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Frankenstein


A rather Randy version of the monstrous classic.

Rod Lott November 14th, 2012

Perhaps best known for being the bad guy of the early '90s blockbusters Patriot Games and Sleeping with the Enemy, Patrick Bergin must be the king of literary adaptation also-rans. He played Robin Hood in 1991 film that was denied a theatrical release because Kevin Costner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves sewed that all up. He's played Dracula … but in a made-for-TV movie, not a Francis Ford Coppola spectacle.

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And, in the early '90s, he starred as the mad doctor in Frankenstein … for TNT, not Kenneth Branagh. Provided you missed it on during its CableACE Award-nominated broadcast, the better-than-average production is now alive — alive!on MOD DVD from Warner Archive.

Bergin's Dr. Frankenstein is even more enterprising than in the Mary Shelley novel, creating such mutated animals as a cat-snake and a porcupine-rabbit. "I've discovered the secret of life … and I control it," he says, to the expected cries of blasphemy. "The world moves forward, and science is the future."

In other words, he's so going to build a human, and does, in the form of Randy Quaid. You actually won't recognize him, hidden behind layers of scars. Quaid gives a genuinely good performance, reminding one of his early roles in The Last Picture Show and Midnight Express, and not of the conspiracy-minded, tabloid-fodder loon he sadly has become.

When the monster goes after Dr. F's cousin/fiancée (Fiona Gillies), the God-like creator views his work no longer as a man, but the devil himself.

Written and directed by David Wickes — who previously turned the likes of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde and Jack the Ripper into televised fodder — Frankenstein shows the limitations of its budget, but I actually liked that it looks shot on sets, ship stuck in ice included. Because it is an early 19th-century period piece, staying far away from the latest and greatest cinematic technology is preferred. —Rod Lott

 
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