Francis Stein is a brilliant scientist gone mad for all the right reasons - she's lost her marriage, her job and her reputation. Now she has plans for her ex-husband and his new wife that will mess with their minds. Literally.
October 24 ,2015
P.J. Woodside as Frances Stein
Scott Cummings as Patrick Stein
Jessica Leonard as Jayne Ellis
Cody Rogers as Avery Neman
Maybe I’m a little off here, but it seems I’ve been duped by P.J. Woodside. Having been recently assigned a film to cover, Frances Stein, I leapt to the blatantly obvious conclusion that this film would propose some form of gender swap of the age old Frankenstein tale. Maybe even a modern spin on The Bride of Frankenstein. However, unless I missed something (entirely possible, as it was a challenge remaining conscious through the 90 – roughly – minute run time), this one feels more like a mad scientist story than a Frankenstein piece. And sure, there’s an obvious connection between the Frankenstein mythos and the mad scientist subgenre, but those two points don’t necessarily align in this film, as I’d expected.
What I took away is this: A scientist, Frances Stein, on the crazy side, is developing some concoction that relates to transferring dreams, or memories, to others. Some political big wigs aren’t too keen on the idea of her progress so they make a bid to shut her down. There’s some deception on the part of some of the supporting characters, but eventually Stein heads underground to complete her research and experimentation.
That’s what I got out of the film (I admit I could be way off), and I’ll tell you why.
When you make a film that hinges on dialogue and dialogue alone, you’d better have some mind-blowing monologues lined up, because the attention span of viewers in 2016 isn’t what it once was. We nod off fast if there aren’t any explosions. Our minds wander if we don’t see a high octane fight scene. We doze off if there’s no epic collision between good and evil.
Frances Stein has no explosions, high octane fight scenes or epic collisions. It’s just a lot of talking. And I mean a lot of talking. The chatter was so abundant I truly did have a hard time making it to see the final credits, as sleep called to me endlessly. The film just couldn’t hold my attention. I don’t think I could have dedicated my every fiber of focus to the film if someone held a firearm to the side of my head, cocked – hair-pin trigger and all. It was just, sadly, too boring.
And I say sadly because it really looks like the players involved invested serious energy in the film. It’s a micro budget movie if ever there was one, but Woodside is trying her hardest to make a picture worth watching. It just… doesn’t work. Watching Frances Stein feels akin to sitting in a library for 90 minutes holding a book with no words printed on the pages; try making it through that scenario without nodding off.
However, there was one really cool thing I was able to take away from the film: It’s got an appearance from rapper/part-time actor T.O.N.E-z, an artist who actually made a guest appearance on my very own 2011 album, Am I Alive (yes, this is some shameless self-promotion). Don’t believe me? Here’s the song (the second highest selling single on the album, by the way) to prove it:
When all is said and done, I’ve got to give P.J. Woodside some very real credit. She wrote, directed and starred in the film. This is quite clearly her beauty and she was happy to wear multiple hats. While I didn’t personally enjoy the movie too much, those who really, really dig vintage, low budget science fiction films (oddly enough, I fit into this classification) with hokey looking sets and one-note performances will probably find the flick to be quite endearing. There’s heart in the production, and that’s something I can’t take away from anyone involved in Frances Stein.
If you’re interested in adding this one to your collection, swing by the official Big Biting Pig Productions page. The flick is only $12.