First, the bad news: Frankenthug comes from the folks who brought you the unholy trio of Zombiez, Vampiyaz, and Bloodz vs. Wolvez. Now, the good news: There’s no “Z” in the title! Actually, Frankenthug might be the best of this dubious bunch, in part because it actually makes an attempt to create something that resembles a monster (rather than just pointing at someone and saying, “Look, he’s a zombie!”). The monster, who’s never named in the film (for the sake of argument, let’s call him Frank), is a collection of spare body parts from the morgue brought to life by Dr. Williams (Kenneth Hopper), a self-professed “doctor of psychology.” I couldn’t grasp why a psychologist would want to animate a dead body, so the whole concept of “how” never entered my mind (make that one thing the screenwriter and I have in common).
One day, the doctor is busy “discreetly” dumping body parts into what looks like THE EAST RIVER, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. He notices a young lady jump into the water in a (rather lame, given she’s five feet up) suicide attempt and rescues her. Her name is Shana (Lila Dean), and she’s distraught because her gambling addiction has cost her her boyfriend, her sweet telemarketing job and has her on the run for attempted robbery and involuntary manslaughter. When Shana awakens in Dr. Williams’ apartment, he offers her a place to stay and a job “doing chores” (wink, wink) in his home office. It doesn’t take long, of course, for her to discover Frank in his back room laboratory (Again, psychologists have labs?).
Frank is tall, dark and mentally unstable with dreadlocks and a sloping forehead — sort of a cross between Bob Marley and Worf. Like Frankenstein‘s monster, he can’t speak — favoring grunts and barks — but unlike Mary Shelley’s creation, his fits of violence tend to end with someone getting eaten. He is technically a zombie, after all. Shana freaks out after seeing Frank, but the doc blackmails her into staying by threatening to turn her into the cops. Somehow he thinks that she can help “turn that monster into a man” (wink wink wink); he suggests she take him to a park and “give him some of you” (WINKWINKWINKWINK — Ow! My eye!).
She follows the doctor’s orders, taking Frank into the great outdoors and pointing out the beauty of nature: trees, grass, a dog. Frank stops to pet the dog. The dog bites him. He kills the dog. Then he kills the woman walking the dog. So much for that. May as well go gambling! Dice whore Shana takes Frank to roll some bones, but things turn nasty when the other players discover that her dice are loaded. They start arguing, and Frank comes to her rescue with typical poise, killing them all. In fact, you can just assume that Frank kills everyone if this film unless specified otherwise. He’s funny that way.