“Frankenstein ’80″: More gore than ever before… in a fear-filled flesh-rending freakout!

By on October 20, 2016

Mario Mancini’s Frankenstein ’80 — a lurid killer-on-the-loose saga dressed up as an sexploitational Italian horror film with lots of gratuitous nudity and plenty o’ slasher-style blood ‘n’ gore — is one of the many titles we’re streaming right now in our Horror category over on Night Flight Plus.

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For this 85-minute Italian sexy gorefest — it was released in France as Les orgies de Frankenstein 80, and we’re letting you know this one’s NSFW right up front too — the tagline on the poster reveals that Mancini’s film offers up “More gore than ever before… in a fear-filled flesh-rending freakout.”

Early on we’re introduced to a mad scientist named Dr. Frankenstein (Gordon Mitchell) and his monstrous creation, Mosaico (Xiro Papas), who has been pieced together from various dead bodies, which is pretty much where the whole “Frankenstein” similarity begins and ends.

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Frankenstein is a disgraced surgeon who works in a morgue because he’s no longer allowed to operate on patients after killing killed a politician’s wife during a botched surgery, and he works at night in a secret lab located inside the hospital.

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His patched-together monster Mosaico is more monstrous than Mary Shelley’s creation, however, and after he kills his creator he then ventures out in modern-day Italy (the film went into production in 1972, but apparently takes place in the “future” of 1980) in order to find fresh body parts when his own begin to malfunction; it turns out his own body is rejecting the hastily-transplanted organs his creator gave him.

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Mosaico — a bald, frightening looking fellow with a jagged, bloody-looking scar across his face — turns the pursuit of spare parts into Jack the Ripper-style savagery, and perhaps an excuse to simply go raping and molesting beautiful women (not all of them prostitutes), dispatching with some of them in the most gruesome ways you can imagine, including beating one woman who works in a butcher’s shop with a giant bloody leg bone.

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The police investigate — with help from the scientist’s daughter, or is it his niece?, named Sonia (Dalila Di Lazzano), who happens to be studying to be a doctor herself — and eventually they all form the opinion they’ve got a super-predator in their midst, a violent killer who must be stopped.

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The police chief inspector (Renato Romano) teams up with a reporter, Karl Schein (John Richardson), who believes that the murder spree and medical supply thefts that have been reported are somehow linked. In particular, a doctor’s missing serum, which was created to prevent organ transplant rejection, tips them to what their killer is searching for.

Schein’s sister was to receive the miraculous serum (apparently there was just the one bottle of it) after an organ transplant but because it had been stolen, she died, so, you know, he’s got an axe to grind.

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Most of the reviews for the film focus on the fact that the filmmakers didn’t shy away from showing lots of surgically imprecise organ removals, including a testicle transplant which is particularly nasty.

Carlo Rambaldi (who did the special effects for Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, as well as the more significant work he’s known for on both Alien and E.T.) creates all the gore-ific effects here.

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Mancini — the cinematographer on movies like The French Sex Murders, and Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks — is working here from a screenplay co-written with Ferdinando De Leone, who doesn’t stray too far from horror film plotlines we’ve all seen before, except this time, the monster has a built-in self-destruct mechanism, and only forty-eight hours to live after he kills Dr. Frankenstein.

Gordon Mitchell appeared — usually as the antagonist or bad dude — in a whole bunch of exploitation films, and a few mainstream flicks too, including Fury of Achilles (Italy, 1962), John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), and Born to Kill (Italy, 1967). Richardson, meanwhile, appeared in movies like Black Sunday (Italy, 1960), One Million B.C. (United Kingdom, 1966), and Torso (Italy, 1973).

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If you’re looking for something strange and different to watch this Halloween, and don’t mind the sight of blood ‘n’ gore and naked lady boobs — give Frankenstein ’80 a try, it’s streaming over on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.