Alexander Mercury and Dmitry IvanoV
present
FrankenLenin
Log line: never before seen account of the Russian Revolution as the first ever successful zombie plot led by none other than the infamous Vladimir Lenin and his gang of ambitious zombies.
Genre: mixed mockumentary, black comedy, historical drama, slasher
Status: script development
Budget: £2m
Tone: a historical biopic shot in a mockumentary style with strongly pronounced black humour, slasher elements and 70-80s pop culture references. Think What We Do In The Shadows meets Death of Stalin.


BACKSTORY

True fact: a world-renowned Russian scientist and surgeon Ivan Sechenov, one of the founders of the science of physiology, believed in resurrection. And he did not just dream about it. Having assembled a stellar ensemble of surgeons and doctors around him, he went on an endless rampage of operations on freshly deceased orphan-kids. His experiments took place in 1870 - the year the leader of the future Bolshevik Party was born. Could this be a coincidence? Very unlikely.

This is pretty much where the reality ends and our story begins.



Ivan Sechenov
Synopsis

1870s. Russian surgeon Ivan Sechenov is operating on the recently deceased orphans with the aim of finding a key to immortality. Suddenly, a major breakthrough - one of the children is resurrected! The franken-boy escapes from the lab. He finds a new home in Simbirsk where the Ulyonov family is based, kills Volodya Ulyanov, disembowels him and pulls the skin over his own. The boy's parents notice the sudden change in behaviour: kindness has been replaced by aggression...Lenin builds his own team by kissing the buried back to life, summons an underground meeting of revolutionaries quickly consolidating power and reforming the gang into a Bolsheviks party. An unexpected obstacle gets in the way - Rasputin-werewolf. During the day, he looks normal but at night turned into a clever dick. At night, he penetrates into Tsarina's parlour and, well, they became very good friends...Lenin gets rid of him with the help of a British spy Oswald Rayner. Zombies infiltrate the military, crush the government, seize control of the country, defeat an ambitious 500-year old vampire Josef Stalin from a competing vampire clan. Stalin decides to poison Lenin. Lenin flees and they have to put a fake mummy in his place. Stalin's thirst for blood gets the better of him and he launches the Red Terror and GULAG - bottomless source of fresh blood. Lenin recovers and avenges himself. At night he leaves a dummy mummy in his place and ventures out to enjoy Moscow nightlife.
MOODS
Director's statement

In Haitian folklore, a zombie is an animated corpse raised by the magical means, such as witchcraft.

The idea to retell the story of one the world's most recognised leaders of the Revolutionary movement has spun out of the desire to satirise and dismantle the cult of Lenin who still wields enormous power over the hearts and minds of millions of people. In Russia and beyond, every single town and village has a street named after the great leader or Marx, or Dzerzhinskiy, etc. How did they achieve this lasting effect? Who are the people who still advocate on their behalf? Are they even human?!

While still in development, the story of Franken-Lenin, will most likely be told through the eyes of our interviewee - Vladimir Lenin - who is Frankenstein-type zombie resting in the Mausoleum to this very day. Unlike the roaming zombies we are already familiar with thanks to TV hits like The Walking Dead, our hero is quick-witted, full of vigour and charisma which makes him likeable and comparable to humans. The idea is to explore and subvert the notion of ultimate power and take it to ridiculous extremes where it seemingly doesn't make any more sense but still works because the game we are playing is persistent throughout the film - it's a high-stakes power struggle.

This is a fantastical premise that gives us freedom to play with the way the characters behave and means by which we advance the plot. While we will revisit the places where Lenin and his henchmen plotted away (St. Petersburg, Zurich, London, Moscow) and follow the events as they unfolded, there is no pressure to stick to historical accuracy. Rocking to sounds of Iggy Pop, Marilyn Manson, Sex Pistols, Boney M, we will take the audience on a never-seen-before ride of black humour, gags, gagging and blood-splurging absurdity. I want to make a fun film whose sole purpose is to thrill and entertain; create a sense of a world with its own logic, fetish, dangers, pleasures, 80s pop, politics and culture references mixed with mundane aspects of zombies lives based on recognisable historical figures.


REFERENCES
TEAM
Dmitry Ivanov
Scriptwriter
Dmitry Ivanov is one of Russia's top screenwriter's. He is known for writing 'Method' (dir. Yuri Bykov) - a crime drama TV series starring Konstantin Khabenskiy. Produced by SREDA film company, it was awarded 3 TEFI gongs (Russia's equivalent of Emmy), NY Film Festival award, Platinum Award at Houston Film Festival, etc. before being sold to Netflix.

Alexander Mercury
Film director
Alexander is an award-winning London-based actor and film director
Angelina Belle
Co-producer
Angelina is a co-founder of Métamorphose, a Paris-based film and theatre production company who will co-produce.
Michel Kalflèche
Co-producer
Michel has a wealth of experience in music production. He worked with Universal Music, Johnny Hallyday, Claude François Jr. to name a few. His legacy includes multiple Gold albums in France, industry-recognised success with "Magazine 60" music band with over 300,000 music tracks sold and producer credit on over 60 documentaries. Recently, he was seduced by the magic of cinema and the rawness, immediacy of theatre.
Made on
Tilda