Mr. Stitch

Sometimes, when you decide to watch a particular film, you have no idea what you're stepping into.  I bought 1995's Mr. Stitch.  Okey-dokey.  It's a sci-fi thriller (getting sick of those, by the way).  Okey-dokey.  Hey, look at that!  It stars Rutger Hauer and Wil Wheaton.  Okey-dokey.  It was the first Sci-Fi Channel original movie ever made?  Oh dear Satan.  It all makes sense now.  There may not have been any sharknados or arachnoquakes, but Mr. Stitch is the special kind of rotten that only could have been brought to pass by that Comcast-branded magnate.  That knife-wielding Hitler youth.  That pillager of sacred ground (read: MST3K).  That...that!

I'm choosing to review it for two reasons.  1) It's a modified retelling of Frankenstein, so genre-wise, it's up to code.  You might even call it hep or hunky-dory.  2) It's an anomaly.  Mr. Stitch doesn't remind me of any other film in existence, except maybe for The Item.  They both begin with a dissuading, inhospitable strangeness that makes it difficult to finish the damn thing.  Like a bad piece of meat that is hard to swallow.  Halfway through production, Hauer began improvising his dialogue.  He snubbed the script entirely, forcing director Roger Avary (yes, that Roger Avary) to revise lines to correlate with whatever Hauer disgorged on set.

Knowing that, Rutger Hauer has leap-frogged to the top of my list of personal heroes.  I should try to put some of this into perspective.  Mr. Stitch isn't the worst tripe I've endured, but I definitely didn't enjoy a solitary second of it.  A group of scientists - led by Hauer's Dr. Wakeman - are tasked with concocting an android for use on the battlefield.  One of their experiments enlivens, and naturally, he has questions.  I say "he," but he's a hermaphrodite who identifies as male.  Wakeman explains that he is composed of 88 bodies.  That's 44 male, 44 female.  The experiment decides that he wants to be called Lazarus, a name he found in The Bible, one of two fictional works he was permitted to read.  The other?  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Lazarus confides in Dr. English, an attractive female scientist.  Through these interactions, English suspects that the experiment was stitched together with the flesh of former co-workers.  And her late boyfriend.  Now, I've just described an intriguing plot in theory.  The execution is way off.  The first 45 minutes are confined to a frost-white room.  That's all we see, unless you count the GIANT GODDAMN FLOATING EYEBALL, which is barely explained.  "Barely explained" is a running theme.  Lazarus is located in a top-secret, maximum security government facility, yet he faces no stumbling blocks escaping and driving anywhere he pleases.  He's never in a true pickle.  No pickles!

If you know me, you know that I'm not one to decimate a film for being modestly budgeted, but when Mr. Stitch doesn't leave an "examination room" for 45 minutes, I get testy.  You're supposed to hide your budget.  Fuck.  The concepts presented are compelling, but they're not compelling enough to cover for this frail, feeble Frankenstein monster.  I stretched for that alliteration.  Not my proudest moment.  NOTE: My rating might seem a bit generous, but there were spots where I could see effort.  I'm big on effort.  Still, don't watch Mr. Stitch.

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