Lisa Frankenstein (2024) Blu-ray Review

4 Min Read

Diablo Cody (Jennifer's Body) wears her influences, boldly, throughout this movie, but manages to do it without being bland or grating.

As an 80s kid, I wear my influences on my sleeve, especially where horror movies (culture) are concerned. I have spent untold hours glued to TV and theatre screens watching movies good, bad, and really bad, and in some cases really good,

Months ago, I was walking through my local AMC Theater and happened to walk past a movie poster with a pregnant and bright pink full moon with lovers silhouetted in the foreground. Below them in pink and cadaver green letters was the film's title 'Lisa Frankenstein'!

I don't know why my reaction was so visceral and immediate, but I began to shake my head and rant to my buddy about how stupid this movie must be, and I became annoyed and bemoaned all the things wrong with modern movies. We mocked the title of the film as we walked out of the theater and continued to discuss the more serious horror films of the last 10 years, Hereditary, Midsommar, et al., and vowing never to waste my precious time watching a movie titled LISA FRANKENSTEIN.

Fast forward months later and I was asked to review the same film I had been mocking. Again, shaking my head in incredulity and wonder. However, after watching Lisa Frankenstein, I couldn't have been more off the mark.

Diablo Cody and Zelda Williams have crafted a wonderful movie about love, death, and a young woman's coming of age in 1989, while navigating the vagaries of house parties, boys' roaming hands, and not to mention, reanimated corpses vying for her romantic attention.

In case you are not familiar with this movie, here's a synopsis:

Lisa Frankenstein is a coming-of-Rage love story about a teenager and her crush, who happens to be a corpse. After a set of horrific circumstances bring him back to life, the two embark on a journey to find love, happiness - and a few missing body parts.

I immediately responded to the look and feel of this movie, the garish colors and styles screamed 80's teen movie, but it was done very well, including the costumes and hairstyles; they got everything right for 1989! 

Kathryn Newton stars as Lisa, the unpopular new girl at her school. She recently suffered a tragic loss - her mother was murdered in front of her by a killer with an axe. Her father remarried the (wicked) stepmother, Janet, played perfectly by the dynamic Carla Gugino.

The rest of the family is Dale (Joe Chrest) as the clueless father, and Taffy (Liza Soberano), Lisa's glib, but caring in her own banal way, stepsister. 

Diablo Cody (Jennifer's Body) wears her influences, boldly, throughout this movie, but manages to do it without being bland or grating. 

Not to mention the numerous horror references throughout, first and foremost, the movie gives off strong Weird Science vibes, with a female perspective.

Then there's the funny scene when Carla Gugino's character, Janet, yells upstairs for Lisa, and she responds: Damnit! Janet! An obvious Rocky Horror reference or the scene where Lisa is watching George A. Romero's Day of the Dead on TV (one of my favorites), as the "creature" (Cole Sprouse) breaks into the house. 

Quite often, horror comedies just don't work. They lose the tone, or the jokes fall flat, but I enjoyed the darkness of the tone of this film, while it managed to be humorous as well. I felt it was similar to American Werewolf in London in its ability to find humor amongst the dead.

This is not an entirely bloodless film, although the rating is one of my main complaints. This would have benefitted from an R-rating, but they did an admirable job of keeping Lisa as an anti-hero, which I enjoyed. I also liked the ending of this movie as it wasn't wrapped up in a neat little package. Nothing ruins a horror movie more than a saccharine ending. Well done to Diablo Cody for writing an ending befitting the rest of the film.

I will not say more, for fear of spoiling it.

The movie itself looks fantastic, with a vibrant and lurid 80's color palette, taking full advantage of the 1080p resolution, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. 

The slasher decade is on full display, down to Janet's pink, monstrosity of a house, and her colorful wardrobe, as well as the darkened, creepily serene cemetery, where Lisa first encounters (revives) the grave of her rancid suitor. 

The movie sounds as good as it looks, with an English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.

However, keep in mind this is not an action movie with tons of explosions. But in the scene where the creature is playing piano and Lisa is singing - of all things an REO Speed Wagon tune, - you can hear her soft whispering clearly, and all the dialog is always front and center.

Also, there are plenty of blood-curdling screams and monster moans to fill the horror requirements and are sure to make Mary Shelley proud.

Finally, as always, the extras provide a nice incentive to purchase this set and Lisa Frankenstein has some pretty good ones.  The extras include the digital copy, Universal trailers,   deleted scenes, gag reel, "An Electric Connection", "Resurrecting The 80's", "A Dark Comedy Duo", and Commentary by Zelda Williams. 

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. I think I learned a valuable lesson, not to judge a movie by its title, although I feel the movie was passed over due to the title and could have been better served with something stronger.

All in all, Lisa Frankenstein is worth a watch. You will find yourself cheering for the monster to get the girl, and for Lisa to find true love, despite the various shortcomings like her boyfriend missing an ear or a hand, or him being totally, like, Dead

Grade: B

Directed By:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 101 minutes
Distributed By: Focus Features

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For more information about Lisa Frankenstein visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Leonard Buccellato please click here.

Lisa Frankenstein images are courtesy of Focus Features. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Leonard   Buccellato

Leonard's lifelong passion for movies began at a young age with his fascination for the horror classic Blacula. This love of movies has inspired him to explore his creative interests, resulting in his writing of short stories and co-producing a web series. Currently, he is developing a horror novel, showcasing his love of storytelling. His diverse interests, including his enjoyment of Dungeons and Dragons, make him a multifaceted individual committed to exploring new ideas and experiences through movies and literature.

Read More Lisa Frankenstein Reviews

Movie / Film Review
While other works by Diablo Cody have found success in blending elements, 'Lisa Frankenstein' falls short in achieving this.
Full Review | Grade: D


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