Teen romance isn’t dead anymore in Zelda Williams’ Lisa Frankenstein, the first-time feature filmmaker’s dark horror comedy. Written by Diablo Cody, it stars Kathryn Newton (Freaky) as a high schooler who spends her time hanging with the dead in a local cemetery. When lightning strikes the tomb of her favorite bachelor, it cracks open—and the suddenly living corpse played by Cole Sprouse (Riverdale) makes his way to woo Lisa.
Lisa Frankenstein is a hyper-violent (yet romantic) coming-of-age movie that takes inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to spin a yarn about love and loss. At its core, it’s a love letter to how formative Frankenstein lore can be during one’s teenage years—especially in the context of female rage. In io9’s sit-down with writer Diablo Cody and director Zelda Williams, the Jennifer’s Body scribe talked about returning to the horror genre.
“The sort of adolescent rage space is somewhere that I had been before. And so I was very, happy to welcome Zelda into that world,” Cody said about collaborating with the breakout filmmaker. “I’ve always been interested in the horror comedy genre. I wrote Jennifer’s Body like 15 years ago, and the movie is near and dear to me. I had always wanted to do something else in that genre but I felt kind of discouraged for many years because Jennifer’s Body had not found an audience. And then when it did, I was like, okay, I’m going to do this again, and the Frankenstein myth was something that I had always wanted to play with.”
Facing the monsters you make or feel like, especially when you’re going into adulthood, comes with accepting the many facets of humanity with a sense of humor. It’s something that Williams was able to tap into effortlessly. “For me, anytime you have the opportunity to bring humor to something that, I think for some people, they’re either afraid of or it’s difficult for them to handle, I’m always going to jump,” the director said. “So, you know, teenage female experience, but making it humorous and giving it light and love was really lovely, despite all of the violence as well. That’s what really drew me in.”
Lisa Frankenstein opens February 9.
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