It’s time for the next exciting instalment of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015 and believe me, this one’s a corker. Our short list is getting ever plumper and more bizarre, which makes me feel very excited about my Sundays.
This week was Jill’s choice.
NB: You know the score re: spoilers. There are some.
Frankenstein’s Army (2013)
Where to Watch:
Toward the end of World War II, Russian soldiers pushing into eastern Germany stumble across a secret Nazi lab, one that has unearthed and begun experimenting with the journal of one Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The scientists have used the legendary Frankenstein’s work to assemble an army of super-soldiers stitched together from the body parts of their fallen comrades — a desperate Hitler’s last ghastly ploy to escape defeat. (via IMDB)
The Uncondensed Version:
We start with a home video of a young solider, Dimitri, pledging his allegiance to Stalin. He and his party appear to be going on a secret mission and Dimitri claims to be proud of the fact.
Dimitri appears for most of the rest of the film as a disembodied voice from behind his camera, for he has been entrusted to record the journey for posterity. We meet the other guys through his eyes and they are a rag tag bunch if ever there was one. We are treated to a montage of sorts (love a montage) while the boys take selfies with the local villagers and generally lark about.
On the way to look for their fallen comrades, Tiger Bear 303 (or I may have misheard this), the gang find a weird looking skeleton in the ground which seems to be letting off sparks. They haven’t the time to stop to investigate so on they trot.
There’s a lot of walking and a bit of pillage when they take over a farmhouse and clear it of all it’s food and booze. Fed and sozzled they continue on their way.
They head to a little mining village, not before finding out that they can get radio transmission but that nobody can hear them back. They ponder how weird that is. They find another body, this time of a solider with his eye popping out. When Dimitri stops to have a little poke around, the body appears to spasm and scares the beejesus out of him. The Commander (or whatever his job title) suggests that he try to keep up.
The gang get to the village where they assume they will find their comrades and the first thing they find is a pile of burning nuns. They ponder who has done such a thing. They ask a nurse who is still alive on the top of the pile, who did this to her? But she is not in any fit state to answer.
They enter an abandoned church where they set up camp, but not before sweeping the perimeter, where it looks like loads of graves have been dug up, leaving the coffins within completely empty.
They find a generator to get the lights on and discover a weird human type thing in the back of the church. Covered in scars and naked, she? appears to have a weapon attached to her right arm and a helmet for a head. She also appears electrified. In the kerfuffle, she manages to rip out the Commander’s innards. The gang kill her.
The gang are sad about the Commander’s death and also starting to get worried as they still can’t reach Mother Russia or anyone else for backup. The Handsome Soldier naturally takes command but this leads to a little bit of frisson with The Horrible One. Handsome and Horrible argue but it is agreed that they must go and search the village properly.
They stumble across a man feeding rabbits in a barn and take him hostage. Horrible cuts off his fingers to get information out of him and then forces The Rabbit Guy to show him where Tiger Bear 303 are. The man leads them to the basement but is reluctant to go down with them, they force him anyway. Once down there he runs away saying that he knows nothing, he just “feeds the animals”.
The gang don’t have much time to react though as suddenly a monster with scythes for hands appears and goes for them. Then a few others turn up and they are all very glorious monsters, each with different talents. One of the soldiers gets his head squashed in an iron maiden style device, which is wrapped around a monster’s head. They all manage to get away and back to upstairs to the church.
Squashed Head is in a bad way. Handsome and Horrible squabble about whose fault it is. Handsome gets philosophical and asks Dimitri, as an educated man, what he thinks is going on. Dimitri says he things it’s the Nazis working on a secret weapon. Handsome says it’s insane. Dimitri argues that it might be brilliant. They agree to move in the morning.
Later on some villagers stumble in; an old man, a woman and a child. They have been hiding all this time. The soldiers ask them where the Russians are. They don’t know. They ask them how many more monsters there are. They answer with: “They just keep making more”. Ominous.
Horrible wants to kill them all and keep the girl for his own means but she says she can help Squashed Head. She is a nurse or something of that nature. Handsome says she can live if she can help their friend. She tries to get his helmet off but rips out his brain instead. I hate when than happens, don’t you?
Horrible beats her up and while Handsome is, rather halfheartedly, telling him to stop, one of the other soldiers, Long Hair, gets carved up by a rather beautiful looking beast, who swoops in behind him. He has a long beak for a face and claws. Some of the others gets killed by more monsters, most of them much less pretty that Bird Face.
Lots of shooting occurs. Handsome, Horrible, Dimitri and the Young One get away. Handsome uncovers the fact that Dimitri has been deliberately blocking the signal which is why they can’t contact Mother Russia. They also find out that there was never a Tiger Bear 303 fleet and that they are basically in this town for nothing.
They ask him why he’s tricked them? He tells them that they are there to capture the Doctor (Frankenstein). The others ask what the glorious Motherland wants the Doctor for. Dimitri tells them that they can’t go anywhere and if they do he will have their families killed. It turns out that Dimitri is a superior officer so they’re supposed to take orders from him.
They head further down into the bowels of the building looking for the Doctor. Handsome claims that this is just suicide (which it is). Dimitri insists that they capture or kill the Doc, but preferably capture as he is needed alive. They meet some more monsters. One with a helicopter for a face pops up.
The soldiers turn on Dimitri and throw him down a mystery hatch with his camera. They run away, leaving him. Dimitri has to follow a three eyed monster who mistakenly takes his bag of film from this expedition, while he is running about he encounters many other glorious beasts and we get to see more of the set up. Along the way he stops and makes a video to his parents, revealing that they have been captured and held in exchange for the Doctor. He tell them he loves them and that he doesn’t think the deal will be happening now.
He then stumbles into a laboratory which appears to be Frankenstein’s. Inside is a woman’s head spliced to a teddy bears body and lots of other odds and sods.
Dimitri ends up being captured by the Doctor who is impressed with the camera and asks him to record his experiments, again for posterity. Dimitri goes along with it. Frankenstein seems like a nice man, regaling Dimitri with how he came to be doing what he’s doing.
Dimitri tries to get Frankenstein to come over to the Motherland, and work for the Russians. Frankenstein says he will consider it. But first he conducts a major experiment which involves splicing a Nazi brain with a Communist’s so that each may have an understanding of the other. Frankenstein reveals that he has captured both Handsome and Horrible, and they are both alive for the experiment. Frankenstein asks Dimitri to pick which one is the better Communist.
Frankenstein splices Handsome and the Nazi’s brains together, with the help of a rather hot Zombie nurse but the experiment doesn’t really work. There’s loads of action outside suggesting that the cavalry are here and Dimitri suggests that they get out. Frankenstein tells him that he will have to decline his kind offer (of going to work for the Motherland) but has time for one last experiment. He wants to splice Dimitri with his camera, for shits and gigs.
Before he can do so, a bomb goes off and Frank says he must skidaddle. He tells Dimitri good luck with the monsters, who only take direction from the Doctor. As he is leaving, Frankenstein is shot by the young soldier who has survived after all and Dimitri thinks he is saved, but Young One doesn’t rescue him, basically because Dimitri is a bit of a bastard.
Dimitri is attacked and killed by Handsome, who is stumbling around after his Nazi/Communist lobotomy.
I enjoyed this a lot more that I expected to. It’s very gory in a Peter Jackson’s Braindead sort of way which always leaves me feeling a little bit queasy, I think it’s the redness of the blood. I wanted Dimitri to get out in the end, to be honest, despite his double crossing nature and I like the imaginative monsters.
All in all it was a good romp and a pretty solid B-movie. Recommended if you like this sort of thing.
3.5 grumpy monsters out of 5
Head over to Jillian’s for her view soon!
All images via Google.