BRIDE OF FRANK
This shot-on-video monstrosity can be characterized any number of
ways--the ultimate Party Movie, the PINK FLAMINGOS of our day, a
severely guilty pleasure--but I’ll sum it up like this: if you like your
trashy movies served up wet and runny than you’ll doubtless enjoy THE
BRIDE OF FRANK.
The joke behind this movie, about a derelict who does
odd jobs for a New Jersey trucking company, is that this is the actual
background of its protagonist, a real life homeless man named Frank
Meyer. His trucker companions likewise play themselves.
But that’s where reality ends and the sick, perverted
joyride concocted by
writer/producer/director/cinematographer/editor/co-star Steve Ballot,
a.k.a. “Escalpo Don Balde,” begins. The five-year production had no
budget to speak of (which is evident throughout), and nor was there much
in the way of a script (with Ballot reciting the dialogue on set and
having his performers repeat it). Since its 1996 film festival bow THE
BRIDE OF FRANK has become a cult legend, and justifiably so.
Frank is a butt-ugly, false teeth wearing geezer who
works for a sleazy trucking company. He has a hair-trigger temper, which
he unleashes on a small-time mobster who unwisely scolds Frank. Frank
responds by biting the guy’s wang off and then returning to work
(“Take that dick outta your mouth!” his supervisor scolds).
More killings follow, all covered up by Frank’s
obliging co-workers. The victims include an unfortunate buck-toothed
nerd who mouths off to Frank, who in turn threatens to rip off the
nerd’s head and shit down his neck--and that’s exactly what he does!
But Frank is a softie at heart. After inadvertently
deflating his cherished blow-up fuck doll, he decides it’s time to find
a flesh and blood mate. Frank’s co-workers place an ad for prospective
wives in the local paper (with the stipulation that respondents “must
have big tits”). Several undesirable women answer the ad, including a
potty-mouthed kung fu expert. After the latter insults Frank and kicks
him several times, he offs her by jabbing a knife through her chin.
Another respondent gives Frank a blow job and then
reveals “her” self as a trannie. Frank rips off part of the freak’s face
and jams a hand through his neck. But the nastiest murder is saved for a
fat chick who puts on a shitty dance routine for Frank and then insults
him. He tells her he’s going to rip out her eye and skull fuck her--and
means what he says!
How you respond to this film’s opening sequence--of
Frank running over a little girl’s head and then eating her brains--will
determine your enjoyment of the rest of the movie. Yes, THE BRIDE OF
FRANK is trashy, crude and often downright nauseating, but it’s also
oddly endearing and damned funny.
What Steve Ballot does here is similar to the
accomplishments of quite a few no-budget auteurs, among them
and John Waters: he’s compensated for his paltry budget and talent with
a succession of outrageous taboo-shattering sequences. If the real job
of a movie (as filmmaker
Werner Herzog has claimed) is to show
us new and arresting images than this one succeeds admirably. I’ve never
seen a man get his head ripped off and his neck used as a toilet, as
happens in this film, nor a guy picking his nose and lining his boogers
up on a desk--and how about the skull-fucking shown herein? Somehow I
don’t think you’ll be seeing such things in a Hollywood production.
Love it or hate it, THE BRIDE OF FRANK is a
one-of-a-kind accomplishment, staking out its own shit-stained,
filth-encrusted, maggot-ridden niche. As Ballot intones on his DVD audio
commentary, “I pioneered a new filmmaking movement, just like a new
bowel movement--here’s another piece of shit to watch.” I couldn’t
have said it better myself!
THE BRIDE OF FRANK
A New Movement/The School of Hyperrealism
Director/Producer/Screenwriter/Cinematographer/Editor: “Escalpo Don
Balde” (Steve Ballot)
Cast: Frank Meyer, Steve Ballot, Johnny Horizon, Morgan Tara, Victor
Delvalle, Bruce Frankel, Jim Moresca, Arnell Dowret, Eric Kaplan, Eddie
Regan, Sal Mogavero, Bernard Briley, Sergio Lopez, Charles Gambino