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Lisa Frankenstein (2024) | Review

A Camp Joyride


By Anonymous

Rating: 3.5/5


Photo courtesy of UPI Media

Lisa Frankenstein was released in theatres this year around Valentine’s Day and was received as underwhelming by most critics with a rotten tomatoes score of only 51%.


Perhaps its marketing, which centred mostly on the romantic aspects of the horror comedy, is the reason for the relatively un-enthusiastic reception. The movie was written by Diablo Cody, who also wrote Jennifer’s Body (2009), and is no stranger to marketing’s influence on the success or failure of a film - upon its release many viewers were disappointed by Jennifer’s Body which had been marketed as a sexy summer movie but has since become a feminist cult classic. 


Cody’s vision is clear to see in the feminist undertones of the story: the movie has been called a ‘coming of rage’ story, and portrays some enjoyable ‘good for her’ scenes such as Lisa’s assaulter losing his hand (and then his life). The dynamic between the main character and her step sister is also slightly reminiscent of the dynamic between Needy and Jennifer, where one of the girls is very traditionally girly and the other is not but neither is demonised for their expressions of femininity (although literally possessed by a demon in Jennifer’s case).


Kathryn Newton, who plays the wacky main character, didn’t hold back in her performance and instead fully leaned into the wackiness of the role which was an absolute joy to behold.

Newton is known from other campy comedy horror movies such as Freaky (2020), and more recently, Abigail (2024). The movie itself sets up its campy atmosphere perfectly with its colourful 80s costumes and production design. Lisa Frankenstein’s ‘monster’ gets a campy twist as well, as it is progressively revived by a tanning bed. Cole Sprouse’s ‘monster’ offers a queer reading of its ‘coming of age’ as a transmasculine character who gets a makeover and, as the culmination of Lisa’s efforts, gender reassignment surgery (i.e. a dick). 


Photo courtesy of UPI Media

While the movie has a slightly slow start and much of its humour relies on disgusting bodily fluids, reminiscent of such shows as Santa Clarita Diet (2017), the longer it keeps going, the sillier and funnier it gets. Peppered with nods to other iconic horror classics such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Tim Burton-esque animations, the latter half of the movie becomes a thoroughly enjoyable, camp joyride. Some of the jokes had the whole audience in my viewing laughing out loud because of the impeccable comedic timing and line delivery. I am certain that much like Jennifer’s Body, Lisa Frankenstein will become a Halloween staple, that, if not universally beloved, will become iconic to a niche audience. 




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