating pain he was in as that replacement organ broke down. Otto goes on to describe his latest procedure to the tape machine. He notes the size differential between Mosaic’s eye cavity and the Professor’s donor eyeball.


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Commentary: IMDB has this film down at a ‘4’, but I’m actually having some fun with it. Except for those few gratuitous boob shots of dead women, the directing has been relatively well done and the story is pretty simple but well put together. I’ve liked the interactions between Gordon and Xiro as Frankenstein and Mosaic and while the investigations portion of the film hasn’t really been worthwhile, the scenes aren’t being dragged out to painfulness. The surgical effects are also being well handled for this type of B-flick. I think IMDB’s users are being just a bit hard on the film, unless things suddenly swerve downhill.


Scene 40: When Otto returns to his public office, a knocking on the door startles him and he has to rush to push the secret-hiding bookshelf back into place. It’s Doctor Schwarz’ special nurse, looking for the Professor. Otto demands to know rather snottily why he’d ask him, but Nurse Guy tells him the Professor mentioned coming down to speak to Frankenstein.

Otto sends him on his way as having not seen the Professor. He smirks as the retreating Nurse Guy.


Commentary: Now see -- this is why you can’t hand out compliments. The very next scene after I mention the directing hasn’t been badly done we get this super-cheesy close-in of Otto Frankenstein’s smirk and it’s exactly how camera work is done on the painful daytime soap scenes… I mean exactly. I almost expected us to fade into a laundry detergent commercial.


Scene 41: Sometime later, Otto is checking on Mosaic’s latest transplant. He tells him that they’ll need a few days before the bandages can come off. He mentions how he doesn’t like the way that Special Nurse Fritz is acting suspicious. He leans in close to tickle his creation’s face with his 70’s ‘stache and whispers that when he gives the word, he expects Mosaic to kill the meddler.

He almost looks like he’s going to plant a kiss on him [I'm suddenly seeing some truly disturbing slash-fic].


Commentary: And of course, this is going to present a problem since Fritz didn’t act all that suspicious at all. It seems rather clumsy to go around killing off staff at the clinic when Frankenstein should be avoiding scrutiny as much as possible. There isn’t anything wrong with answering inquiries into the eventual investigation into Schwarz’ disappearance with the fact he never saw the professor. Nobody could prove anything different and Fritz not only wasn’t acting suspicious of Frankenstein, but he has nothing to prove that Otto is lying -- even if he suddenly thought he was.

It feels clumsy to target another member of the clinic’s staff on top of the robbery and now the clinic’s founder’s disappearance/murder while he’s trying to keep his activities so secretive. I’m just not sure I can buy this 100%.



Scene 42: At home, Sonia is reading.  She starts to turn into bed. Despite sleeping alone, she chooses to dress in a see through, sheer negligee. This must be several nights after Otto’s surgery because he’s stalking outside of her window, checking out her rack and bush while she was crawling into bed.


Scene 43: At the same time, somebody is in the morgue by flashlight, where cadavers still aren’t kept in refrigeration. It’s Karl, checking out naked dead boobies. He also takes a look at a headless corpse. What he thinks he’s going to find lying around on the gurneys isn’t explained to us.

Whatever he was looking for, he finds nothing and proceeds to wander the basement corridors. He finds Otto Frankenstein’s office.


Scene 44: Meanwhile, Fritz is watching over a patient ward and doing crossword puzzles. We see Mosaic, back from his perving, stalking up on him. He clamps a rag of something over Fritz as he struggles to breathe until he stops moving.


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Scene 45: While this is occurring, Karl is still looking around. He manages to find the cassette of the doctor’s experiment recordings because Otto didn’t leave that shit in the secret hidden lab, where it clearly belongs.


Commentary: Oh, c’mon! Otto is smart enough to have a Frankenstein’s Monster but isn’t wise enough not to leave secret tapes of his illegal and murderous activities somewhere more secure than his unlocked, publicly accessible office desk drawer??

Oh, man… don’t fall apart now movie, you were doing well with keeping me entertained.



Scene 46: Outside the clinic, Chief Inspector and his detectives have arrived and are looking for the now missing Fritz whose disappearance has been reported. Karl, already being there, comes up behind the Inspector to find out what’s going on. The Chief is a bit annoyed by Karl already being there, but tells him. Karl reports that Fritz is the one who pointed out the formaldehyde connection from the Professor’s office break in.

It turns out that a patient had awoken while Fritz was being dragged off and they found a rag soaked in ether where he’d been working. The patient described a large brute of a man as the abductor. The Inspector also shares that Professor Schwarz’ current location is also unknown.

Karl tells the Inspector to follow him. He wants the Chief to come with him to the home of the pathologist, Otto Frankenstein. The Chief does so without bothering to tell his men.


Commentary: Uh… I don’t know what happened with this scene, but John Richardson’s acting took a sudden nose dive. He sounds like he’s sleepwalking, and it looks like he’s having trouble keeping his eyes open. His voice is in monotone at a point where he should be insistent and convincing. It’s odd, because he’s been alright up until this specific scene. I can’t believe that there wasn’t another take done with more energy in his delivery.


Scene 47: At Frankenstein’s, Sonia once again answers the door, as her uncle isn’t home. She’s in her robe. She invites the gentleman in to wait for his return.


Commentary: And apparently, Sonia is not only a light sleeper, but she’s also an Olympic level sprinter to have gotten her robe on and to the door in as little time as she takes. I’m surprised that she isn’t out of breath.


Scene 48: Meanwhile, Otto is again at the clinic where he practically lives. He’s in the secret lab where poor Fritz is having his blood drained for a transfusion from he to Mosaic. Otto assures his creation that everything is going well.


Scene 49: Later, Otto shows up at home to find the Chief Inspector and the Reporter waiting for him with Sonia. He’s informed of the disappearances of both Fritz and the Professor. He claims that he’s been so busy that he hadn’t heard the commotion at work. He claims not to have seen either man that day.

Our two investigators leave it at that.


Scene 50: Once outside, Karl tells the inspector that Otto was lying when he claimed to have been at work every night, as that very night he was snooping in his office and the man wasn’t there. He describes his activities as following up on a nonspecific hunch and reports that not only wasn’t Otto in his office, but he also wasn’t anywhere near the stiff room where he would be if he’d been working as he claims.

Chief Inspector asks what he’s driving at [which seems pretty clear -- Otto Frankenstein lied about his whereabouts and that’s suspicious -- look into him, idiot] but Karl says he doesn’t know exactly what he’s saying yet but he wants to look into something. He rushes off leaving Chief Inspector standing there with deep thoughts.


Scene 51: Later, a tape recorder is playing the tape of Otto discussing transplanting fingers from two different donors onto the same test subject. Karl realizes that Frankenstein has made a new man out of the bits of several others.

But even more fortuitously, Otto has recorded himself admitting to stealing the professor’s wonder-formula to Mosaic… y’know, on that tape that he left conveniently in that unsecured desk in his unsecured office in a public area of the clinic… as you would.


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Junior Reporter comes in with some proofs and Karl tells him to take a seat. He declines with a laugh, telling Karl he wants no more horror stories and scurries out. The proof is about the disappearance of Schwarz and the article put together for printing mentions the birthmark on his chest… a mark that Karl had seen on the headless corpse sitting in the clinic morgue at that very moment! He has to repeat to himself “on his chest” a few times for the synapses to connect, but then he’s on the phone to the Chief Inspector with the information. He offers to rush over.


Commentary: Well! Why do detective work when all it takes is one bit of illegal snooping and *here ya go* evidence of everything just gets tossed in your lap. Obviously this is the worst sort of scripting to tie up a mystery ever, even worse than the criminal showing up to kill the protagonist and blabbing everything. I am really not happy with this, because the film was holding my interest until this silliness and now I just feel disappointed in writer/director Mario Mancini and writer, Ferdinando De Leone for taking such an obviously lazy route. For shame, gentleman.


Scene 52: In the morgue, the Inspector and his men, along with Karl identify the corpse with the telling birth mark. Next is a trip to Otto’s unsecured office. They recognize the smell of formaldehyde in the room.


Scene 53: As the police are tearing up his office, Dr. Frankenstein is having a quiet lunch with his niece.


Commentary: Apparently, it was of utter importance that we see this. Also, it has this weirdly strained quality to their interactions with the utter silence and I’m not sure that this is the characters, rather than the actors being unclear why they’re filming this particular scene or what they’re supposed to do in relation to one another.


Scene 54: Karl finds more tapes in the desk. Meanwhile, Detective ‘Stache locates the hidden trigger for the secret lab and the police make their way inside.


Scene 55: Over at the Frankenstein house, a glass is heard breaking sounding very much like the unmistakable sound of a window. Sonia rushes out of the room to check the noise, while Otto continues picking at his plate.

Sonia shouts for her uncle and rushes back into the dining room in fright. Following her is limping Mosaic. He’s reacting with pain. Frankenstein tells Sonia to lock herself out of the dining room and leave it to him.

This sends the creation into a fit of pain-filled rage and he tosses the doctor around the dining room. Otto Frankenstein finds that Mosaic has quite the grip after he locks those beefy hands around the doctor’s throat.


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There is a sudden lull in the violence at which point the doctor reasserts control over Mosaic, telling him in no uncertain terms that he has attacked him and his home and he’ll destroy him now. Mosaic seems in some sort of trance, and cannot respond.

As Otto retreats from the dining room, Mosaic comes out of his fit and once again goes after the doctor, chasing him through the house.


Commentary: Ugh… okay…. This scene is a mess for several reasons. Let’s examine the in-universe scene to begin: It makes zero sense that Mosaic, after having spent all film skalking about would choose such a direct and noisy way of getting to Sonia. Second, without Sonia being directly endangered as she’s quickly shuttled to safety behind a locked door - her place in the story seems confused about what to do with her [I’m wondering if there will be a twist ending with her going the mad doctor route to show the Frankenstein curse happening to a new generation, but we’ll have to see -- I haven’t pre-watched this one], as the character hasn’t actually had anything to do all film. But the third thing is the big one: The way it’s filmed. There was a preponderance of SUPER-CLOSEUP on faces to emphasize moments of violence in this period of Italian produced horror, usually with a added touch of a fisheye lens. It never works to do anything but look hilarious or unfortunate depending on the quality of the face we’re getting so too close to. I’ll not discuss Mitchell’s mug, but the camera lens is too close for us to make out what exactly our two combatants are doing. Even more annoying though, is the camera operator is bouncing around in that way that is supposed to evoke us being in the middle of the fisticuffs between these two men, but again never works. This is because the camera shaking wildly obscures what is happening, but also it just makes one feel a little bit nauseous trying to see what is going on. It’s a horribly filmed sequence and isn’t giving us an benefit by trying to be arty. Finally though the titanic fight of monster vs. creator is cut short by that weird “just stop and stare” thing without any sort of explanation as to why Mosaic responded that way, and then compounds the weird by just as suddenly snapping out of it when he apparently realized that the movie’s run time isn’t over yet. They could’ve at least used Sonia in this scene, coming around from an opposite room that could’ve broken Mosaic from his sudden trance at the most unfortunate time and then had her retreat with her uncle to get her into the action, since we’ve spent so much time with her. In fact, this would’ve been a good place to kill Otto and then have Sonia have to run for safety with Mosaic on her trail, where of course she could end up at the hospital her uncle works at. At least then the scene would’ve ended with a sensible outcome and continued the story from there with Otto’s sin being visited upon his innocent niece in time for the wrap up. The way the scene is both filmed and used though just fails, and weirdly not one dish from the dining table ends up disturbed throughout the bouncing off walls and being tossed around going on which was amusing when I was analyzing the scene and why it didn’t work for me.


Scene 56: Back in the secret lab, Chief Inspector looks at Karl with a look of wonder at what they’ve found. Meanwhile, Karl is spotting the empty bottle of Schwarz’ Serum. Another detective looks into a cabinet. Finally, Chief Inspector finds the missing eyeless head of Dr. Schwarz in Otto’s refrigerator in place of where the jar of serum had been kept.

Our Detective Partner to Detective ‘Stache locates the body of poor Fritz stuffed in a closet… he’s been completely drained for Mosaic, as implied by Frankenstein. Seeing the bodies piling up, Karl suddenly worries for Sonia and rushes off for the Frankenstein household.

The police quickly follow… all of them… because crime scenes do not need to be secured.


Scene 57: Over at the house, Otto is continuing his backward, stumbling retreat from his angry and in pain creation. He leads him into the kitchen. He taunts Mosaic that he doesn’t even have to kill him, his brain is disintegrating in his skull. The doctor keeps a giant-ass meat machete on the kitchen counter, which he failed to grab. Frankenstein’s Monster doesn’t fail to notice how useful that could be.

Otto tries to convince Mosaic suddenly that he in fact can save him and will be happy to do so if he’d only stop his rampage with that lethal looking blade. He also tries the old “I made you” argument for why he should stop trying to kill him… which goes about as expected.


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[And alas, we’ve gotten more of that horrible, extreme close up to represent Mosaic’s point of view of his creator… along with orange color tint. I’m going to assume this was an attempt at red… like Mosaic’s rage and not that he actually sees the doctor’s bony features as a Jack O’Lantern head.]


He insists to his creation that he can’t kill him. We hear a short yell a moment later. No telling where Sonia got to.



TBC


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