Film (1990; vt Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound). Warner Brothers. Directed by Roger Corman. Written by Corman, F X Feeney, based on Frankenstein Unbound (1973) by Brian W Aldiss. Cast includes Nick Brimble, Bridget Fonda, John Hurt, Michael Hutchence, Raul Julia, Jason Patric and Katherine Rabett. 85 minutes. Colour.
This philosophical (about the dangers of the Promethean impulse) Time-Travel horror/fantasy was the first film directed by Corman for 20 years. A twenty-first-century scientist (Hurt) is time-warped into nineteenth-century Switzerland. On one side of Lake Geneva the Byron/Shelley menage is living; on the other the plot of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818) is being played out. Hurt gets involved with both sets of characters and winds up whisking Monster and maker off to an ice-age future for a splattery plot resolution, laced with conservative lectures about the evils of science. Some of the plentiful laughs may be intended, given that Aldiss's playful novel is in part a comedy, though Fonda is ridiculous as the dainty but promiscuous Mary. There are some cheapskate effects, but Raul Julia is good as the mad visionary; the angry-at-the-world Frankenstein Monster (Brimble) comes with impressive details like scarred eyeballs; and the Gothic horror set-pieces are directed with unselfconscious panache. [KN]
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