I've been on a Frankenstein kick lately and finally got around to seeing the made-for-TV movie that Dean Koontz helped create and then disassociated himself from. Koontz decided to publish his version as a book series instead, which made me really curious about how bad the TV version could be.
Turns out, it wasn't as bad as I imagined. I like the idea of casting two comedic actors (Parker Posey and Adam Goldberg) as the detectives on the trail of a serial killer. It freshens up the characters who'd have otherwise been cookie-cutter. Nice use of Michael Madsen too, who plays what you think is the exact same character he always plays, but then turns out to be someone completely different. It's kind of the equivalent of casting Sean Bean in a role where he doesn't turn out to be a traitorous villain halfway through the movie, or casting Brian Dennehy in a role where he turns out to be a really nice guy.
I don't know what Koontz's problems were with the movie (I've got -- but haven't yet read -- the first book in his series), but one nitpick I have with it is that they don't have the guts to call the mad scientist Dr. Frankenstein. Instead, they give him the lame name Dr. Helios and claim that he's the inspiration for Mary Shelley's novel. I guess that's probably because Frankenstein dies at the end of the novel, but some retroactive tweaking of Shelley's version of events could have fixed that. Oh, well.
The doctor's motivation was pretty cool. He's been making creatures for the last couple of hundred years and is a perfectionist. He doesn't think of his creations as human, so he simply discards previous versions on his quest for the perfect model. When one of those previous versions starts a killing spree, that gets Posey and Goldberg involved. Eventually the doctor's first creation (the inspiration for Frankenstein's monster) shows up and helps the detectives track down the killer.
As a serial killer movie, it ain't half bad. As a Frankenstein movie, I'd rather have seen a more direct connection to Shelley's book, like I said, and the Monster was too good looking (like in the Hallmark adaptation, but with big scars instead of a skin condition), but still... not a bad movie. It's got me excited to read Koontz's books to see what he does differently.