I’m certain when Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus back in 1818, she probably couldn’t predict that her monstrous creation would be shambling around America 45 years later, during the Civil War. I don’t know what kind of abridged history books I’ve been reading all my life, but I had no idea that zombies played such a huge part in slavery. But apparently this is how it happened, otherwise Ryan Bellgardt’s debut feature, the historical horror mash-up Army of Frankensteins, is only a movie. And when you’re talking about hundreds of parallel universe versions of Frankenstein’s monster, nothing can be “only” a movie.
It feels necessary to bring up Richard Raaphorst’s similarly titled Frankenstein’s Army, the balls-out thriller that came out a few months ago. While that one also took place during a war, it was the one with the Nazis, and involved a mad scientist creating industrial monsters. Army of Frankensteins manages to sound just as loony but completely different. How has this flick slipped beneath my radar all this time? (Please keep all sarcastic answers to a minimum.)
Co-written by Bellgardt, Andrew Swanson, and Josh McKamie, Army of Frankensteins follows Alan Jones (Jordan Farris), a guy who gets the ever-loving shit beat out of him by a street gang before being “saved” by Dr. Tanner Finski (John Ferguson) and his brilliant child assistant. Trying to create their own Frankenstein’s monster, they put Jones through a bunch of experiments, which inevitably burst a hole open in space-time, unleashing a horde, nay, an army of Frankenstein creatures from hundreds of parallel universes upon the Confederate and Union soldiers in the heat of battle.
Does this movie not sound fricking amazing in a somewhat ironic way? I mean, it may not be an instant classic, but it sure beats most low-budget sci-fi and horror where a few people get stuck in one area for an entire movie while CGI things happen around them. The chutzpah behind this premise is enough to get me interested, and I’m willing to bet a handful of these creatures will be the craziest-looking things in cinema this year. Hopefully, anyway. The early teaser trailer below probably won’t win over any stubborn naysayers, but the level of hilarity behind the line, “We’re from the future, and it’s time to kick some Frankenstein ass,” is immeasurable.
That makes this movie around the thousandth film about Frankenstein or his monster that we’ve reported on this year. But unlike Hollywood versions such as I, Frankenstein, the indies know how to give us footage in due time. There’s no release date yet for this one, but you can bet you’ll find it on VOD before your local small-town theaters.