After watching the abomination known as Shark Exorcist, I expected this one to follow it right into the crapper. Low budget, bad acting, sub-par effects. Sharkenstein does have all of those…in the best possible way!
The film opens in black and white with silent movie font describing the legend of Frankenstein’s monster. It is now 1942 Germany. We see Nazis, wearing what look like trench coats made by Dickies, infiltrate and steal poor Doc Frankenstein’s sciencey stuff. This includes the creature’s heart and brain! What diabolical plans could these badly dressed Nazis have in mind?
Even at this early stage, I was taken aback by the effects. They almost seemed half animated. Like when Mary Poppins jumped into the chalk painting but if she had jumped in with a bum from a gas station parking lot. When a submarine emerges from the depths, the water looks like snot clinging to a five year old’s upper lip. I was already furrowing my brow and checking how long the movie’s running time was.
Modern times bring us to Katzman Cove, where boaters and bathers have gone missing. Very quickly, we get to see the patchwork fish approaching his first kill. Um, he is utterly adorbs! He either is growling or having an asthma attack as he leaps from the water to snatch his first victim from the beach. The monster is so cartoony and precious I can’t even stand it. It’s like a trunkless/earless elephant had a baby with your Grandma’s quilt. Squeeee! If they ever make a plush version of Sharkenstein it is totally going on my Xmas list.
The main group of characters are Madge, Coop and Skip. Poor nerdy Madge is stuck with these two buffoons as they rent a boat for the day. Meanwhile, the harbor patrol guy is finding bits and pieces of folks strewn about the seashore. He seems like a reasonable man. He has several conversations on his walkie to his dispatch, a snarky and exasperated woman who is actually rather funny. When we’re talking about sharksploitation movies, any little bit helps.
Our group takes off on the water with a boat captain who is mute. Perhaps the screenwriters had exhausted their capacity for dialogue and writing for a boat captain was just too much to ask. Nevertheless, the boat is disabled and the threesome decide to swim to an island closeby. Now, on this island lives Klaus, a Nazi wanna-be who controls the shark and gives it homicidal commands. The group stumbles upon his lair and ends up with a gun and a really bad German accent in their faces.
Turns out, Klaus has the heart and brain of the original Frankenstein’s monster and he plans on putting them inside the shark. We learn the thing is part great white, hammerhead, blue and mako. (Still, he looks like someone hit any kind of shark in the nose with a frying pan.) This, you see, is part of a great experiment designed to bring about an unstoppable new race who will start a war that the Nazis might win this time. He forces our heroes to assist in surgery just as a storm rolls in. Crash, bam and zap-a-dee-doo-da and we have ourselves a Sharkenstein.
Frankie’s brain doesn’t quite like being inside the bastard shark of a thousand maniacs, so he is a little unstable. Klaus can’t control his new creation and things get a touch out of control.
Ok, folks. The latter part of this movie sends it ass deep into my top ten list of all time favorites. The looney tunes leviathan turns into a claymation carnivore that would make Harryhausen set himself on fire. I can’t tell you what happens. Just know it is both cringe worthy and toe-curlingly fantastic. Think blue, buff and bolts through the neck.
By the end, I had developed a girl crush on our sweet Madge. In one scene, it’s as if the movie pauses while she gives us an impressive rehash of Frankenstein movie history. Madge, let’s make out and go to trivia night. You complete me.
Well, we all know, and Madge could certainly tell you, that the monster’s heart and brain can never be destroyed! Will we be so lucky as to be graced with a sequel to this ridiculous and unbelievably charming little film?
Please, oh please??
See ya next time!