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Of Immorality and Immortality, A Film Review of "Frankenstein's Patchwork Monster", by Alec Frazier and Autistic Reality
The City of Buffalo, New York and the surrounding areas are home to over forty independent film studios. The amount of arts proliferation in this area is truly amazing. One of the most creative individuals in the Buffalo area is Emil Novak, Senior. Mr. Novak is the owner and operator of the oldest bookstore in Buffalo, New York, Queen City Comic Book Store. Mr. Novak is the owner and operator of Buffalo Comicon, the biggest independent comic book convention in Western New York. Mr. Novak is the founder and coordinating proprietor for Visions Comic Art Group, a group in Buffalo, New York that makes local comics. Another thing that Mr. Novak does is run an independent film production studio, Buffalo Nickel Productions. In this blog entry, I wish to discuss Mr. Novak's latest film, "Frankenstein's Patchwork Monster".
"Frankenstein's Patchwork Monster" is a mix between thriller, intellectual, steam punk, romance, and historical fiction. One early storyline in the film follows Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Tara Rosado) at that fateful party where she decided to author the book Frankenstein, or, a Modern Prometheus. There is a great unease amongst the rest of the party over the topic of alchemy. In this case, alchemy implies the reanimation of the dead into living. Pay attention to Lord Byron (Jason John Beebe), as he pops up later in the story.
Victor Frankenstein (Bill Kennedy) is an immoral man, aided by his almost equally immoral assistant, Herman (Patrick Mallette), and their strange companion, Proteus from the Erie Lagoon (Sean Sanders), a strange amphibious creature. Victor Frankenstein thinks nothing of endless experimentation upon both the dead and the living. He commissions two famous grave robbers, Burke and Hare (Bob Bozek, Mike Schiabarrasi), who were real life figures, and have gone down in British legend. Burke and Hare serve as comic relief in the film. Although to a great deal immoral, Herman's love for his wife (Melantha Blackthorne) knows no bounds. Victor, however, is jealous of Herman's relationship with his wife, and desires her for himself. It soon becomes clear that Victor is willing to murder and rape to get what he wants.
Arguably the best part of the film comes as Victor has finally created a successful monster. He spends a great deal of time with the creature (Daniel James), watching with fascination as the creature discovers the world. However, the creature starts reading through Victor's journals and discovers the horrible truth, the truth that Victor is completely immoral and has practically sold his soul whilst pursuing his ultimate goal, immortality. The showdown that commences in Victor's laboratory is an epic match of words. The creature accuses Victor of being completely immoral in his search for immortality. Victor argues that immortality is worth the great sacrifice that he has made. The creature leaves Victor, who is left with only Proteus as a sympathetic companion. Victor then performs the final procedure to grant himself immortality, and sets Proteus free. Victor soon learns that rumors of his dastardly deeds have led to the creation of Shelley's book. He spends the rest of his thankless existence cursing the immortal fame that he has been granted, because others are reaping the rewards.
"Frankenstein's Patchwork Monster" is an original take on a greatly repeated tail. This alone makes it worth watching. Another factor that makes the film highly commendable is the fact that it kept itself completely local to the Buffalo area. Local actors, local sets, local locations. Mr. Novak takes great pains to make sure that things are appropriate to their era. Victor Frankenstein's lab in this film is much more contextually accurate than any other representation I have seen of the same lab. Amazingly, the set for the laboratory was completely constructed in Mr. Novak's basement. The film is highly intellectualized, which leads to occasional slow pacing, and the effects are low-budget. There are some editing errors in the film as well. Nonetheless, this is a story worth seeing for many reasons, including those philosophical, romantic, and terrific. We at Autistic Reality give this film eight out of ten stars. Is immortality truly worth the immorality? See the film, and decide for yourself!