Indie grindhouse director Matthew Saliba manages to pay tribute to Mary Shelly’s immortal tale of a man made monstrosity gone horribly awry by assembling a multitude of talented and brilliant indie visionaries, all of whom come aboard “Frankenstein Unlimited” to tell their tales of Shelly’s monster. Tasked with the mission to re-think and re-structure the entire idea of Mary Shelly’s grotesque machination of science and vanity, anyone who has managed to keep up with Saliba and his projects in the past will know that this is definitely his most ambitious film to date. Here Saliba plays more a coordinator and producer of various talents than taking center stage, in spite of his contribution to the roster. Through a series of short films that make up ninety minutes, Saliba and a slew of artists concoct their own image of Shelly’s tale by placing the narrative in to many different time periods, and genres testing the waters for a story that’s proven to be surprisingly resilient in the face of changing mediums and pop culture.
No concept is too wacky, no story too complex in what is a genuinely entertaining and compelling anthology of shorts that will appeal to any fan of Shelly’s literature. Saliba offers up his own Gothic S&M take on Frankenstein that revolves around a vicious murder, and a surviving fetus that manages to grow in to a sadistic beauty inflicting unspeakable pain on the men who attempted to destroy it. Kayden Rose is the vengeful being whose mission of bloodshed leads a particularly gruesome little finale as Saliba conducts this short in the form of his usual creations through striking photography, and sharp cinematography. There is also “Victor” a thoughtful look at the aftermath of Victor Frankenstein’s horror after his monster has been killed that has turned him in to a pariah, and “Flesh for Kung Fu,” sadly a clunker in an otherwise stellar compilation starring the immortal Gordon Liu. “Reflection” is one of the more thought provoking pieces of the series in which a deformed young girl discovers her true ugliness to her friends when she is able to repair her face, and there is of course “Occam’s Razor.” My absolute favorite of the bunch, director Peter James concocts a gritty, clever, and utterly compelling crime thriller revolving around two seemingly disconnected psychopaths who have taken it upon themselves to murder relatives of government officials.
When the detectives learn both murderers have had surgical transplants from the same deceased criminal they once confronted, events soon begin to spiral out of control in to a surprise ending I just couldn’t catch my breath from. Invoking films like “Rashomon,” and “Double Indemnity,” James’ opus is absolutely masterful. Topping off the insanity is Martin Gauthier’s “Mr. Fluffenstein” a hysterical dark comedy in the vein of “Frankenweenie” involving a little girl who re-animates her dead cat that becomes a robotic killing machine, and the neighborhood that takes it upon themselves to take it down… or at least try to. If they can stop bickering long enough. While many audiences will pick and choose which among the selection are their favorites, there’s no doubt that Matthew Saliba’s indie experiment is much more than a film, and is a bonafide experience for anyone who appreciates top notch filmmaking or a different perspective on Mary Shelly’s horror opus.