Friday, January 10, 2014


Richard Raaphorst’s Frankenstein's Army (2013) is yet another in the long line of post-Blair With Project POV found footage/faux documentary horror films. Taking a different approach from the usual modern settings for this style of film, Frankenstein's Army takes place on the eastern front during the dying days of World War II in Germany, and has a Russian combat cameraman capturing the carnage as his unit is decimated by an assortment of bizarre man/machine-meld monsters, the nightmarish product of the crazed great-great-grandson of the famous Baron von. 

I struggled to get into it for the first 20 minutes or so, but Frankenstein's Army eventually won me over with its ambition and intriguing strangeness. While the film reflects its low budget in many ways, the make-up and various creature designs are terrific and effectively creepy (I guess I would describe the creatures as a mix of H. R. Giger and Clive Barker with an industrial/’steam punk’ overhaul). Thankfully there is very little reliance on cheap and obvious CGI, with most of the effects and stunts looking to have been done in-camera, and the set designers have done a decent enough job of bringing the period to life (though some of the hairstyles and mannerisms of the characters seem very un-1945).   Ultimately, I think the film would have worked much better if they had ditched the whole found-footage approach and just told the story as a straight narrative. It’s a bit hard to swallow the idea of some beat-up, hand-cranked 16mm camera being able to capture such hi-def images nearly seventy years ago!