DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: David Graham

Read David Graham's film review of Frankenhooker

Arrow once again pull out all the stops for this jam-packed special edition, their gorgeous four-panel sleeve, full-colour liner notes and reversible poster representing merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of special features. The Blu Ray spit and polish reveals a fabulous-looking film, with a pin-sharp picture and glorious color allowing you to appreciate the screeds of tongue-in-cheek graffiti (look out for the delightful term 'pack fudge hard') and authentic NYC detail (Do The Right Thing is playing at the cinema!). Even the frequent cigarette burns add to the film's grind-house appeal, the restoration refreshingly refusing to gloss over the rough edges. The audio is also excellent, with clear and well-balanced dialogue, beefy sound effects and the sort of so-bad-it's-good Eighties soundtrack that'll have you bopping along as you watch.

A commentary with Hennenlotter and Lorinz is filled with amusing anecdotes, the former's passion and charm proving a nice counter for his star's more pretentious persona. The director has a hilarious habit of referring to his special effects as 'little fuckers', while the pair hold court on a variety of enlightening and titillating topics, from the politics of the Screen Actors' Guild to Louise Lasser extolling on Woody Allen's lovemaking. It's impossible not to warm to Hennenlotter, his honesty about and affection for his films making you want to rush out and watch them all.

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Patty Mullen pops up for a short but sweet interview in what looks like her basement, her natural beauty and gal-next-door appeal undiminished in her advancing age. She's completely at ease with her career failing to amount to much more than this film, despite making a good case for a sequel that Hennenlotter would do well to acknowledge. She reveals that she still calls him regularly to keep in touch, and has no regrets about stripping off as a purple-nippled zombie prostitute, even though she's now a mother and middle-aged woman.

Elsewhere, her co-star Jennifer Delora is an absolute motor-mouthed joy, pretty much cramming her whole life story and world-view into her 20-minute interview. We learn that the star of such 'classics' as Bad Girls Dormitory and Dead Boyz Don't Fly (nope, me neither) is actually a triple threat (proficient in acting, singing and dancing), has a PhD and is most definitely not a porn star! Perfectly happy to dish the dirt - she's a consummate professional who doesn't mind busting balls if others aren't pulling their weight, which the 'diva'-like Lorinz apparently didn't - Delora's rants reveal her to be a lovable individual with a no-nonsense attitude; she's much more than the dancing breasts and groin tattoo we're treated to in the feature. Someone get this woman back onto our screens, quickly!

There are a couple of illuminating featurettes on Gabe Bartalos's special effects lab and the movie's memorable make-up design, the subjects proving amiable and self-aware while their art is given the chance to shine. An appropriately comedic trailer gives a good indication of what the film contains, while a trailer reel for Hennenlotter's other films is a welcome bonus that only makes you wish Arrow would give all of them this definitive treatment.

It really is an unabashed treat to see a film that in some ways is a bit of a cinematic underdog given such a superlative package of special features. The only thing that fans could be left wanting would be a commentary from Mullen and perhaps the other female stars, but as it stands this is a bountiful crop of in-depth extras that makes purchase highly recommended.

Reviewed on: 20 Feb 2012
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Frankenhooker packshot
After his girlfriend is decapitated, a former medical student aims to build her a new body from pieces of streetwalkers.
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Product Code: B005QW2RMQ

Region: 2

Extras: Interviews, featurettes, trailers, poster, notes

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