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Andy Warhol's Frankenstein and Dracula: almost begs the gorge to rise
May 21, 2009 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Though film is not generally Andy Warhol's field of greatest fame, some see his long and storied history in film as "where Warhol's supreme achievement lies". And then there are the two horror films from 1973: Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (or Flesh for Frankenstein) and Andy Warhol's Dracula (or Blood for Dracula). The two films were filmed quickly and inexpensively in the Spring of 1973, using the Roger Corman method of filming two movies at one location using the same actors to decrease costs. Frankenstein was filmed first, using Space-Vision 3-D. But filming 3D footage was too expensive and time-consuming, so Dracula was shot in standard 35mm film.

The films are a mix of tribute to and parody of Italian horror films. Both movies were shot in and around Rome, and edited at the Cinecittà studios,which were opened by Mussolini in April 1937, and later the location for Roman Holiday and Ben Hur, amongst others. Despite the pedigree of the location, the content of the films were not the of the same sort, with gory effects in Frankenstein including innards [that] resemble lobster salad, an evocation that stresses the obvious expense of this production (NYTimes.com Bugmenot) and Dracula receiving an X Rating from the MPAA due to its violent and sexual elements. Regardless, or because of this, Both films were commercial successes by Factory standards in the United States, Europe, and, for the first time, Japan. These films would be the last two Factory films that Paul Morrissey directed, and the last Factory films in which Joe Dallesandro starred.

Morrissey first worked at The Factory in 1965, sweeping the floor, a year prior to the making of The Chelsea Girls. Morrissey went on to take over the directing, pushing Warhol's films in more commercial directions. After these films, Morrissey continued to direct movies, though he stopped when it became harder to finance independent films.

Dallesandro, probably the guy(parts) on the cover of Rolling Stone's Sticky Fingers, continued to have acting roles, though he now manages a hotel in the heart of Hollywood, where he lives with his cat Booky.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has given these films to the Andy Warhol Museum.

Dracula clips
Movie teaser (1:29)
Intro to the film (8:33), dubbed in Spanish
Screen test (4:09), film director Paul Morrissey discusses his choices for cast members for the film

Frankenstein clips
German trailer (3:19), nudity and gore included
US trailer (1:18), with minor spoilers
Udo Kier (2:18), on censorship and Frankenstein ("It's a comedy, everyone knows the blood is syrup")
posted by filthy light thief (23 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Andy Warhol's Trash, acquired for a couple of quid from used-record store, used to be the least watchable film in my VHS collection, so I used to try and make people watch it a lot. Very rarely would that thing play all the way to the end. Ah, student days...
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on May 21, 2009


I based my play Chelsea on the shooting of Warhol's Kitchen.

I just watched the Morrissey Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll trilogy again recently: Flesh, Trash, and Heat. They're just aggressively alienating and slapdash, and I can't help but become obsessed by them. It's like Morrissey, with Warhol as a producer, was carefully integrating amateurism into the repetoir of art film techniques, and it's sort of amazing how much he succeeded at that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:27 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


None of the links before the break are instantly NSFW, but start digging and you're bound to find some naughty bits. As for the links afterwords: mostly nudity, but also some gore.

And two reviews I forgot to include: Absolute Horror reviews Warhol's Frankenstein and Dracula, as a current-day counter-point to the 1974 NYTimes review, linked earlier.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:29 PM on May 21, 2009


It's like Morrissey, with Warhol as a producer, was carefully integrating amateurism into the repetoir of art film techniques, and it's sort of amazing how much he succeeded at that.

Half the dialogue in Trash sounds like Charlie Browns teacher, it's so badly recorded. Most of the rest sound like the dog in a bacon slicer Clarkeson references in his hybrid review.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on May 21, 2009


gory effects in Frankenstein including innards [that] resemble lobster salad

Surely one of the great lines of modern cinema:

"To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life in the gall bladder."
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:32 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've seen almost all of Flesh for Frankenstein, and the vocals were clear, though the plot and characters were effin' strange at most times, including the line Combustible quoted. We listened to that line a couple times, just to make sure we heard it correctly. Yes, the gall bladder.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:44 PM on May 21, 2009


I have a specific memory about Frankenstein. I didn't see it, but my parents did. I remember them coming back after the show. My dad had a classic shit-eating grin, while my mom came through the door with a look of disbelieving disgust. I asked her how it was. "It was horrible. I don't need to see a spear come through someone's body and dangle a spleen in my face!"
posted by The Deej at 1:49 PM on May 21, 2009


Blood for Dracula is a great date movie.
"Ze bloood of zeez whooooores iz killing me!"
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 1:49 PM on May 21, 2009


I saw Frankenstein in 3-D at a theater in the late 1970's or early '80's. It was great. I see I already got beat to the gall bladder line.
posted by marxchivist at 1:53 PM on May 21, 2009


Saw Frankenstein in a theater in 3D in '73 or whenever, at the time it was the goriest movie I'd ever seen, and the guy sitting next to me had brought take-away with him, the smell of greasy food adding another dimension to the experience. Not one I'd care to repeat.
posted by Restless Day at 1:59 PM on May 21, 2009


"He wants to marry a vigin!"

"Then what is he doing with you hooahs?"
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:59 PM on May 21, 2009


I loved it when the American farmhand starts spouting off anti-aristocratic communist rhetoric at Dracula.

I also came in her to say "Ze blood of zees whores is killing me!"
posted by Burhanistan at 2:06 PM on May 21, 2009


Love them. Both. Saw 'em senior year of high school or something. Yes. Love the absurdity of it all.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 2:10 PM on May 21, 2009


sadiehawkinstein

I'm hope I'm not too new to say "eponysterical."
posted by total warfare frown at 2:16 PM on May 21, 2009


I saw the first like 20 minutes of one of these (I can't remember which) when I was like 10 or 11 at a theater when we were stationed overseas. My parents thought they were just regular horror movies and let my older sister take me.

There was some scene of a bloody naked body being groped and my sister just went "What the fuck!" She dragged me out there by the hood of my coat because I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.

I saw them both years later. Man. I'm glad she got me out there. That was some fucked up shit.
posted by tkchrist at 2:25 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


twf, you're too late. The phrase has been suggested for retirement.

The Deej - I wonder what you mom was thinking she was going to see that night. 3D + Horror = something seeming to be lunging into your face, probably something gore-related.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:29 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I won't pretend to have clicked all those sweet, tasty links. But I wanted to make sure mention was made of Vinyl - Warhol's... uh, "free" adaptation of A Clockwork Orange.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:30 PM on May 21, 2009


Blood for Dracula is great, and not just for Udo Kier's deranged take on Dracula, crawling on the floor and licking up hymen-blood. I remember first watching it when I was 15 or so, trying to figure out how many bizarre layers of satire/parody there were going on - I was thinking "Is it a spoof of Dracula films? What about all the odd class-warfare diatribes? Or is it a spoof of people who advocate class warfare to dethrone those in power while simultaneously abusing their own positions and destroying everything around them? Whup, hold on, more lesbian sex."
posted by FatherDagon at 2:45 PM on May 21, 2009


FatherDagon - you were a very insightful lad. I would have been distracted by the gory bits and the sexy bits.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:53 PM on May 21, 2009


Night Flight used to show incomprehensible censored versions of these movies back in the day. I had no idea what was supposed to be going on.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:36 PM on May 21, 2009


The Deej - I wonder what you mom was thinking she was going to see that night. 3D + Horror = something seeming to be lunging into your face, probably something gore-related.

Well, sure. But dad picked. They are divorced now, so there's always that.
posted by The Deej at 6:08 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


There was an FPP recently which showed a bunch of VHS videos from an old video store which had to be Australian because it included "Monkey Grip" and not only that, they had to be from the video store that I used to visit because goddamn I saw almost all of them, included in which was Andy Warhol's Frankenstein and Dracula. They were so fucked up, but truly so am I and I was before I saw them. I loved these movies! I'm looking forward to the day that I can get them on dvd without much effort. If you enjoy madness and are not prepared to take it with you into your outside world, what's the problem, right? Madness without consequence fucking rocks.
posted by h00py at 1:40 AM on May 22, 2009


h00py, I think you're referring to VHS Video Covers, though that section of the site is down/off-line.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:15 PM on May 29, 2009


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