Saddled with insatiable sister/wife Katrin (Monique Van Vooren, THE DECAMERON) and two creepy mute kids, Baron Frankenstein (Udo Keir, MARK OF THE DEVIL; BLADE) spends most of his time locked in the laboratory basement of his castle, with his loyal servant Otto (Arno Juerging, BLOOD FOR DRACULA).

The Baron has already created a woman from fresh body parts, and has become obsessed with creating a male counterpart so the two can ultimately mate.

Meanwhile hunky gypsy Nicholas (Joe Dallesandro, HEAT; TRASH) falls foul of Katrin when she catches him shagging a local peasant on her grounds. She reprimands him and threatens to punish him, but eventually employs his services as her aide ... and her lover.

Nicholas is an insatiable beast himself and takes his best friend Sacha (Srdjan Zelenovic, I MISS SONIA HENIE) to a brothel in the hope of perishing his aspirations to become a celibate monk. Once in the brothel, Sacha watches uninterested as Nicholas pleasures a couple of whores. Until, inexplicably, a lizard crawls out of Nicholas' arse and the women flee into the street screaming.

Sacha pokes his head out of the brothel door and shouts for the women to come back. At that moment, the Baron and Otto spot him. They're in town on the lookout for a sexually charged male brain. Naturally, they wrongly assume Sacha is a sexual tiger and wait in the bushes to ambush him later that evening.

Otto bashes the drunken Nicholas over the head as Sacha is decapitated by the Baron on gory, 3D-style. The next morning, Nicholas can remember nothing of what happened but is desperate to locate his friend. It is, then, logical that he is disturbed when he later serves dinner to the Baron and his family ... and sees his friend sat there as his guest. Sacha remains silent and does not acknowledge Nicholas in any way.

So, Nicholas uses his sexual hold over Katrin to get her to help him find out just what the Baron's been getting up to in his out-of-bounds lab, Katrin agrees as she sees the Baron's "male zombie" as another potential conquest, the Baron meanwhile becomes increasingly frustrated at Sacha's lack of arousal when confronted with his beautiful naked female mate, Otto aspires to follow in his master's footsteps and discover the meaning of life by "fucking it in the gall bladder", and the creepy kids prove that spying on their Dad's surgical experiments all this time has taught them a thing or two ...

Got all that?!

Muddled, confused and not as funny as it hoped to be, FRANKENSTEIN was made virtually back-to-back with BLOOD FOR DRACULA. DRACULA is a much better film.

It feels like the angle aimed at here was Greek tragedy - but what we get is broad farce bordering on Carry On silliness at times. Kier was a hoot in DRACULA, for instance, but overdoes the campiness way too much this time around.

Having said that, it's still an accomplished film on many levels and it benefits from wonderful cinematography, coupled with amazing locations. The costumes, the interior decor of the old castle, it's all beautiful to behold.

While the humour may be embarrassingly misjudged by most of the cast (only Dallesandro appears 'natural'), Carlo Rambaldi (ET; DEEP RED) ensures that the film scores high in the gore stakes. Okay, the FX work is quite primitive, but considering this is a small-budgeted film from the early 1970s, we get some satisfyingly moist disembowelments and dismemberment.

It's essentially a smug parody of Hammer's most celebrated era, with plenty of schoolboy smut and low-brow humour thrown in for good measure. This is both a good and a bad thing.

Banned previously in the UK, it's nice to see director Paul Morrissey's innocuous horror comedy now available uncut - courtesy of the fine folk at Tartan.

The film is presented in a bright, clear anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer and is a marked improvement on the Criterion and Market Films releases. Having not seen the recent Image R1 release, I can only assume the transfer is identical. It's a little soft and there is minor ghosting at times, but for the most part it's pretty impressive - and I never realised Sacha's eyes rolled around after his head had been severed ... see what image clarity teaches you!

The English soundtrack stays true to the original mono mix, and is a good enough job.

The film can be accessed via 16 chapters. Menu pages are static, save for the main one.

Of the extras, the previously available commentary track is the best. Morrissey and Kier (both recorded separately) have plenty of energy and humour about them as they speak fondly about making the film. Moderator Maurice Yacowar chips in occasionally, sounding like he's reading from a pre-written script.

A stills gallery runs for a whopping 23 minutes and benefits from commentary by the likeable Morrissey. Finally, 4 minutes of screen test footage rounds things off, again with Morrissey providing a talk track over the top.

BLOOD FOR DRACULA is also available uncut, with similar extras. Highly recommended as a pair - although DRACULA is easily the better of the two.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by Tartan UK
Region 2 PAL
Rated 18
Extras : see main review