Andy Warhol's Frankenstein

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Andy Warhol's Frankenstein
Original release poster
Directed by Paul Morrissey
Produced by
Written by
Based on Characters 
by Mary Shelley (uncredited)
Music by Claudio Gizzi[1]
Cinematography Luigi Kuveiller
Edited by
Distributed by Bryanston Distributing
Release dates
  • 17 March 1974 (1974-03-17) (United States)
  • 9 October 1974 (1974-10-09) (Paris)
  • 14 March 1975 (1975-03-14) (Italy)
Running time
95 minutes[2]
  • English
  • French
Budget $450,000
Box office $7 million (US)[5]

Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (original title: Flesh for Frankenstein) is a 1973 Franco-Italian horror film written and directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andrew Braunsberg and Andy Warhol. It stars Udo Kier, Monique van Vooren, Joe Dallesandro, and Arno Juerging. Interiors were filmed at Cinecittà in Rome by a crew of Italian filmmakers.

In the United States, the film was marketed as Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, and was presented in the Space-Vision 3D process in premiere engagements. It was rated X by the MPAA due to its explicit sexuality and violence. A 3D version also played in Australia in 1986, alongside Blood for Dracula, its obvious pairing. In the 1970s, a 3D version played in Stockholm, Sweden and in London, England. In subsequent US DVD releases, the film was retitled Flesh for Frankenstein, while the more popular title was used in other regions.

The gruesomeness of the action was intensified in the original release by the use of 3D, with several disembowelments being shot from a perspective such that the internal organs are thrust towards the camera.[6][7]


Baron von Frankenstein (Udo Kier) neglects his duties towards his wife/sister Katrin (Monique van Vooren), as he is obsessed with creating a perfect Serbian race to obey his commands, beginning by assembling a perfect male and female from parts of corpses. The doctor's sublimation of his sexual urges by his powerful urge for domination is shown when he utilizes the surgical wounds of his female creation to satisfy his lust. He is dissatisfied with the inadequate reproductive urges of his current male creation, and seeks a head donor with a greater libido; he also repeatedly exhibits an intense interest that the creature's "nasum" (nose) have a correctly Serbian shape.[6][7]

As it happens, a suitably randy farmhand, Nicholas (Joe Dallesandro), leaving a local brothel along with his sexually repressed friend, brought there in an unsuccessful attempt to dissuade him from entering a monastery, are spotted and waylaid by the doctor and his henchman, Otto (Arno Juerging); mistakenly assuming that the prospective monk is also suitable for stud duty, they take his head for use on the male creature. Not knowing these behind-the-scene details, Nicholas survives and is summoned by Katrin to the castle, where they form an agreement that he will gratify her unsatisfied carnal appetites.[6][7]

Under the control of the doctor, the male and female creatures are seated for dinner with the castle's residents, but the male creature shows no signs of recognition of his friend as he serves the Baron and his family. Nicholas realizes at this point that something is awry, but himself pretends not to recognize his friend's face until he can investigate further. After a falling-out with Katrin, who is merely concerned with her own needs, Nicholas goes snooping in the laboratory and is captured by the doctor. Frankenstein muses about using his new acquisition to replace the head of his creature, who is still showing no signs of libido. Nevertheless, Katrin is rewarded for betraying Nicholas by being granted use of the creature for erotic purposes, but is killed during a bout of overly vigorous copulation.

Meanwhile, Otto repeats the doctor's sexual exploits with the female creature, resulting in her graphic disembowelment. The Baron returns and, enraged, does away with Otto. When he attempts to have the male creature eliminate Nicholas, however, the remnants of his friend's personality rebel and the doctor is killed in gruesome fashion. The creature, believing he is better off dead, then disembowels himself. The doctor's children, Erik (Marco Liofredi) and Monica (Nicoletta Elmi), then enter the laboratory, pick up a pair of scalpels, and proceed to turn the wheel of the crane that is holding the farmhand in mid-air. It is not clear if the scalpels are there in order to release him, or take over where their father left off.[6][7]


  • Udo Kier as Baron von Frankenstein
  • Monique van Vooren as Baroness Katrin Frankenstein
  • Joe Dallesandro as Nicholas, the stableboy
  • Arno Juerging as Otto, the Baron's assistant
  • Dalila Di Lazzaro as Female monster
  • Srdjan Zelenovic as Sacha / Male monster
  • Marco Liofredi as Erik, the Baron's son
  • Nicoletta Elmi as Monica, the Baron's daughter
  • Liù Bosisio as Olga, the maid
  • Cristina Gaioni as Farmer, Nicholas' girlfriend
  • Rosita Torosh as Sonia, the prostitute
  • Carla Mancini as Farmer
  • Fiorella Masselli as Large prostitute
  • Imelde Marani as Blonde prostitute
  • Miomir Aleksic (uncredited) as Other male monster


Screenwriter Tonino Guerra is better known as the author of Federico Fellini's Amarcord and Michelangelo Antonioni's Blowup.

While some Italian prints reportedly give second unit director Antonio Margheriti credit as director of the film, Kier has stated that Margheriti had nothing to do with directing the film. Kier additionally stated that he and the other cast members received direction only from Morrissey, and noted that he never saw Margheriti on the set.[8]

As a favor for producer Carlo Ponti, Margheriti agreed to take credits for free as director for the Italian release in order to help the film get funds from the government. Unfortunately, it ended up as a trial for producer and alleged director who both lost.


Frankenstein was later cut to 93 minutes for an R-rating, thereby increasing its viability for wider distribution. It was this version which was distributed for a 3D re-release during the 3D craze of the 1980s. The U.S. DVD releases have utilized the full uncut version, which is now unrated. The film had its television premiere in the United Kingdom on 17 November 2009 and was broadcast in 3D as part of Channel 4's 3D Week.

Box office[edit]

The film earned $4.7 million in rentals in North America.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, Nora Sayre of The New York Times wrote "In a muddy way, the movie attempts to instruct us about the universal insensitivity, living-deadness and the inability to be turned on by anything short of the grotesque. However, this 'Frankenstein' drags as much as it camps; despite a few amusing moments, it fails as a spoof, and the result is only a coy binge in degradation."[10]

Craig Butler of AllMovie called the film "a ramshackle affair, with performances that are ludicrously over-the-top and direction that is even more so, and a script that is filled with horrible dialogue. Not to mention, it's a truly gross experience. Of course, many will appreciate it just for these qualities, either to laugh at how truly outrageous it all is or to marvel at the manner in which director/writer Paul Morrissey is skewering the very countercultural sex revolutionaries that were among his biggest fans, creating what is at heart a very conservative critique of hippie culture."[11] Ian Jane of DVD Talk said of the film, "Flesh for Frankenstein is a morbid and grotesque comedy that won't be to everyone's taste but that does deliver some interesting humor and horror in that oddball way that Morrissey has."[12]

Andy Warhol's Frankenstein holds a 91% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Exclusive Interview with Composer Claudio Gizzi
  2. ^ "Flesh for Frankenstein | British Board of Film Classification". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved December 10, 2014.  Submitted runtime: 94:47
  3. ^ Marx, Rebecca Flint. "Flesh For Frankenstein". Allmovie. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Flesh for Frankenstein". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ Kilday, Gregg (November 9, 1974). "'That'll Be the Day' Having Its Day". Los Angeles Times. p. a10. 
  6. ^ a b c d "DVD Verdict". DVD Verdict. 2005-11-07. Retrieved 2014-12-11. 
  7. ^ a b c d
  8. ^ Kier, Udo. Video Watchdog Special Edition # 2, 1995. "Udo Kier: Andy Warhol's Horror Star": Interview with Kier
  9. ^ "All-time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976 p 48
  10. ^ Sayre, Nora (16 May 1974). "Flesh for Frankenstein". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Butler, Craig. "Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) – Review – AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Ian Jane. "Flesh for Frankenstein". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  13. ^ "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (1974)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 

External links[edit]