Lumbering out of the Locker today in time for All Hallows Eve is the 1973 schlock-fest, Blackenstein. This blacksploitation-genre offering comes to us starring John Hart (of the old Lone Ranger series), Ivory Stone as Dr. Winifred Walker and Joe De Sue as The Beaver.. no.. as Eddie Turner, the poor victim-turned-monster. I wouldn't get too worked up about seeing if the latter two starred in anything else.. because they didn't.
The most discerning monsters have a logo! Not the "golden arches" but it will do!
Watch Blackenstein HERE on Youtube or catch it on Netflix
Poor Eddie Turner! He went to Vietnam to help defend his country and had his arms and legs blown off by a landmine. His fiance, the good doctor physicist Winifred Walker goes to see her former college professor, Dr. Stein (the spinning sound that you hear is Mary Shelly doing 360's in her grave). Dr. Stein has won the Nobel Peace Prize for “cracking the genetic code.” (that other series of spinning sounds are Watson and Crick doing the same 360's) In his rather nice palatial Californian castle/hospital/laboratory, he has a couple of patients and decides to take on poor Eddie Turner as a patient for a complete limb transplant. He does the quadruple limb transplant with initial success. Unfortunately, the Igor stand-in Malcolm, has designs on the good Dr. Walker and with a now complete Eddie, his chances of some sweet franken-lovin are slowly dwindling. So, he sabotages Eddies rejuvenating limb-juice. Eddie slowly degenerates into a monster and goes roaming about the land on killing sprees: ripping off people's appendages and developing some odd affinity for women's intestines. This was pretty gory for the early 70's! The dogs played SUCH AN INTEGRAL part of the story that they are heavily featured on the movie poster!!!
You know.. JUST IN CASE you were wondering! JUST IN CASE it wasn't painfully obvious!!
I DIDN'T flunk biology! Those are arms and legs!! Weren't his arms and legs blown off by a landmine?
Poor Eddie. I keep saying that because the guy was just pitiful! First he gets all his bits blown off then he gets his new limb-juice sabotaged by the Igor wannabe. The guy playing Eddie, Joe De Sue wasn't an actor and WHOOO-BOY does it show. He delivers his lines with all the style and panache of wet cardboard. The directing and editing take hits here too as both were horrible but all of that pales to the script, or lack thereof. For example, in one scene after Eddie degenerates into a monster, Malcolm is serving the doctors breakfast and there is clearly tension at the breakfast table. Dr. Stein tells Dr. Walker that he wants to see her in the lab, “RIGHT NOW!” Cut to a scene of them doing busy work in the lab. DID WE MISS SOMETHING? What the hell?
The music score was pretty funny too. It was clearly lifted from another movie, possibly another an older sci-fi or horror movie but there are these crescendos at odd times and it doesn't match up at all with whats going on in the movie. Example: When Dr. Walker shows up to see Dr. Stein, Malcolm shows her into a foyer where she has a seat and looks around. Normal behavior, expected, and completely not warranting the HUGELY dramatic music that is playing and building to a crescendo. There were several instances of that kinda thing. It was hilariously obvious and it was also obvious that there was no direction to try to work around the mismatch of acting and score.
A bit later, Eddie shows up from the VA in an ambulance to Dr. Stein's place. The ambulance attendants are clearly seen pulling the gurney out of the old style ambulance. NOW REMEMBER.. Eddie has had his arms and legs blown off by a landmine but you can CLEARLY see the mannequin's arms and legs on the stretcher. I know it wasn't De Sue because it wasn't a big enough person. It's either a huge mistake in directing or we are supposed to believe that the ambulance attendants felt so bad for Eddie that they used blankets and pillows and fashioned fake arms and legs to put under the covers to make Eddie feel better?
So, Eddie gets his arms and legs up and about and has the cognitive function to sneak out of the castle at night, unseen, what does he do? He goes to visit the VA where an orderly was a jerk to him. Now, “I” understand monster physics but unless the VA is ON DR. STEIN'S PROPERTY, I don't see how the monster “shambled and shuffled” his way, sight unseen, to the VA, got in, found the orderly (conveniently alone), killed him, left, and went back to his cell at the castle.. ALL without being seen or heard. Oh, he dispatched a few others on the way back..again.. unseen!
After having slogged his way from Casa De Stein to the VA, he took the time to buff his shoes. Don't wanna go off on a murderous rampage looking all uncivilized!
As a side note, it was REALLY nice of the Doctors to dress the quadraplegic, freshly re-appendaged Eddie in a nice turtle neck, suit, and Sunday-go-to-meetin shoes cause you know when you're laying in bed just a couple of days after having a stranger's arms and legs sewn to your torso, nothin says “rehabilitation” like a fresh duds!
As it turns out, Dr. Stein's castle/hospital/lab must be very inconveniently situated within shambling / lurking distance of the VA, a nightclub, a park, some poor folk's house, a warehouse, etc. How can Dr. Stein get any privacy with all that shit going on? At any rate, the big climax of the movie occurs when the monster abducts some poor woman and drags her to an abandoned warehouse conveniently situated nearby.
The monster is set upon by the LAPD's canine unit, who it seems just pulls up to a scene, “releases” the Dobermans, and let them eviscerate, maul, and kill the suspect. Hope no innocent civilians get in the way... I have never seen a Doberman exercise great judgment in reading Miranda rights. They are asses like that!
Yes, Blackenstein is rife with weak and underdeveloped plot points, laughable editing, and poor casting choices. This poo pie can be watched on Netflix and Youtube and if you are looking for a great movie to riff, look no further. This cheeze is such easy pickins that it is great for the beginner.
Happy Halloween to you all.
Singing or having a stroke? You decide!
"Oh LAWDY JESUS, Why am I in this film?"
As a special Halloween treat for you, here is some fan art that I tripped up on of Blackula and Blackenstein dukin' it out! We need Rudy Ray Moore as Dolemite to break it up.. mebbe Foxy Brown to referee!
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