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Theatrical release poster
Directed byFrank Henenlotter
Produced byJames Glickenhaus
Written by
Music byJoe Renzetti
CinematographyRobert M. Baldwin
Edited byKevin Tent
Distributed byShapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment
Release date
  • April 1990 (1990-04) (Houston International Film Festival)
Running time
85 minutes
Box office$205,068[1]

Frankenhooker is a 1990 American comedy horror film directed by Frank Henenlotter. Very loosely inspired by Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, the film stars James Lorinz as medical school drop-out Jeffrey Franken and former Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen as the title character (who wears a fatsuit in the beginning of the film).


Jeffrey, a young man who lives in New Jersey, is heartbroken after his fiancée Elizabeth is killed by a lawnmower during a cookout. He decides that the only way to confront her loss is to use his science skills to bring her back to life. As her body has been cut into pieces, Jeffrey must take new parts from other women and he ultimately chooses to harvest them from the bodies of New York City prostitutes he lures back into a party and kills via exploding crack. He uses the body parts to bring Elizabeth back to life; her mind, however, isn't fully restored. The newly revived creation escapes and begins looking for customers, who end up exploding after encountering her. Jeffrey also has problems in the form of the pimp Zorro, who comes looking for the women Jeffrey hired. He threatens Jeffrey and strikes Elizabeth, which causes her to regain her senses. During all of this the spare hooker parts are reanimated into a many limbed monster, which drags Zorro away - but not before he kills Jeffrey. Wanting her lover back, Elizabeth decides to revive Jeffrey via the same procedure he used on her. Since the process only works on female bodies, Elizabeth had to use the hookers' body parts. Jeffrey has a brief moment of clarity before he realizes he only has female body parts. He then begins to groan in shock as Elizabeth says they will be together forever. The film then cuts to black.


  • James Lorinz as Jeffrey Franken
  • Patty Mullen as Elizabeth Shelley
  • Joanne Ritchie as Mrs. Shelley
  • Paul-Felix Montez as Goldie
  • Joseph Gonzalez as Zorro the Pimp
  • J.J. Clark as Mr. Shelley
  • Greg Martin as Rufus McClure
  • Carissa Channing as Dolores
  • Shirl Bernheim as Elizabeth's Grandmother
  • Hannah York as Mary Jane
  • Helmar Augustus Cooper as Detective Anderson
  • Heather Hunter as Chartreuse
  • Louise Lasser as Mrs. Franken
  • Charlotte Kemp (credited as Charlotte Helmkamp) as Honey
  • Lia Chang as Crystal
  • Kimberly Taylor as Amber
  • Shirley Stoler as Spike the Bartender


Frankenhooker's initial release was delayed because of difficulty obtaining an R rating from the MPAA; the director recalls that one representative of the ratings body actually said, in a phone call to the production company's secretary, "Congratulations, you're the first film rated S." And she said, "S? For sex?" And they said, "No, S for shit."[2] To his dismay, Henenlotter's conservative parents insisted on attending the film's premiere in New York City; Henenlotter expressed surprise that they were not offended by the exploitative elements.[3]


Variety wrote, "Frankenhooker is a grisly, grotesque horror comedy recommended only for the stout of heart and strong of stomach."[4] Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote that "there is a legitimate sense of the absurd lurking within Frank Henenlotter's Frankenhooker," but it is "overshadowed by special effects" and elements that recall soft-core pornography.[5] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it a "hilarious, totally outrageous grin-and-gore comedy."[6]

Frankenhooker was named "Killer B Film of the Year for 1990" by E! Entertainment Television's Attack of the Killer B's segment.

Bill Murray was quoted as saying "If you see one movie this year, it should be Frankenhooker." Henenlotter said that Murray had been editing his film Quick Change and hung out with the Frankenhooker crew. After Murray expressed interest in their film, the distributor attempted to get an endorsement from him. Embarrassed that they would abuse Murray's friendliness, Henenlotter attempted to avoid Murray. When they eventually ran into each other, Henenlotter apologized and explained that he was not responsible. Satisfied with the explanation, Murray volunteered a quotation.[7]

Home media[edit]

Frankenhooker was released on VHS in 1990, by Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment, and had an interactive box which had the titular character exclaim "wanna date?!" when you pressed a button on the box.

On November 8, 2011, Synapse Films released Frankenhooker on Blu-Ray. This edition has reversible cover art, with the original theatrical poster on one side and newly commissioned artwork on the reverse side. The disc contains a 2K high definition transfer of the film and a digitally remastered 5.1 audio mix, as well as an audio commentary track from writer/director Frank Henenlotter and make-up effects designer Gabe Bartalos, three featurettes and the original theatrical trailer.[8] The special features from this release were also available on the DVD version of the film, released on September 10, 2013.

On January 2nd, 2012, Arrow Films released a special edition Blu-Ray of Frankenhooker. Like the Synapse release before it, this edition also has reversible cover art, featuring both the original theatrical poster art and newly commissioned art (different from the Synapse version). This edition includes many UK exclusives, including an audio commentary from Henenlotter and star James Lorinz, a documentary titled "Your Date's on a Place" and a tour of Gabe Bartalos' effects lab in Los Angeles. It also includes all three featurettes from the Synapse release, as well as trailers for the films Basket Case, Basket Case 2 and Brain Damage, all of which were also directed by Henenlotter.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Frankenhooker box office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Bett, Alan (May 10, 2013). "Exploitation: An Interview with Frank Henenlotter". The Skinny. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  3. ^ Thompson, Tristan (May 31, 2013). "The Monster Movie Memories of a Brain-Damaged Basket Case: In conversation with Frank Henenlotter". Fangoria. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  4. ^ "Review: 'Frankenhooker'". Variety. 1990. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  5. ^ Canby, Vincent (June 15, 1990). "Frankenhooker (1990)". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  6. ^ Thomas, Kevin (June 1, 1990). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Frankenhooker': A Fun Slice of American Gothic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Frank Henenlotter!". Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links[edit]