Xenon Blaxplotation Classic Review: Blackenstein

Blackenstein

By Brogan Ord Staunton.

In honour of all things Hollywood, Blaxploitation horror was clearly profitable, leading to the creation of “Blackenstein”. This 1975 take on the original Mary Shelley classic Frankenstein follows ​war veteran (Joe DeSue), whose limbs were medically restored, who becomes a killer when his physician’s (John Hart) aid switches his medication.

Before I watched the film, I naturally perused the trailer on Youtube and was immediately struck by “Dr Steins” uncanny resemblance to a Dick Van Dyke. Just me? Okay.



Secondly, I was worried by how painful it was to sit through the trailer. Surely if I was this hesitant during a short 3:20 minute trailer, I wouldn’t be able to sit through a whole 1hr and 27 minutes?

Well, let me tell you. The first half, I was completely right. I was basically waiting for Eddie to do something. I came for sloppy, b-movie carnage and that was not what I was getting. What also bothered me was how careless it all seemed. Surely even by any films standards. The most notable example that sticks in my mind, is when Eddie is being taken to Dr Stein’s hospital after having both his legs and arms (how a landmine blows one’s arms off is beyond me), when he is taken from the ambulance you quite clearly see his legs underneath the blanket! I know movies like this weren’t recognised for there sheer beauty and were more harmless fun, but c’mon.

Moving onto the second half however, still just as terrible, and not in the way that usually comes with the terrority, things perked up. Only to see the entertaining ways in which “Blackenstein” rained terror. But all in all, to sum it all up, nothing could save the movie from its slow and awkward dialogue, it’s questionable acting or complete lack of interest in bog standard science.
This is one of those films you feel would be necessary to see in a cinema, just to stop you constantly getting distracted by your phone as you feel the minutes slowing pacing by.

Not a classic by anyone’s standard. If you are looking to explore the world of Blaxploitation movies, this is not what I would start with. Stick with “Blacula”.


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