By Elmar Berger
January 26th will see the world premiere screening of Dutch director Richard Raaphorst’s highly anticipated monster extravaganza Frankenstein’s Army at the 42nd edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
The film wrapped shooting more than ten months ago in Karlovy Vary, a small town near the Czech capital of Prague. While still shooting, BD was granted access to the impressive sets of the US / Dutch co-production, located in an old, now-closed mining colony. The film’s producers couldn’t have picked a better location for the World War II setting of Raaphorst’s story. The old, run-down buildings and slowly-rotting industrial facilities of the complex were surrounded by huge barbed wire fences, all of which breathed an eerie, ultra-realistic atmosphere.
Frankenstein’s Army tells the story of (surprise!) Victor Frankenstein (Karel Roden, of Hellboy fame) who brings madness and terror to a World War II-era Eastern European town, creating bizarre monsters using the bodies of dead Nazi soldiers. When a group of Russian soldiers retreating back to their homeland enter the town in search of comrades, they quickly realize that they ‘ve taken a very wrong turn.
From what we experienced while on-set, the film looks to be nothing short of a gorehound’s wet dream. Strangely enough, the majority of the cast isn’t know for doing violent horror films… so how did they survive this one? “It was very demanding,” says Hon Ping Tang (The Fifth Element, Shanghai) who plays the Russian/Mongolian Ivan. “I’ve been doing lots of action and martial arts stuff, but doing this film had me realize that I’m physically not fit!” Hearing that coming from a guy who looks like The Hulk – minus the green color – might sound strange, but in comparison, some of the massive monster designs make even the tallest human look miniscule.
As of now, a domestic release date for Frankenstein’s Army has not been confirmed, but as soon as we get word, we’ll update with more details, set visits, and interviews – straight from what looks to be one of 2013’s biggest cult hits.