CUFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Frank & Zed’

Posted in CUFF 2021, Festival Coverage, Movies by - April 24, 2021
CUFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Frank & Zed’

Back in 2018, Happytime Murders was released promising an adult tale with puppets, the likes of which hadn’t been seen in decades. But it failed miserably. It’s not too hard to imagine that director Jesse Blanchard and his crew would be concerned about what effect, if any, that failure might have on their then already in production Frank & Zed. But where Happytime failed ultimately in going far enough with its premise, Frank & Zed stops at nothing to provide the goriest puppet massacre on record.

Frank, a Frankenstein’s monster-like creation, lives in an abandoned castle with Zed, a zombie, in a symbiotic relationship. But when a local magistrate has eyes on the throne and looks to trigger an ancient prophecy that may or may not involve the pair of reanimated corpses, he sets Frank up to set things in motion. Events escalate until the final “Orgy of Blood” plays out as prophesized.

For a film with only puppets, Blanchard and company do not hold back on the puss and gore in the slightest. The number of puppets alone must have been staggering to build as many are soaked through and or mutilated along the way. The film also shows multiple puppet transformations to members of the undead which are extremely well done.

Through the course of the film though, Frank and Zed become secondary characters in their own story as the corruption and greed of the magistrate and priest become focal points, along with the heroics of some villagers.

That said, the film moves along at a decent clip, and the final 20 minutes or so siege sequence is a lot of fun. Harkening back to the cult classic Peter Jackson film’s Meet the Feebles or even Bad Taste, Frank & Zed seems destined for many late-night viewings to come.

  • Release Date: 4/23/2021
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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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