Saturday, July 13, 2024

“Lisa Frankenstein” is a gothic twist on teen romance and horror

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Featured graphic by Larry Rincon

Story by Larry Rincon

With a hint of  “Bonnie and Clyde” and the humor of the modern teen, the season of love gets an early head start with Zelda William’s chaotic horror comedy “Lisa Frankenstein.” 

The film follows teenage girl Lisa Swallows, played by Kathyrn Newton, who moves alongside her father to a new town following the murder of her mother. She finds solace in a supposedly haunted graveyard and even finds herself with a favorite tombstone. After the graveyard is struck by lightning, the corpse of Lisa’s beloved tombstone comes to life and the two become caught up in murder after murder as they restore the newly revived corpse.

“Frankenstein” is a novel with several iterations and many different takes, most of which abandon the original concept that the true monster is Victor Frankenstein and not The Creature he made. “Lisa Frankenstein” also doesn’t follow the story Mary Shelly wrote, but Williams took a fun campy take on the classic story.

Set in the 1980’s, the bright colorful clothing, neon lights, and aesthetic hair and makeup are right up my alley. The time period also allows for crude and sexualized jokes as well as overly dramatic characters and stereotypes.

Newton’s character started off as introverted and awkward, but once The Creature came to life she slowly embraced a new gothic look and daring personality. Witnessing the murder of her mother may have led her to select mutism, but watching her step-mother die loosened her tongue. Bursting out of one’s shell has never been more psychotic. 

The movie barely qualifies as a romance film. Cole Sprouse plays The Creature, and throughout the film a tanning bed brings back the beauty he once was during the Victorian era. While the Creature has a romantic attachment to Lisa, Lisa is head of heels for a newspaper editor named Michael Trent. 

Because of her school girl crush, Lisa opts to have a mutually beneficial relationship with The Creature. He listens to her thirst over a guy, then murders the people who threaten her or make her life miserable. Lisa of course helps him attach his newly resourced body parts, and exposes him to the new world.

It isn’t until the last 15 minutes of the film where Lisa finally understands that The Creature loves her dearly, and dramatically changes her mind asking him to cross her biggest goal in life off. 

As campy as this film is, the acting and dialogue is just the right amount of cringe and cliche. Newton makes Lisa the kind of character who gives the audience second hand embarrassment with her niche interests and bad social interactions.

Lisa’s sister Taffy, played by Liza Soberano, was one of the best characters in the film. I expected her to be a narcissistic character being a cheerleader during that time period, but she was the one who accepted Lisa the most.

The film isn’t anything new or different from most other slashers out there, if you liked movies like “Totally Killer” “Freaky” or “Heathers” this is definitely for you. “Lisa Frankenstein” is a turn your brain off kind of movie, and a great start for William’s feature length film career.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Instagram at MTSUSidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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