Indie 35mm exploitation epic Frankenstein Created Bikers is a blood-spattered, transgressive shock opera
Atlanta-based filmmaker James Bickert made a splash some years back with a scrappy, obsessive and joyously-perverted 16mm bikersploitation romp called Dear God No!, a film filled with rape, murder and fetishized imagery that was less one of those dreaded “throwback” indie movies and more just an explosion of Bickert’s love of gutter trash blown out all over the screen like a freaky art installation.
While Dear God No! was a fun stunt, a neato one-shot expansion of its creator’s persona, the last thing anyone expected was a sequel and yet that’s exactly what Bickert has given us in Frankenstein Created Bikers. Getting his mitts on acres of unwanted 35mm film stock, Bickert and his colleagues/cronies at his fledgling collective Big World Pictures went the route of Bikersploitation pioneers American International Pictures (AIP) and came up with a title (a nod to both the Roger Vadim film And God Created Woman and the Hammer quote Frankenstein Created Woman) and a killer poster. When there was enough social media interest, Bickert launched a crowd-funding campaign and successfully cobbled together the modest (for a 35mm project) budget and pushed the picture into production. And we’re glad he did.
Frankenstein Created Bikers is demented and epic and even more depraved than its predecessor; a bacchanalia of bouncing bare breasts, bushy beards, stylized smut-speak, spilled blood and body fluids and so many nods to trash cinema’s past that I’m surprised Bickert didn’t get whiplash. Maybe he did. Taking place not that far after the fiery climax of Dear God No!, the film sees the macho and murderous outlaw biker crew The Impalers back in action, even though they were, y’know, dead when we last saw them. The mad doctor from the first film has brought them back from the grave and, a la Herbert West, has hooked their rotting bodies on reagent, their addiction keeping them at the mercy of the sick scientist who himself is also addicted to the drug. The Human Centipede II‘s Laurence Harvey plays a Peter Lorre-esque sidekick who gets off on petty tortures like dumping buckets of thumb tacks into the basement prison where poor, endlessly-screaming Ellie Church and other captive women are kept, themselves tools in the good bad Doc’s mad schemes to bring his undead, decapitated daughter (Madeline Brumby) back to full feminine form. If you’re a filmmaker reading this and have ever wanted to helm a remake of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, stop dreaming right now. Bickert beat you to it.
With us so far? Good.
Tristan Risk plays the one-eyed amalgam of Snake Plissken, Tura Satana and Christina Lindberg’s character in Thriller: A Cruel Picture, roaring into town and trying to take over a rival gang’s operation, snarling all her dialogue and looking great poured into skin-tight black denim. Jett Bryant steals every scene as the zombified leader of The Impalers, voicing Bickert’s near-Shakespearean expository pontificating dialogue while sh*t blows up around him and body parts fly. Sex and nudity is wall-to-wall and offensive asides abound, including the staggering bit where a raving mad female prisoner mimics an unhealthy, co-dependent mother/child relationship with her aborted fetus. Yes, you read that right. And yet, like the unsavory work of the great Jess Franco (whom Bickert is a huge fan of and who he quotes here, especially during the women-in-prison stretches), none of this revolting, salacious stuff is ugly or upsetting. It’s all so arch, so over the edge and pitched well past 11 that it’s all rather endearing; like a bunch of rascally kids — a la John Waters and his Dreamlanders crew — just decided to join the circus and put on the show of shows. Everyone in this movie is having fun. And by proxy, so are we, even when watching gore-caked dames vomit onto filthy floors and body parts being rudely removed every few minutes.
Some have said that Bickert could have shortened the film, that at 125 minutes (!) the movie could have lost 45 minutes of dialogue and just focused on the “good stuff.” Wrong! The dialogue IS the good stuff. Bickert plays with language like it’s jazz, bouncing alliteration around and syllables and sounds until we’re dizzy from the rhythm. The script is the secret sauce of the movie, in fact; it’s the art that weaves itself in and around the ample waves of trash.
There’s no other movie out there like Frankenstein Created Bikers. You can order your feature-packed Blu-ray direct from Big World Pictures. Do it! Support ingeniously sick and vile visionary indie filmmaking!