Here comes "The Bride," the long-awaited film starring rock star Sting and Jennifer ("Flashdance") Beals, and oh, what a bomb this highly touted union turns out to be.
Based loosely on the 1935 movie "The Bride of Frankenstein," this revival is not a horror film, just a horrible one. There is less drama than a Dr Pepper commercial, and its feeble attempt at camp makes "The Return of the Living Dead" look like a production of Stratford-on-Avon.
It opens on a predictably dark and stormy night as Dr. Frankenstein (Sting) attempts to harness enough lightning to zap life into his latest creation, a bride for his hulking monster. Test tubes bubble. The monster drools. Sting -- his eyebrows arched like two squirrels just back from the taxidermist, his ear-grazing collar reminiscent of Gloria Vanderbilt's Pierrot period -- throws the switch and the swaddled Eva (Beals) twitches to life.
Mine, grunts the monster. Not so fast, says the doc, perusing the fetching female. He may be a big ape, but this monster's no dummy. In a jealous rage, he tears down the house. Frankenstein and Eva escape. So does the monster, who meets up with a dwarf named Rinaldo (David Rappaport). Christened Viktor by his new companion, the monster (Clancy Brown) makes for Budapest and the circus while Frankenstein and his reluctant bride hang around the castle getting acquainted.
They both take on a glazed look, probably from watching too much MTV, and Sting's Frankenstein -- the biggest pouf in Transylvania -- is about as menacing as a West End waiter at a fern bar. He drinks brandy, reads books standing up and vows to make Eva into "the New Woman . . . independent, bold and free."
Unfortunately, this dame turns out to be more Stupor Woman than Super Woman.
Beals, all Bambi eyes and tousled hair, doesn't have much to work with. Director Franc Roddam has chosen to rely on the actress' two facial expressions -- happy and sad -- rather than dialogue to convey her plight. Her lines, mostly limited to monosyllabic noises and phrases like, "I'm so cold," leave the moviegoer wondering why Frankenstein ever bothered to bring this stiff to life. As for the screenplay, rigor mortis has already set in.
Eva: "Strange, isn't it."
Frankenstein: "Yes. It is."
In one sequence, Frankenstein squires Eva to a party, where the New Woman encounters a small kitten. She hisses and screams at the animal, much to the dismay of her creator.
"Have you gone mad?" he asks her back in the carriage.
"You never told me about cats," she says. "I thought it was a tiny lion."
Back in Budapest, Viktor and Rinaldo have perfected their circus act, but a villainous fiend spoils the fun by causing the dwarf to have a fatal accident. Grief-stricken, monster Viktor takes revenge.
Nobody could ever accuse the director of subtlety. Back in the castle, Frankenstein and Eva bicker over the author of "Prometheus Unbound." The next shot (film students, take note) shows Viktor in chains.
Meanwhile, the doctor and his creation squabble like two soap opera stars.
She: "I don't belong to you."
He: "You must obey me."
She: "Who do you think you are?"
Cameo performances by Geraldine Page, Verushka and Quentin Crisp add nothing to this lifeless production.
Will the monster return to the castle to save his bride from the romantic clutches of the evil Frankenstein? Will it ever stop raining? O Sting, where is thy death?
Beals may have the best line of all.
"I want to go home," she pouts.
My sentiments exactly.