Frankenstein ’80 (Mario Mancini, 1980)

posted in: Jocelyn, Review | 0

A sleazy Italian exploitation based (albeit loosely) on Mary Shelley’s classic tale. This Frankenstein rapes! What more could you want?!

I know, I know. Here we go again. Here comes Nom with her biased bullshit about how amazing shitty Italian flicks are and how we should all love and appreciate them as much as she does and OMFG there’s sleazy rape and titties mixed with ample violence set to deliciously absurd dialogue, so everybody better drop what they’re doing and listen up cause now she’s gonna wax philosophical.
Yep, pretty much.

Frankenstein ’80 is a film that you will either immediately love or hate, I suppose there isn’t much wiggle room on that. We all know the type of film I’m talking about here; the ones that are so spectacularly awful yet simultaneously engrossing , the ones that excite something deep within those of us who dare venture beyond the pale. I know that many of our readers are fans of the psychotronic and it is, of course, to you that I am speaking. If you haven’t given Frankenstein ’80 a shot yet, I’m giving you fair warning that you need to rectify the situation sooner than later. Not only is the film a virtual cavalcade of Italian genre celebrity but if you open yourself up to the experience, it will tickle you in ways that only a quality trash film can.


Dr. Frankenstein (played by Gordon Mitchell; well recognized from his long history in a variety of films from sword/sandal to spaghetti westerns to a variety of exploitation/horror films) used to be a well-respected surgeon until a woman of import died under his care. He’s since been banished to working a menial position but that hasn’t stopped him from dinking around and creating a new life form. The only problem he has now is that his creation keeps rejecting various organs.

Enter Dr. Schwarz who just so happens to have recently created none other than the (you guessed it!) ‘Schwarz Serum’ which he hopes will revolutionize transplants by disallowingtissue rejection. Unfortunately, the serum is stolen before the doctor can save the life of a reporter’s sister who is in dire need of a heart transplant. I wonder who would do such a thing? I wonder if that pesky reporter will get involved? I wonder why the doctor doesn’t have the recipe to his own serum to make a new batch?!

In typical Italian fashion the hows and whys aren’t nearly as important as the journey, so it’s best to acknowledge the sillies for what they are and just sit back and enjoy the ride. Karl Schein (John Richardson; Torso, Eyeball, Black Sunday) is the reporter hot on the case of the stolen serum, after all, it could’ve saved his sister’s life. As that mystery unfolds we find out that not only is there a thieving cocksucker on the loose but there is also some kind of monster who seems to be pretty dedicated to killing women. The detectives hunting the murderer provide a certain amount of comic relief as they bumble about trying to make sense of the killings and their Inspector (Renato Romano; The Bird with the Crystal Plumage; Seven Blood-Stained Orchids; Death Laid an Egg) plays the classic role of the continually outraged and over-stressed boss who delights us with his ravings.


Glossing over things so as to not ruin the meat of it for you, we get to bear witness to many a murder and even a handful of groping, titty-exposed rapes at the mismatched hands of the monster. (Xiros Papas; SS Hell Camp aka The Beast in Heat, The Devil’s Wedding Night, Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks) And it gets better! We have a Dr. Frankenstein who knows that his creation is raping and murdering women and what does he do? He hooks him up with testicular surgery that will increase his sexual appetite! Fuck yea! This is the Frankenstein that I always *knew* could be made!

At this point there are basically two types of people who are still reading this review. The first type knows full well what I’m talking about because they’ve seen the movie and they can appreciate it – the second type’s mind is overflowing with the possibilities of what they will see when they finally sit down with the film – and sit down they will, because this all just sounds too god damned good to be true. And it is for the most part.
Overall I think it could have used some minor adjustments to the pacing and as always seems to be the case with me; it could have benefited from being a bit more graphic in both sex and violence. But the bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with a sleazy Italian Frankenstein flick where the monster is a rapist. This is the kind of A1, quality trash that makes me thank God every day that I was fortunate enough to be born in this skin, with this head.Loosen up! Live a little! Try life on the other side of the tracks for once!
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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