Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)

Director: Freddie Francis

Starring: Peter Cushing, Peter Woodthorpe, Duncan Lamont, Sandor Eles, Katy Wild

More info: IMDb

Tagline: He's never been more shocking! shocking! shocking!

Plot: Penniless, Baron Frankenstein, accompanied by his eager assistant Hans, arrives at his family castle near the town of Karlstaad, vowing to continue his experiments in the creation of life. Fortuitously finding the creature he was previously working on, he brings it back to a semblance of life but requires the services of a mesmerist, Zoltan, to successfully animate it. The greedy and vengeful Zoltan secretly sends the monster into town to steal gold and 'punish' the burgomaster and the chief of police, which acts lead to a violent confrontation between the baron and the townspeople.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yup.

#22 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

#25 of 31 Days of Horror 2010.

We pick up a few years after the last film, THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958), and it's now been ten years since the doc was run out of town in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957). He's up to his old tricks (but, of course!) and he's run out of town yet again. Penniless, he and his assistant, Hans (I assume it's the same Hans that was his assistant in REVENGE but played by a different actor) decide to go back to Karlstaad, the town where it all began, to recover some of his priceless belongings to sell and start anew...only the townspeople completely looted the joint. Now the doc is PISSED!

Yep. This is a Hammer movie all right!

I really dig how Hammer at least tried to make logical sequels that took Dr. Frankenstein to where it feels natural to go unlike some of the shoddy excuses for sequels Universal made in the 30s and 40s. But since Universal was now partnered with Hammer on these pictures, Hammer was able to lift plot ideas to use in their films. Big mistake. Hammer didn't need to but they did in this one. Lifted right out of FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943), once the doc gets to his old castle, he's underground and spots his first creation frozen in ice, ready to be re-born. That's all fine and good but that's not how the monster met its end in CURSE. Add to that that the creature looked nothing like this one. Nothing. Sadly we get a ten minute flashback to the new events of the doc's first monster's demise and it's also a completely different monster. Ugh. The blockhead look is just bad. I'd like to slap whoever had the final decision on that one.

Cool! The monster is trapped in sheet plastic, I mean, ice!

That's my only real beef with this picture. Woodthorpe was great as Zoltan, Frankenstein's necessary evil partner. I loved that aspect of the story and the rest of the film as well. Enough cannot be said about how important Peter Cushing's role as Frankenstein is. It's just remarkable watching this man's performances. He sells the character better than I've seen anyone else do. To me his will always be the definitive Dr. Frankenstein. Oh, and does he die in the end? Of course not. He'll be back in three years with FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN (1967). Can't wait.

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