The Frankenstein Theory (2013)
This indie docu-drama is the best film on the Frankenstein mythos since Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound (1990). The film postulates that Mary Shelley’s novel wasn’t fiction, but based on an actual genetic experiment performed by Mendel precursor Dr. Venkenheim, circa 1770’s. Venkenheim’s descendant (Kris Lemche) finances an expedition to the fringes of the Arctic region to prove his point. The crew includes Jonathon Venkenheim, documentary filmmaker Heather (Heather Stephens), camera-man Kevin (Brian Henderson) and sound technician Eric (Eric Zuckerman), and gritty Quint-like guide-frontiersman Karl (played to the hilt by Timothy V. Murphy). Along the way the crew also meets a wacked out meth junkie Clarence (Joe Egender), who allegedly met the monster while gazing at the Aurora borealis.
The Frankenstein Theory was written by Vlady Pildysh and Andrew Weiner, from a story from Pildysh. It is low-key. Don’t expect a whole lot of action, but sit back and enjoy the ride. I found the photography, filmed in Alaska, to be a highlight. Murphy also gives a humdinger of a monologue reminiscent of Quint’s USS Indy tale from Jaws (1975). The film uses a hand-held camera “film within a film” approach, but it is not a found footage film. Director Andrew Weiner has fabricated a thoughtful, fresh and original approach to the Frankenstein mythos. My only gripe would be the over use of the night-time infra-red photography effect (ala Finding Bigfoot), which has become all-too gimmicky and convenient (it worked in The Decent and The Blair Witch Project, but not so well here).
Still, this is terrific indie filmmaking and the reason why I gamble, occasionally, on streaming a video. Now, I will buy it for my collection. Great film! Here’s the trailer: