Review: The Frankenstein Syndrome DVD

The Frankenstein Syndrome DVDSTUDIO: MTI | DIRECTOR: Sean Tretta | CAST: Tiffany Shepis, Louis Mandylor, Ed Lauter, Scott Anthony Leet
RELEASE DATE: 7/12/11 | PRICE: DVD $24.95
BONUSES: commentary, alternate openings with commentary, alternate and deleted scenes with commentary
SPECS: NR | 90 min. | Science fiction horror | 1.77:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

The Frankenstein Syndrome movie scene

Something monstrous this way comes in The Frankenstein Syndrome.

You can’t blame Tiffany Shepis (Trade In) for trying to create some more interesting work for herself as she does in The Frankenstein Syndrome, where she’s credited as one of four producers and cast as a genetic scientist. (Not that she’s hurting for work—the IMDB shows she’s signed on for 22 more films after this one in 2010.) But our favorite B-actress could do better than a film that 1) requires her to wear a mask for many scenes, and 2) has a little bit more coherency, tension, drama, suspense . . . you know, stuff that keeps a viewer interested. Notice that we didn’t even ask for nudity!

Still, gorehounds and Shepis fans will get a kick out of the money shot — when Shepis finally takes off that mask — in this low-budget independent film’s re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s classic novel.

In this iteration, Shepis is a newcomer to a small crew working on a secret, ultimately evil stem-cell research experiment. The project fails and the man-monster (Scott Anthony Leet, yes, the former Dallas Cowboys punter) grows increasingly violent and poetic, to the point where he brays about not desiring to be created. So, in a way, we can’t blame him for cutting off peoples’ faces.

Director Sean Tretta (Shepis’s husband) cuts away from the well-paced blood gushers and avoids too many giblets, focusing on the monster’s wrath instead of the results of his carnage. Still, even with only a few set pieces of spurt-a-rama, the casually paced movie will only deliver its cheap thrills to fans of horror and science-fiction with gore.

Here’s hoping one of those next 22 movies will be the one to bring Shepis into the mainstream.


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About Buzz

Buzz McClain reviews DVDs for Playboy magazine and is a former critic for Video Business magazine. But what he really wants to do is direct.