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Protected:  The Legend of Frankenfish Part 2

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Protected: The Legend of Frankenfish Part 2

Vernon T. Hightower

Here's Part 2 of our blog on "The Legend of Frankenfish" by Vernon Hightower.  "Frankenfish" was filmed on the Mobile Gulf Coast, and Vernon would love to tell you all about this not so classic film.  To check out Part 1, click here.  


He hit it! Check out that cgi blood! Sam is one helluva shot to shoot a target moving that fast!

But Frankenfish is tough! I’ve never seen a fish get shot with a 9mm, but I have a hard time believing that even a Frankenfish could survive that. Yet we know he/she does, because there’s still a good 30 minutes left in the movie. Unless they decide to do another dinner scene.

“There’s got to be a weapon here somewhere among the wrenches and screwdrivers that the hippies had!”

Eliza should know better than to think a couple of hippies living up on the swamp would have anything useful. She should have broken into Scarface’s houseboat and stolen whatever gnarly weapons you know he has over there.

Speaking of, Frankenfish has decided that his next target will, unsurprisingly, be the next character that we couldn’t care less about.

Here he is jumping up onto the deck of the houseboat, because he’s a (SPOILER ALERT!) mutated snakehead fish, which is sorta like a big mudskipper. Meaning he can go on land for brief periods of time.

But our man ain’t goin’ out like that! He sticks a shotgun in Frankenfish’s mouth and pulls the trigger, blowing Frankenfish’s walnut brain all over the place.

But, wait a minute… where’s the wound caused by Sam’s gunshot? And isn’t there still about 20 minutes left in the movie?

That’s weird…

I love this giant fake fish. I think he looks great. This is probably where the film spent all their money. The spent it all on that fake Frankenfish, and it looks great. They certainly didn’t spend it on the filming location, because that probably cost them a few cold Busch Lights and a pack of smokes.

Just what, exactly, is Scarface doing to that poor Frankenfish corpse?

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I think out of all the cliche characters in this movie, Scarface is probably the only one I wouldn’t mind hanging out with. He wastes no time in firing up the grill and throwing a couple slabs of Frankenfish Filet on it.

Scarface just wants to have a good time, but not in a hippie way. He’s more of the “hold my beer while I do something stupid” type. Then at the end of the day, he grills up some Frankenfish leftovers, passes out a bunch of cheap beers, and playfully flirts with your wife.

Look at that mug! Such sheer joy and exuberance! You won’t see anyone else enjoying life as much as Scarface in this movie, I can tell you that.

At this point, my thoughts were, “There’s still 20 minutes left in the movie. Something bad is about to happen to my man here. Maybe he’ll eat the Frankenfish and turn into a Frankenfish! Oh man, I bet that’s what is about to happen!”

Nope. There’s another one. And it eats him.

Something blows up. I can’t really remember what. Whatever it was, it gets the attention of these jive turkeys, whose role is still unknown, other than that they’re looking for the Frankenfishes.

Frankenfish has been hitting the gym, all in preparation for just this moment.

Just like in Jaws, I’m amazed at the tenacity with which these waterbeasts go after a meal. And how much can they eat? He just ate Scarface, and thereby a small bit of his comrade, but he still feels like it’s necessary to break through the bottom of the houseboat and try to eat someone else.

Wouldn’t another alligator, who is already in the water and not flippin’ armed, be a safer choice? Alligator isn’t too bad. A little tough, but tasty. I’ve never had human that I know of, but maybe Frank here has developed a taste for it. Or maybe he’s just still high from eating those two hippies and really doesn’t even know where he’s at right now.

The fire over at Scarface’s place spreads, coincidentally engulfing a propane tank and a shotgun.

BLAM! The fire heats up the shotgun so much that it goes off (is this even possible?) and blows half of China Chow’s head off. I knew she was doomed as soon as Eliza showed up.

“The house shot her!”

Possibly the highlight of the movie.

Oh wait, this might actually be better…

The fire continues to heat up the propane tank, which ignites…

…launching it across the bayou.

Lololol. This shot, man. Sam and Freddie follow the propane tank through the sky, in its trajectory towards the hippie hideout and Eliza, still looking for a serviceable weapon, presumably.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Nothin’ but net.

KA-BOOM! Spoiler alert, Eliza survived the explosion. How? Movie magic.

Meanwhile, Gloria gets bitten in half. All that Voodoo preparation, only to get Mortal Kombatted while trying to escape to the roof of her houseboat.

It’s funny how you think certain people in movies “deserve” to die, and some don’t. Like you’re just itching for the irritating, stupid guy to die. I realize it’s just a movie, but it’s kind of terrible to be hoping certain characters get killed off, merely because you’re tired of hearing them whine. In Movie World, being annoying is grounds for getting your wig split. Or head bitten off.

Once again, I’m impressed with the special effects in this movie. I guess it’s a bit easier when everything is done in the dark, but this bisection looks great!

Freddie might not agree with me. He seems a little put off by this half-missing woman.

The house boats are sinking! What do we do?

Probably walk to shore.

So, two houseboats are sinking and one is exploded. Time for stupid heroics.

I wish I knew who they got these Cajun castles from. It’s a shame they had to sink them. I’ve always kinda wanted to have my own little fish camp up in the delta, with my own ravenous superfish. Yolo!

“Hey whatchall doin’?”

Finally, Beavis and Butthead show up in their airboat…

…and immediately get tumped overboard.

Just a side note here. Do you use the word “tumped”? Like, “tumped over”? For years, I just assumed everyone said it. Then I moved to Nashville, where there are a lot more transplant yankees and wannabe yuppies.

“What does that mean?”

“What does what mean?”

“Tumped?”

People think it sounds stupid. It sounds normal to me. I like it.

Moving on…

Somehow they end up on this dock. Crocodile Dundee, Yakuza, and Freddie Prinze.

Now that I think of it, I guess this is just the roof of the houseboat that has sunk into the marsh and quicksand. Quicksand seems so 80’s, for some reason.

Dr. John Popper, Sam, and Eliza are now stationed on one of the other roofs. Surely Sam would have some way to contact his fellow law enforcement buddies, right? Granted, they’re up in the delta, but I would think that an agent like him would have some other means. Like a really big walky-talky or something.

At this point, it’s time to swallow your pride and call in the effing Marines, Sam. There are Frankenfish run amok, and Dr. John Popper’s BB gun isn’t gonna be enough.

“I’ll drink to that!”

If there’s one redeeming quality to Freddie Prinze, it’s that he pretty much boozes throughout the entire movie. Although that pint has lasted quite awhile. He’s nursing it.

Crocodile Dundee: “Here’s my Scooby Doo plan: I was the one responsible for developing the Frankenfish. People in Asia love these things. They eat em! Can you believe that shit? Anyway, I thought I would engineer these big ones because bigger is better, right? And these babies sell by the pound! I also am a total badass, and I like to hunt things that hunt me back.”

/rolleyes

The ol’ “Most Dangerous Game” routine. How many times is a villain gonna use that excuse? If your life needs that kind of excitement, to be hunted by Frankenfish, just go to the zoo and throw yourself into the polar bear enclosure and save everyone else a lot of trouble.

Sam does not approve, but at this point, what can he really do?

Frankenfish surges out of the water, grabs Dr. Popper, and goes back underwater.

What is that thick, black line supposed to be under Frankenfish? I think it may be supposed to be Dr. Popper’s arm. If you are familiar with the book, “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey” you may recognize this arm as belonging to Jeffrey, the ghost that lives with author Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Not to break things up too much, but take a look at this ghost photo of Jeffrey and then tell me that that is definitely not him making a cameo:

That photo is haunting. Get it?

Anyway, home stretch, let’s finish this thing up…

To get back to the action, Dr. John has just been shanghaied into the bayou by Frankenfish. Crocodile Dundee is upset about this, and follows Frank, shooting at him all the way…

…all the way into the water. I have circled it for you here so you can see his stupid ass diving off into the mud, after Franky and Dr. John. No one ever said that tough guy, most dangerous game, hunters were the smartest people in the world.

“Hey, my airboat is totally fine now. Why don’t we just hope in the ol flatbottom hot rod and roll outta here?” – Crocodile Dundee

“Sure, no problem, good idea.” – Everyone else.

What??? Wait a minute. It’s already been proven that being in a boat is not safe and that Frank can tump over a boat any time he pleases. Plus this airboat has already been sunk once by Frank. How is this happening? And why is being in a boat suddenly a great idea?

Maybe they’re counting on the fact that Frankenfish just ate a big meal, so maybe he has the meat sweats and must take a break from all the mayhem? That’s not really something I would count on, considering that both Frankenfish that we’ve seen are relentless killers.

“Show me where you found the dredge boat that was carrying my specimens of ultimate fish genetic superiority.”

Keep in mind that these people have now been up for about 24 hours, so maybe they’re not thinking straight, but if I were Croc, I’d just cut my losses and hope I didn’t end up in prison.

“Ok, here it is.”

I was so obviously wrong in my assessment that this is either a small shrimp boat or a dredge boat. It is clearly a boat specifically made for transporting frankenfish from one place to another.

“What’s that?!?!?!” – Croc

“Uhhhh, some sticks and grass. Possibly an alligator nest.” – Sam

This really does look like a possible alligator nest. If I was an actor, this is the point where I’d draw a line in the mud. I’m not going in there, unless I get TWO 12 packs of Busch Lights and a carton of Parliaments.

Croc makes Sam go into the alligator nest at gunpoint.

Doesn’t Sam have a gun? Maybe not. Maybe Dr. John Popper used it as a harmonica.

Also, how does Croc know that is a Frankenfish dwelling? You get the impression that he’s spent a lot of time in the swamp and probably knows an alligator nest when he sees it.

Wait. Is that Dr. John Popper sneaking in the scene in the bottom right? I think it is! I have been found out. It’s been a few days since I took these screenshots and now, when I’m writing this. I guess it was one of the Asian guys who got snapped off the dock and had the ghost arm. But why would Croc care enough about one of those guys to chase him into the water?

As usual, it probably pays to not ask too many questions about a movie like this.

Croc and Sam are in the alligator nest. Croc really wants Sam to do something, but I can’t really remember what. Does it matter?

“Go underwater and make sure my shoes are tied! Do it!”

There. That’s what he wants.

Sam escapes, hops on the airboat with Eliza, and cranks it up.

Just for the record, Dr. John Popper has definitely disappeared at this point. It doesn’t really matter how.

Crocodile Dundee tries to swim out of the alligator nest, but gets caught by Frank. I love the dangling legs. It’s like if the game Rampage had a Frankenfish.

Now, all they have to do is get away, but I guess that’s kind of been the point the whole time, and is kind of the point of all monster movies. Good guys go looking for the monster, find it, discover that it’s way more of a pain in the butt than they are ready for, then escape.

Can’t help but wonder how they did these shots, as Frank chases the airboat through the swamps. Something is kicking up that water and wake. Were they just dragging a rubber Frankenfish behind them?

They make a sharp left and Freddie Prinze, who is still alive somehow, gets tossed out of the boat and into a little marsh area here.

He must have been really getting on their nerves… because they just let him go! They don’t go back for him or anything!

Sam pulls one out of the Top Gun playbook and stomps on the brakes, causing Frank to fly into the propeller. This is what 2004 cgi effects look like in broad daylight.

Sam: “Baby, I know everyone you love has just been eaten by a big fish, but you look pretty good covered in blood!”

Eliza: “Hehehehe, I kinda have a mustache.”

Just in case you needed another shot of the Frankenfish, diced up by an airboat propeller.

Is it just me, or does the size of Frankenfish constantly change? When the one got killed by Scarface, it looked like it was 2 1/2 feet tall and about 6 feet long. This one is about 8 feet tall, and no telling how long.

The last shot of the movie is of ol Poor Man’s Freddie Prinze getting eaten by dozens of baby Frankenfish. So I guess the two big ones were male and female.

I guess Sam and Eliza escaped the two big Frankenfish, but what about these little guys? They’re still floating in the water, without a boat, up in the middle of the delta. In reality, they would be completely screwed, but since the movie ends with them laughing and smiling, we’re supposed to infer that they lived happily ever after.

Not me. I’m assuming that the baby frankenfish ate them, or they were captured by renegade Cajuns, a la Southern Comfort.

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

That’s it. The credits roll and we’re left with two protagonists stranded in the middle of the delta.

I’m sure that Frankenfish is someone else’s Friday the 13th Part 7. It’s part of someone else’s personal legend, and not just for the actors involved. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they would rather forget about it, but for someone out there, probably a local that lives on the delta, they’ll never forget it.

I’m sure people who live in New York don’t seek out every movie that is filmed in New York. How could they? I mean, they have Manhattan and Ghostbusters. What else do they need? But for those of us living down here in the swamps and bayous of the Gulf Coast, a movie filmed here is a big deal.

Maybe it’s because we’ve always had a chip on our shoulder about being the “Third Coast”, but we want a little recognition occasionally too.

And seeing the back bays and bayous of our local area is exciting, especially when there’s a giant fish biting people in half.

That said, Frankenfish is worth watching. I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of it. It has some decent special effects and the monster never just makes anyone disappear. There’s always a maiming of some type, or dangling legs, which is always a crowd-pleaser.

See ya next time!