(The gist: Are Frankenstein monsters technically considered zombies? Ultimately, it does not matter. Frankenstein’s Army is a fun horror movie either way. Waiting for the parade of zombot creations is like moving through a haunted house. I loved it.)
Before this review, a question of horror philosophy. Are Frankenstein-style monsters considered zombies? I suppose by the broad definition of zombies as dead humans who have been reanimated, they most definitely are. They start as multiple dead people, in fact. However, the circumstances of reanimation, the assembly of numerous corpses by an outside party, potentially either makes these creations not zombies or an additional subcategory within zombies.
In Frankenstein’s Army, the doctor insists that his creations are still living. Do we take that to mean that their hearts beating and blood pumping or some other hallmark of life, or is he defining life by the machinery he has infused into the bodies? And if they are in fact still living or classified as “alive” and not the reanimated undead, could they be considered zombies?
Food for thought. And since the creations in Frankenstein’s Army are not feasting on the victims, rather serve their creator obediently, I am very tempted to not classify them in the zombie category. Whether they called Zombots or not.
Completely, regardless of whether the creatures in Frankenstein’s Army are zombies are not, the movie was quality horror for me.
Frankenstein’s Army follows, in well executed first person perspective (mockumentary, docudrama, pick your term), a Russian unit as they stumble upon a secret Nazi lab.
The mere idea of Nazis encapsulates one of the most horrific chapters in human history. Bringing that connotation, reaction, and imagery into the horror genre only amplifies any horror or disturbing subject matter that is going to be presented. Bringing Nazis into horror is like pouring that booster shot of tequila into a margarita. Sure, it is not completely necessary and might even be overkill at times, but it certainly increases the punch.
For me, watching Frankenstein’s Army felt like moving through a haunted house. The camera moved from room to room of a terrifying setting as creatures shifted in the background and popped out to scare me. I found myself on the edge of my seat, less because I was frightened and more because I could not wait to see what would emerge next.
The Nazi Frankenstein-esque creations ranged from the ridiculous to the comical to the disturbing to the frightening. All, however, were interesting. I could glean sufficient entertainment simply from watching to see what amalgamation of man and machine would emerge next. My personal favorite was the one with a saw as a long needle nose on elevated crutches.
The characters also grew on me. They were raw, flawed, realistic. As their situation became more dire, there base natures became more apparent. I enjoyed when the “cameraman” took on his own personality and role within the movie, and I loved the way things unfolded for them all.
It was fun. Watching the movie in its most active scenes was like riding a theme park ride or, as I said, moving through a haunted house. I can say I genuinely enjoyed the ride. From the creativity of the creations to the plot to the characters. The whole movie for me was simply enjoyable.