by Adam McCabe
I wanted to hate this movie. I wanted to hate it with every fiber of my gore-loving soul. Don't get me wrong, Frankenstein's Army is still pretty bad in comparison to the greats, but just like most horror films, bad films aren't really bad---they just become comedies. Get what I'm saying?
The premise is stupid and awesome: What if Dr. Frankenstein created an underground laboratory where he animated chopped-up corpses of Russians and Nazis during World War II, creating a super army to fight against and (somehow) unite both sides? If you are currently cackling and spouting things like "oh my camp-tastic Christballs"...this movie might still be for you. The icing on the shit-sundae, you might ask? It's a found footage film. Yes. Meaning these soldiers are walking around in the war-torn 1940's with a working camera that records audio. How? Screw you, pal! They write it off in one sentence. It's hilaribad.
To the film's credit, it's very apparent that all of the love in this movie went towards meticulously crafting the insane costumes and prosthetics that make up Frankenstein's harem of nasty monsters. If something out of a Silent Hill game mated with any hulking mass Godzilla has ever fought, you might barely scratch the surface of just how ridiculously over-the-top these creatures are. Seeing what new bombastic concoction this movie dreams up next is part of the fun. Kind of the way you watched Labyrinth when you were a kid, but with a lot more severed limbs and a lot less Bowie-package. Oh, and Nazis. A guy on stilts with a drill for a nose? Sure! Another guy with clamps for hands? Who cares! It's not until I laid eyes on these abominations that I realized the one critical goal this movie may have set out to accomplish from the get-go: completely make fun of (and possibly parody) every horror subgenre possible. Unfortunately, the terrible script doesn't necessarily push it far enough to warrant any sort of recognition of this potential goal, and ultimately falls a bit flat on its own wide-eyed stupidness. It's like a poor-man's Pacific Rim...with nazis. Did I mention there are Nazis? Ok, it's nothing like Pacific Rim.
Now, I'll probably watch this film again. But now I know what breed of alcohol, friends, and other delicacies of a distracting party nature to bring for the second viewing. At a glance, it seems that this movie is gaining praise by critics for its mind-numbingly campy nature. But with modern classics like Cabin in the Woods staying true to the horror genre while intelligently (and confidently) picking apart/parodying it's respective sub genre, Frankenstein's Army just feels forced and stupid-silly. Like that kid at a party who demands so much attention, that nobody really wants to hang out with him. Sure, the kid has some redeeming qualities...but ultimately comes across looking like a douche bag.
That being said, I still kind of liked it. Kind of. Weird, right? Horror is weird.