The 13th Floor

The Strange Short Film From The Star Of FRANKENHOOKER, SWIRLEE!

With Arrow Video’s recent Blu-Ray release of the cult classic BRAIN DAMAGE, it’s nice to see genre fans talking about the films of Frank Henenlotter again. It is, after all, on a technical level, his best, trippiest film. Personally, for sheer entertainment value, FRANKENHOOKER is my favorite.

On one of the group threads I follow on Facebook, the topic turned from Henenlotter to his FRANKENHOOKER star James Lorinz, who also popped up in STREET TRASH and THE KING OF NEW YORK. (Side-note: he’s also in the recently released THE TRANSFIGURATION!)

Did you know that Lorinz once wrote, directed and starred in his own short film? This was back in 1989 and this rare oddity was called SWIRLEE.

Oh, it gets even weirder.

In it, he’s playing “Mr. Softee,” a man that’s, well…. made of ice cream and has a giant ice cream cone for a head. Back when I was a kid, Mister Softee was a regular New York suburban ice cream truck that made the rounds throughout the neighborhood, and the photo on the side of the truck was of a guy with an ice cream head. So, no doubt, this bizarre short, was inspired directly by this recognizable icon, although I imagine for legal reasons, it’s probably why they changed his name to “Swirlee.” But it gets even better.

The 15 minute short was intended as a sample reel for a feature length version, which would’ve been treated like Martin Scorsese’s gritty MEAN STREETS. Hell, the original short starred David Caruso as Mr. Softee’s roommate, and was produced by Roy Frumkes! You can actually find the feature length script, co-written by Rocco Simonelli, on his official website.

Or…. you can maybe click play below and have your minds blown!


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