Review: 'Nightstream: Frank & Zed' Offers Zany Puppet Gore

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Oct 13, 2020
'Nightstream: Frank & Zed'
'Nightstream: Frank & Zed'  

One of the more unusual entries in the Nightstream Film Festival is the gory puppet fantasy "Nightstream: Frank & Zed."

In the style of, say, the original "Dark Crystal," this wild film centers on two corpses: Frank, a Frankenstein-style monster that needs daily electrical charges to keep going, and Zed, a rotting corpse that needs squirrel brains to survive. The two are dependent on each other for survival, as Frank is in charge of getting brains for Zed, and Zed is responsible for charging Frank up every night.

Meanwhile, in a village not far away, a two-hundred-year-old curse is about to play out. When the royal family made a fateful bargain with an evil entity, they were told that when the last of their bloodline dies out the town will suffer something called "The Orgy of Blood."

What do you know? It's two hundred years later, there is only one Prince left, and he's kind of an idiot. Before long, he is killed, and the curse looms over the town like an executioner's blade. Soon enough, a nasty magistrate convinces a group of villagers to go destroy Frank and Zed, as they believe they will be the ones responsible for the coming blood orgy.

"Frank & Zed" is a trip, and probably best viewed under the influence. To be fair, it's sometimes hard to understand what is happening visually, and it's about a third longer than it needs to be. There are some fun and clever puppet special effects, and it's a hoot to see "puppets behaving badly," but it's certainly not for everyone.

Director/writer Jesse Blanchard has a vision, and it's clear that as his budgets get bigger he will have some fascinating stories to tell. This one is a bit like a Muppets Present "Game of Thrones," with the last third of the movie being the Red Wedding.

If this sounds like something that you'd dig, by all means seek out the duo of Frank and Zed and watch them defend themselves in all sorts of gruesome and disgusting ways. Then puff, puff, pass.

"Frank & Zed" played at the Nightstream Film Festival and premieres on Shudder Oct. 10

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.

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