- 84 mins
Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival 2013
In the waning months of the Second Great War, a lost battalion of Russian soldiers finds themselves in enemy territory while shooting a Communist propaganda film. When a panicked radio signal comes in from another team, they follow the transmission into a burnt-out village — and a power-hungry madman. It turns out this loon (played with maniacal abandon by HELLBOY’s brilliant Karel Roden) isn’t as harmless as he seems… and by using the lost journal of his grandfather, Doctor Frankenstein, has agreed to lend a hand to the suffering Nazis by creating an army of undead super-soldiers.
Are you ready for a wartime recipe created by a madman, and baked in a Hell’s kiln? FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY is one part historical epic, one part found-footage horror, sprinkled amply with steampunk and best served steaming hot, with a side helping of innards. If you’re still worried that you won’t be laid out by the film’s finale, your sergeant should kindly note that your rations are served on an out-of-control carnival spookhouse ride, speeding and twisting your brain to an electrode-riddled pulp.
Acclaimed Dutch commercial director Richard Raaphorst has been known for years thanks to the fervent fandom surrounding his short takes on Nazi zombies — and after half a decade of rabid intensity, Rotterdam’s self-proclaimed über-geek has finally delivered a big screen version… and it’s something you’re not gonna want to miss! Raaphorst’s “zombots” are anything but the traditional shambling undead. A stunning hodgepodge of man, monster, and mechanics, these steampunk nightmares — from THE HOBBIT’s practical effects team at Unreal FX — meld flesh and fuses into ghouls that will have you begging for a second viewing, just to take them all in. Screen Daily hails its old-school take on found-footage horror, noting it’s a film that delivers “old-style lumbering monsters without resorting to CGI!” Your tank’s waiting, so buckle up. FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY is a surprising genre treat that barrels like a freight train toward a conclusion that your vision sensors will never see coming.
— Ted Geoghegan