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Frankenstein Unbound Review

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John Hurt, a 21st century scientist, is zapped by a timewarp and dumped, along with his ingratiating supercar, in 19th century Switzerland where, on one side of Lake Geneva, Mary Shelley (Fonda) is hanging out with Byron (Jason Patric) and Shelley (Michael Hutchence of INXS) in a camp menage that might charitably be seen as a parody of Ken Russell's Gothic. On the other side, meanwhile, the plot of Mary's novel Frankenstein is being played out with Raul Julia's obsessive scientist trying to cove

Back in the 50s and 60s, Roger Corman was the undisputed king of lively exploitation, churning out cultish teen, horror and science fiction pictures at the rate of about one a week. In the early 70s, however, he became a producer and distributor and stopped directing, as if making more than 60 films in 15 years had used up all possible entries in his filmography.

Now, 20 years after Von Richtofen And Brown (his previous film as a director), the master shit back with a philosophical time-travel horror fantasy adapted from Brian Aldiss' playful novel. Given that Aldiss' novel is at least partly a comedy, it's fair to assume that the plentiful laughs here are mainly intended, although Corman's old penury does show up in some cheapskate effects and a few too many "symbolic" dream sequences out of his early 60s Edgar Allan Poe movies.

An old-fashioned film set beside David Cronenberg's more mind-stretching variations on the Frankenstein theme, but given such shelfmates as Frankenhooker and Re-Animator 2, Gorman here more than holds his own as a 90s horrormeister.

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