Will we get a good Frankenstein’s monster film in the modern era? Seriously, what’s the last good film based on Shelley’s classic character? Young Frankenstein? Monster Squad? Both phenomenal films, but neither particularly serious, and make no mistake, Frankenstein is serious stuff.
Well, the next round of adaptations is coming from 1019 Entertainment, who are pondering creating a franchise based on a series of novels by shlock-horror author extraordinaire, Dean Koontz. The series takes the original creature and puts him in modern-day New Orleans, and has a thoroughly bizarre storyline and cast of characters. I’ve read the first two, “The Prodigal Son” and “City of Night” and they were, much like most of Koontz’s work, long on ideas and short on execution (although I maintain that “Strangers” is a pretty good book).. Still, there are worse ways to spend a plane ride, I guess.
The first book’s synopsis should tell you all you need to know about how weird it is:
Dr. Frankenstein has survived into the 21st century, masquerading as biotech tycoon Victor Helios. Helios wants to replace flawed humanity with his New Race, people born and fermented in pods, their personalities programmed by him, their imperfections removed in the lab. But at least one of his creations has become a serial killer, trying to assemble the perfect woman from parts of many. Like expert plate-spinners, the authors set up a dizzying array of narrative viewpoints and cycle through them effortlessly. These include one of Victor’s creations who suffers from autism and is trying to understand it; a cloned priest who serves as a clandestine member of Helios’s army; Helios’s custom-made wife, unique among his creations in that she’s allowed to feel shame; and, tying it all together, a classic buddy-cop set of homicide detectives who slowly come to understand that the butcher they’re chasing isn’t quite human.
Yeah. I know. In the series, the Monster calls himself Deucalion and is something of an enigmatic hero. Oh, and he can teleport. No, seriously. He can fucking teleport.
In any event, the novels (or at least the two out of six that I read) are strange and overstuffed but I can see them being entertaining on the big screen if done right (that’ll happen, I’m sure). It was previously adapted into a 2004 TV movie for USA called Frankenstein, or Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein, or Diet Stephen King’s Frankenstein, or some shit. It was directed by Marcus Nispel (the new Conan - uh oh…) and had the kookiest cast ever — Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg and, of course, Michael Madsen. All I know is that I watched it, and it was fucking horrendous. I mean… think of the worst Sci-Fi Channel movie you’ve ever seen. Ever. Then punch yourself in the face and jump into a vat of enraged scorpions who only like to sting human genitals. It’s a billion times worse than all of things combined. It was seriously fucking terrible. You can find a trailer for it on IMDB, but I wouldn’t waste your time. It actually makes it look decent. It’s not.
Anyway, my guess is the first one will flop and the concept will disappear into obscurity. Besides, it can’t be worse than Van Helsing. NOTHING will ever be worse than Van Helsing.