Frankenhooker (1990)

R | 90 mins | Horror, Black comedy | 1 June 1990

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HISTORY

       Several sources, including the 23 Oct 1988 LAT, announced that Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment was “distributing” a film called Frankenhooker, but the 21 Oct 1988 DV explained that it was simply being “offered for presales, along with another project by director Frank Henenlotter called Basket Case #2. Neither film had gone into production at that time. According to the 29 Aug 1989 HR, principal photography for Frankenhooker began 19 Jun 1989 in New York City. Henenlotter shot both films within a twelve-week period, the 15 Jun 1990 Newsday reported.
       Frankenhooker was originally screened unrated at the Houston International Film Festival in Texas, the 30 Apr 1990 DV reported, but when the film opened in Los Angeles, CA, on 1 Jun 1990 and in New York City fifteen days later, the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) had assigned it an X-rating, which limited the number of available venues and advertisers. The MPAA objected to the film’s “gore, drugs, sensuality, language.” According to the 28 Jun 1990 HR, producer James Glickenhaus challenged the MPAA’s verdict, along with its “methodology and judgment.” Disturbed that one board member facetiously rated Frankenhooker “S for s—t,” Glickenhaus demanded a second review. After losing the appeal in late Jul 1990, he announced that he would release the film with a self-supplied “A” rating—for “adult,” the 26 Jul 1990 LAT reported. At the time, the film was already playing in twenty American cities, mostly in “art houses” and at “midnight” screenings. Following several cuts, the MPAA eventually granted Frankenhooker an ... More Less

       Several sources, including the 23 Oct 1988 LAT, announced that Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment was “distributing” a film called Frankenhooker, but the 21 Oct 1988 DV explained that it was simply being “offered for presales, along with another project by director Frank Henenlotter called Basket Case #2. Neither film had gone into production at that time. According to the 29 Aug 1989 HR, principal photography for Frankenhooker began 19 Jun 1989 in New York City. Henenlotter shot both films within a twelve-week period, the 15 Jun 1990 Newsday reported.
       Frankenhooker was originally screened unrated at the Houston International Film Festival in Texas, the 30 Apr 1990 DV reported, but when the film opened in Los Angeles, CA, on 1 Jun 1990 and in New York City fifteen days later, the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) had assigned it an X-rating, which limited the number of available venues and advertisers. The MPAA objected to the film’s “gore, drugs, sensuality, language.” According to the 28 Jun 1990 HR, producer James Glickenhaus challenged the MPAA’s verdict, along with its “methodology and judgment.” Disturbed that one board member facetiously rated Frankenhooker “S for s—t,” Glickenhaus demanded a second review. After losing the appeal in late Jul 1990, he announced that he would release the film with a self-supplied “A” rating—for “adult,” the 26 Jul 1990 LAT reported. At the time, the film was already playing in twenty American cities, mostly in “art houses” and at “midnight” screenings. Following several cuts, the MPAA eventually granted Frankenhooker an R-rating.
      End credits offer the following: “Thanks to: Ben Dovers Bar; F & M Plumbing; Frito Lay; Patrissy’s; Pepsi Co.; Revelli Construction; Jorge Amador; Dennis Abato; Jeremy Koch; Martie Pike; Dan Sandberg; John Sinatra. Special thanks to: City of New York Mayor’s Office for Film & Television; City of New York Tactical Police Force; New York State Film Commission; New Jersey State Film Commission; Liberty State Park; Con Edison Manhattan Public Affairs.” Other information includes: “The stunts performed in this motion picture are highly dangerous and have been performed by skilled stunt people, utilizing proper safety equipment. They should not be attempted by any member of the audience.” Also, “No animals or people were killed or injured in the making of this movie.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Oct 1988
p. 8.
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1990
p. 2, 12.
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1990
p. 16.
Daily Variety
27 Nov 1990
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1990
p. 5, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1990
p. 3, 53.
Los Angeles Times
23 Oct 1988
Calendar, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
1 Jun 1990
Section F, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jul 1990
Section F, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 1990
Orange County, p. 17.
New York Times
15 Jun 1990
p. 8.
Newsday (Long Island, NY)
15 Jun 1990.
---
Orlando Sentinel (Florida)
27 Apr 1990
Calendar, p. 9.
Variety
2 May 1990
p. 286.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment Presents
An Ievins/Henenlotter Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st ass cam
Addl 1st asst
2d asst cam
Still photog
Video eng
Addl photog
Addl photog
Best boy
3rd elec
Addl elec
Addl elec
Key grip
2d grip
Addl grip
Cam & lenses
Addl cam equip
Addl cam equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Graphic art
Art dept P.A.
Art dept P.A.
Art dept P.A.
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutters
SET DECORATORS
Const supv
Asst const supv
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst props
Electronic props
Electronic props
Mechanical props
Spec props
Spec prop asst
High voltage props
Addl swing person
Addl swing person
Master scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Studio mgr
Head carpenter
Structural carpenter
Structural carpenter
Structural carpenter
Structural carpenter
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Asst ward supv
Addl ward
Spec eff ward
MUSIC
Creative asst to comp
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Re rec engr
Sd mixer
Boom op
Prod sd equip
Post prod audio services
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
Animatronics supv
Spec eff mechanics
Spec eff mechanics
Pyrotechnics supv
Pyrotechnics asst
Titles and visual eff prod at
Opt layout, The Light and Motion Corporation
Opt printing, The Light and Motion Corporation
Processing tech, The Light and Motion Corporation
Tech consultant, The Light and Motion Corporation
MAKEUP
Spec make-up eff
Make up artist
Hair stylist
1st asst, Spec make up eff crew
Spec eff asst, Spec make up eff crew
Spec eff asst, Spec make up eff crew
Spec eff asst, Spec make up eff crew
Spec eff asst, Spec make up eff crew
Spec eff asst, Spec make up eff crew
Spec eff asst, Spec make up eff crew
Spec eff asst, Spec make up eff crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Asst prod exec
Asst prod exec
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Prod office coord
Prod auditor
Asst office coord
Transportation capt
Prod driver
Prod driver
Prod driver
Loc scout
Loc scout
Loc scout
Office asst
Craft services
Craft services
Craft services
Craft services
Parking coord
Transportation P.A.
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Intern
Loc equip
Cam car by
New York cam car driver
Prod insurance
Payroll services
Admin supv, The Light and Motion Corporation
Admin asst, The Light and Motion Corporation
Business affairs, The Light and Motion Corporation
Dailies supv
Post prod lab supv
ANIMATION
Anim cam op, The Light and Motion Corporation
Rotoscope asst, The Light and Motion Corporation
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Never Say No," written by Roger Greenawalt and Clifford Lane, performed by Roger Greenawalt and Clifford Lane
"Pandora's Box," written by Roger Greenawalt and Clifford Lane, performed by Roger Greenawalt and Clifford Lane
"Love Handgrenade," written by Roger Greenawalt and Clifford Lane, performed by Roger Greenawalt and Clifford Lane.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 June 1990
Premiere Information:
Premiered Houston International Film Festival: 28 April 1990
Los Angeles opening: 1 June 1990
New York opening: 15 June 1990
Production Date:
began 19 June 1989
Copyright Claimant:
1989 SGE Entertainment Corporation
Copyright Date:
12 July 1990
Copyright Number:
PA483563
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At a backyard barbecue birthday party for her father in Hohokus, New Jersey, plump Elizabeth Shelley confesses to her friend, Dolores, that she allowed her fiancé, “bio-electro technician” and medical school drop-out Jeffrey Franken, to staple her stomach in a failed attempt to lose weight. Jeffrey, who works at the New Jersey Gas & Electric power plant to pay for his scientific experiments, sits in the Shelley kitchen testing a living human brain bathed in electrified nutrients. Elizabeth’s mother convinces Jeffrey to join the party for the unveiling of the remote-controlled lawn mower he built for Mr. Shelley. However, the demonstration goes wrong and Jeffrey’s mower chops Elizabeth into what a newscaster later calls a “tossed human salad.” In the grizzly aftermath, Jeffrey steals Elizabeth’s head, a foot, and a hand, the only parts left intact. He hides them in his garage laboratory freezer, preserved in a special “estrogen-based blood serum.” Weeks later, Jeffrey’s mother implores him to rejoin the world and find another girlfriend, but he admits that he has become antisocial. Jeffrey makes plans to rebuild Elizabeth and resuscitate her by stealing 6,000 volts of electricity from the power plant, but he fears the power surge will cause a statewide “brown-out.” The solution to his problem comes when television weatherman and horror movie host Zacherle announces that a major electrical storm will arrive in two days. Jeffrey decides “someone will have to die to make [Elizabeth] live.” Determined to make her more perfect, with a great body, he drives across the river to New York City’s Time Square to gather the best-looking street prostitutes. Using the ruse that he is giving a bachelor party, Jeffrey bargains with ... +


At a backyard barbecue birthday party for her father in Hohokus, New Jersey, plump Elizabeth Shelley confesses to her friend, Dolores, that she allowed her fiancé, “bio-electro technician” and medical school drop-out Jeffrey Franken, to staple her stomach in a failed attempt to lose weight. Jeffrey, who works at the New Jersey Gas & Electric power plant to pay for his scientific experiments, sits in the Shelley kitchen testing a living human brain bathed in electrified nutrients. Elizabeth’s mother convinces Jeffrey to join the party for the unveiling of the remote-controlled lawn mower he built for Mr. Shelley. However, the demonstration goes wrong and Jeffrey’s mower chops Elizabeth into what a newscaster later calls a “tossed human salad.” In the grizzly aftermath, Jeffrey steals Elizabeth’s head, a foot, and a hand, the only parts left intact. He hides them in his garage laboratory freezer, preserved in a special “estrogen-based blood serum.” Weeks later, Jeffrey’s mother implores him to rejoin the world and find another girlfriend, but he admits that he has become antisocial. Jeffrey makes plans to rebuild Elizabeth and resuscitate her by stealing 6,000 volts of electricity from the power plant, but he fears the power surge will cause a statewide “brown-out.” The solution to his problem comes when television weatherman and horror movie host Zacherle announces that a major electrical storm will arrive in two days. Jeffrey decides “someone will have to die to make [Elizabeth] live.” Determined to make her more perfect, with a great body, he drives across the river to New York City’s Time Square to gather the best-looking street prostitutes. Using the ruse that he is giving a bachelor party, Jeffrey bargains with “Zorro,” a pimp, to let him measure the bodies of his prettiest women. He also purchases from Zorro a plastic bag of “crack" cocaine, the drug of choice for prostitutes. Taking the crack back to his lab, Jeffrey adds a few ingredients to turn it into “super crack,” which he uses the following night to attract Zorro’s hookers. However, when a street prostitute, Honey, lures Jeffrey into a Times Square hotel room, she and eight other women overpower him, steal his super crack, and smoke it. The potent chemical makes them explode into pieces. As Zorro arrives in response to the noise, one prostitute’s flying head knocks him unconscious. Jeffrey gathers body parts in several plastic bags and takes them to his New Jersey garage lab, where he chooses the best-looking parts and stores the rest in blood serum. Jeffrey rebuilds Elizabeth, and when the storm arrives, he opens the skylight and sends her body aloft with special electrical equipment to attract enough voltage to animate it. However, lightning electrifies not only Elizabeth, but the blood serum in the freezer, altering the DNA of the body parts. When Jeffrey lowers Elizabeth back into the lab, she is alive, but has Honey’s mind, and everything she utters is a repetition of what Honey said the night before. When Jeffrey tells her he has no money, she knocks him unconscious, stumbles out of the garage, and takes the subway into New York. She frightens other riders with her crazed, stitched-together appearance, including the forearm of a black woman. Back home on her own turf, Honey’s brain directs Elizabeth to pick up a “john” and take him to a room, but during sex she electrifies her customer and causes him to explode. Elizabeth/Honey goes to a local bar where Zorro hangs out, and as she repeats dialogue from the night before, Zorro wonders who she is, especially since she wears a “Z” tattoo that signifies she is one of his stable of women. When he hits her, Zorro knocks Elizabeth’s head loose, and it hangs from the back of her neck, sending electrical sparks in the air and frightening everyone out of the bar. Jeffrey arrives, flips Elizabeth’s head back on top of her neck, and leads her out to his car, but Zorro follows them in a taxi. In his laboratory, Jeffrey sews Elizabeth’s head back on and adds several clamps in front so she will not lose it again. After he shoots electricity through the bolts in her neck, Elizabeth’s mind regains control, and she is shocked to find that her body is made of other women’s parts. Zorro sneaks into the lab and chops Jeffrey’s head off. He grabs Elizabeth, but the body parts in the freezer erupt. The freezer turns on its side, letting them slide onto the floor. The blood serum has mutated them, and breasts, feet, and hands grow out of heads. They drag Zorro into the freezer and kill him. Elizabeth picks up Jeffrey’s head and cradles it. Later, Jeffrey awakens to find himself on a vertical slab. Elizabeth explains that she used his well-detailed notebooks to rebuild him with spare body parts, but since his estrogen-based serum was good only for female parts, she rebuilt him as a woman. As she announces, “We’re together again,” Jeffrey looks down at his patched-together female body and screams. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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