Fake found-footage ‘Frankenstein’s Army’ is only a bit monotonous

Karel Roden shows off one of his Nazi beasts in "Frankenstein's Army." Credit: MPI/Dark Sky Films
Karel Roden shows off one of his Nazi beasts in “Frankenstein’s Army.”
Credit: MPI/Dark Sky Films

‘Frankenstein’s Army’
Director: Richard Raphoorst
Stars: Karel Roden, Joshua Sasse
Rating: R
3 (out of 5) Globes

No one’s going to mistake the sights in the fake found footage film “Frankenstein’s Army” for actual found footage. Set amidst a Russian platoon pushing into the German front towards the end of WWII, it’s, for one thing, in English. And it’s in the wrong aspect ratio. (Old 16mm film, which this sort of mimics, is in a box shape, not formatted to fit your HD TV.) Apart from busting out some in-editing imperfections (scratches, the red that comes at the end of reels), the filmmakers did not care for strict verisimilitude. And so, in a sense, neither should you.

Luckily, there’s enough lurid distractions to, well, distract you. The film finds a motley crew happening upon a secret underground lair. There, they’re besieged by freaky (and not too convincing) steam-punk creations: Humanoids with giant metal claws; a dude with an overactive clamp on his face; cyborgs wielding swastikas. Eventually they discover the source (which is more or less spoiled by the title): Among the Nazis’ many horrific experimentations were evidently an attempt to create a legion of armed zombies from dead soldiers, using the journals of the real Dr. Frankenstein.

On one hand, like the Nazisploitation films of the ‘70s (such as “Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS”), this is tasteless: The Nazis underwent numerous, actual, sickening experimentations on its captives. Milking that for midnight movie fare, no matter how effective, will leave a gross taste in the mouth. On the other hand, this is effective, both as a what-happens-next thriller that keeps topping itself, and as a film with a definite goofy streak. Unlike the fellow mock-found footage opus “Troll Hunter,” which only periodically interrupts artless, boring footage to spy on giant, rampaging trolls, it’s quick to get to the lair, which is one of those cavernous places with endless secret hallways and rusty doors — a good place to get lost in. It vies for the thrills of “Aliens,” only here the Paul Reiser traitor is wielding the camera.

This is very much for the fanboys, and its endless scurrying about and dismemberments inevitably prove occasionally monotonous. But it delivers on a wide array of beasties. “Pacific Rim” is fine, but this has a better and more inventive array of monsters, most of them more silly than frightening, which only makes them scarier once they start tearing out someone’s guts. Sleazy Nazi genre films have made a comeback of late, with the likes of “Dead Snow” (zombies) and “Iron Sky” (sci-fi), but “Frankenstein’s Army” would (just barely) work even without the swastikas.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.