Having just played at the IMAGINE film festival in Amsterdam, Bloody Disgusting’s Netherlands stringer Joris Westerdaal was on hand for the premiere of Richard Raaphorst’s Frankenstein’s Army, whcih will have its U.S. premiere at this month’s Tribeca Film Festival.
“In the waning days of World War II, a battalion of Russian soldiers find themselves lost in enemy territory. Stumbling upon a village decimated by an unseen terror, they discover that a mad scientist (Hellboy’s Karel Roden) conducts experiments to fuse flesh and steel, creating an unstoppable army of undead soldiers. Leaderless and faced with dissention amongst their dwindling ranks, they must find the courage to face down an altogether new menace – or die trying.”
Check out Joris’ thoughts on the film by reading on.
Article by: Joris Westerdaal
Imagine this; you’re a frontline soldier during a reconnaissance/rescue mission in Germany during the second world war and you and your squad stumble upon a nazi death camp. Starving victims of nazi cruelty and experimentation dying in front of your eyes. The complete and utter madness unfolding before the eyes of these soldiers is something none of us could possibly imagine these days. Like director Richard Raaphorst said prior to the screening of “Frankenstein’s Army” during the IMAGINE filmfestival in Amsterdam; I couldn’t imagine an evil worse than the Nazi. In his first feature length directorial effort he offers us viewers, whom most of us have seen plenty of footage and pictures of these real life atrocities, a different kind of horror but leaves the viewer with the same kind of feeling of astonishment and pure horrific disbelief these liberators must have felt during the discovery of the absolute abomination that were the nazi death camps.
As serious as this may sound, director and main creature designer Richard Raaphorst did not choose to make Frankenstein’s Army the full on harrowing experience described above, much to this reviewers joy. As the title already sugests this is more aching towards a gory monster movie than a realistic look at the atrocities performed by nazi doctors like Joseph Mengele. The former being replaced by a direct descendant of Victor Frankenstein, except this guy was deemed even to crazy by his predecessor.
In Frankenstein’s Army the “doctor” (brilliantly portrayed by Hellboy’s Karel Roden who’s obviously having a blast here) is hired by the Nazi to help turn the tide for Hitler’s forces who were by that time losing the war. Created out of corpses and machine parts stitched together to create the ultimate nazi killing machines, these Zombots (as they’re called by everyone involved with this movie) are the real showstoppers and fully deserve the movie being named after them.
We follow a Russian team of soldiers and its propaganda filmmaker to a small miners village in Nazi Germany after hearing a distress call from some fellow comrades. Upon their arrival they find no one except a few weird, disfigured corpses and an abondoned church made into a make-shift laboratory. Soon after they find themselves being wiped out by the creations of one doctor Frankenstein who’s apparently been busy creating an undead army of soldiers destined to end the war once and for all… except it’s not what you think; Frankenstein’s theory on how to end the war is seriously fucked up and has to be seen to be believed, and thus I won’t spoil it here.
As some of you might have heard, this is indeed a found-footage kind of movie. It is cinema verite all round; but don’t let that stop you from having fun. This is not about the sugestion of creepy/gruesome stuff happening, it instead puts you right in the middle of all the madness and carnage (Raaphorst said; “It makes you an accomplice”), and is a true feast for the eyes of everyone into monster movies. Like I said before, the Zombots are nothing short of amazing, and they’re all (seemingly) conceived without the use of cgi. This makes it all the more incredible because some of the monster designs are outright crazy. On top of that, the splatter effects are top notch, especially during the full on insane second half of the movie which had the Amsterdam audience going wild.