The Bride of Frank (2004)
By: Mr Intolerance on July 12, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Sub Rosa Studios (USA). All Regions, NTSC 4:3. English 2.0. 89 minutes
The Movie
Director: Escalpo Don Balde
Starring: Frank O'Brien, Johnny Horizon, Chick Carter
Screenplay: Escalpo Don Balde
Music: James P Maresca and Arnell Dowret
Tagline: Too disturbing to watch…too compelling to turn away
Country: USA
When a DVD has an endorsement by Howard Stern on the back cover, I start to worry…

Meet Frank: a lonely, homeless, breast-fixated, occasionally psychotic driver's helper for a delivery company. He's almost a mascot to the guys he works with, pitied by them and to a certain extent looked after by them, too. Example #1: they let him live in the office, surrounded by his menagerie of equally homeless cats. Example #2: when Frank repeatedly demands tits, they take him down to the local titty-bar. Example #3: they throw Frank a birthday party in the delivery dock and give him presents such as a butcher knife and an inflatable sex sheep, before encouraging him to bloodily decapitate an irritating passer-by with a lump of 2x4. Nice guys.

In the opening scene of this "film", Frank entices a little girl (maybe 7 years old, maybe 8) into the cab of his truck. He then strikes her about the head with a pipe which looks about as threatening as the black puddings in the "Ecky-Thump" episode of The Goodies, killing her. It's quite a shocking opening with both paedophilic and necrophiliac overtones which IN NO WAY sets the tone for the rest of the film.

The Bride of Frank is Troma-esque comedy: the title of the film should make the comedic element reasonably apparent, and the Elsa Lanchester hair on one character at the end of the film cements the pun on, or more accurately the direct reference to James Whale's 1935 Universal classic, The Bride of Frankenstein. There's even an "It lives!" monster animation scene in the excruciatingly bad dream sequence. Don't let my reference to Troma (great titles, crap films) put you off – this is much more entertaining than any of Troma's rubbish, and much more tasteless, too.

I like gross-out humour, which this film has in spades, but there were a few bits I found pretty hard to deal with. I won't spoil the film for you, but keep your eye out for the following: 1. How Frank gets those stubborn understains out of his undies; 2. What happens when some foolish fellow ignores Frank's threat to rip off his head and shit down his neck; 3. The 300lb cock-tease.

What we get here is a few weeks in Frank's life, culminating with him going through an increasingly more farcical series of "dates" as lonely old Frank tries to find a bride. The film is played (that disturbing intro aside) strictly for laughs. Lots of dick and fart jokes, slapstick gross-out violence and patently ridiculous situation humour. No brains required – get your mates in, get the beers in – I'd recommend not ordering the pizzas, however…might be a bit difficult to keep 'em down.

One sticking point for me is that the guy playing Frank actually was a homeless alcoholic (according to the press kit) who after many years on the street is a pretty damaged customer. He shuffles and shambles around the set, is barely comprehensible to put it mildly (he's quite often subtitled), and I just can't work out if his situation was being exploited or not. It's like if Charles Bukowski had REALLY let himself go and gone down the slippery slope of self-parody. I found it made me stop laughing at points – his life must have really been fucked; are the directors making us laugh with him, or at him?
This is one aspect of this film that really lets the viewer down. A very soft picture, presented full frame, with a number of glitches. The curse of ultra-low budget film making, I guess.
On the back cover it quite clearly claims 9.1 Digital Surround, but in reality it only has two channels, though, in a system called "Buttersound". When I read that word, I went pale and had to steady myself on the furniture, thinking of the use butter is put to in Last Tango In Paris, and what that might entail for my listening experience here, but thankfully, that wasn't the case. It's all to do with surround sound, and is more fully explained in the special features. That aside, the sound is generally quite poor – often muffled to the point of incoherence (hence the subtitles – which are also used for emphasis in some cases).
Extra Features
This is where indie films never (usually) let you down, The Bride of Frank being no exception. There are loads and loads of extra features for the (maybe not so) discerning fan. There's a commentary track by the director, the technical director and Frank (who doesn't offer a great deal to the proceedings), a 30 minute alternate ending (definitely worth watching), a blooper reel (these always make me grind my teeth), 5 original trailers (all different), a deleted scene (you can tell why they cut it…), loads of promotional material, a featurette of Frank's appearance at a Swiss film festival and Parisienne holiday, a bunch of Easter eggs as well as a featurette on "What is Buttersound?", which is probably more for the audiophile tech-heads than technophobic Luddites like myself.
The Verdict
This has "cult classic" written all over it. And I think it knows it, too. With wider distribution, young men all over the world would be quoting lines from it in the same irritating fashion we all did at high school when we'd just discovered Eddie Murphy's old stand-up routines and Monty Python's Flying Circus. If gross-out humour is your bag, you'll love it. If you consider yourself above such things, run a mile from The Bride of Frank – ain't nothin' for you here. The day this gets a fully uncut Region 4 release, I'll eat my boots. You have been warned.
Movie Score
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