‘More gore than ever before… in a fear-filled flesh rending freakout’
Frankenstein ’80 is a 1972 Italian horror feature film directed by Mario Mancini (cinematographer for The French Sex Murders; Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks; The Girl in Room 2a) from a screenplay co-written with Ferdinando De Leone. It stars John Richardson, Gordon Mitchell and Renato Romano.
Frankenstein ’80 is vaguely reminiscent of Night of the Bloody Apes, in that it uses real surgical footage and is packed with incoherent, mouth-flapping dubbed dialogue. Sadly, that’s where the similarities end.
While Night… uses these elements as part of a ludicrously entertaining whole, Frankenstein ’80 fails to capitalise on its inherent trashiness and instead becomes a disappointingly dull experience.
John Richardson plays Karl, a reporter who teams up with a perpetually shouty police chief (whose dialogue seems to be a random selection of words chosen because they vaguely fit the mouth movements) to investigate a series of murders and medical supply thefts that seem somehow linked. The culprit turns out to be Dr Otto Frankenstein (Eurotrash regular Gordon Mitchell), who has created a monster known as Mosaic (or Mosaico) – a heavily scarred and constantly horny character who keeps escaping to attack and molest women when not being sent out on murderous missions by the bad doctor.
Mosaic seems to be a work in progress, constantly being upgraded by Frankenstein on the few occasions that he isn’t out attacking women (in one ludicrous moment, he visits a prostitute and pays her before killing her, only for Frankenstein to turn up – apparently, there is only one hooker flat in the whole city, making him easy to find– and berate him for both the killing and the theft).
Frankenstein ’80 sounds fun when described, but in truth, it’s a curiously plodding affair, despite gratuitous nudity and some splashy gore. Mario Mancini seems to have picked up on the need for sleaze that powered the work of many of his contemporaries, but the film is terribly paced, with long plodding sequences full of nonsensical dialogue padding out the action. The dubbing is shocking and seems at times to be trying to inject clumsy humour into scenes that are otherwise played entirely straight-faced.
If you want a sleazy early Seventies Frankenstein film, there are plenty to choose from: Lady Frankenstein, Flesh for Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks, The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein and more, all superior to this. Frankenstein ’80 really should be your last resort, and it’s no surprise that it remains one of the more obscure Italian horror movies of the decade.
David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA
“Despite a repetitious pace and poor cinematography (which sometimes renders the action incomprehensible), Frankenstein ’80 never gets boring and manages to outrage consistently throughout its screen time. Hoary clichés like stolen formulas and secret labs crowd the narrative, and the man-made creature is a hulking, skin-headed thug covered in juicy scars with a healthy sex drive thanks to his creator’s thoughtful addition of fully functioning reproductive organs…” Fred Beldin, Allmovie.com
“Though made at the height of the Euro-gore boom, this is a bottom of the barrel Italian production with funky music and lots of blood, including some real surgical footage. Too slowly paced for the shocks to take effect. However, the monster is still more imposing than DeNiro’s.” Videohound’s Complete Guide to Cult Flicks and Trash Pics
Cast and characters:
- John Richardson … Karl Schein – Black Sunday, Murder Obsession, The Church
- Gordon Mitchell … Doctor Otto Frankenstein – Evil Spawn; Blood Delirium
- Renato Romano … Inspector Schneider – The Bird with the Crystal Plumage; The Fifth Cord; Seven Blood-Stained Orchids
- Xiro Papas … Mosaic – the Frankenstein Monster – The Devil’s Wedding Night
- Dalila Di Lazzaro … Sonia – Flesh for Frankenstein; The Pyjama Girl Case; Phenomena
- Roberto Fizz … Professor Schwarz
- Dada Gallotti … Butcher
- Marisa Traversi … Second Prostitute
- Lemmy Carson … Head Nurse
- Marco Mariani … Track Spectator
- Luigi Bonos … Hobo
- Enrico Rossi … First Investigator
- Fulvio Mingozzi … Second Investigator
- Umberto Amambrini … Vice Straus
- Luigi Antonio Guerra … Agent