Director: Terence Fisher
Starring: Peter Cushing, Susan Denberg, Thorley Walters, Robert Morris
More info: IMDb
Tagline: The Ultimate in Evil!
Plot: A dead and frozen Baron Frankenstein is re-animated by is colleague Dr. Hertz proving to him that the soul does not leave the body on the instant of death. His lab assistant, young Hans, is found guilty of murdering the local pub owner with whom he had an argument where he foolishly swore to kill the man and Frankenstein acquires his body immediately after the execution. Hans had been quite friendly with the dead man's daughter Christina who returns just in time to see him guillotined. Distraught, she commits suicide and is brought back to life by the good Doctor but with Hans' brain replacing her own. As memories return to her - Hans' memories in fact - she sets out to pursue and kill those responsible for having sent him to his death.
My rating: 6.5/10
Will I watch it again? Yeah
#31 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)
#27 of 31 Days of Horror 2010.
I remember hearing about one of the Hammer Frankenstein pictures being balls-out insanely evil and awesome. I thought perhaps it was THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964) but it wasn't. I then thought maybe it was this one. It's not. It turns out to be the next one in the series, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1970) but I didn't know it then. FCW is a bit of a departure from the typical Doc F making a monster. It's a different kind of monster. I like the direction they took but the film feels a bit sluggish.
There are three spoiled rich boys that you hate from moment one. They're the kind of people you would volunteer to step in and kill them with your bare hands. They're despicable. The motivations with each of the main characters are easily spelled out. There's no ambiguity.
Thorley Walters was a nice addition as the Doc's assistant. He seems to be a naturally funny actor. He's got some bits of comic relief that, fortunately, are just light enough to work without seeming forced. Mostly black humor.
I can't get through talking about these Hammer Frankenstein films without bringing up the brilliance of Cushing's performances. He's a master at his craft. He's delightfully dark and focused and he only gets better with the next film (if that's at all possible).
James Bernard's score isn't nearly as memorable as many of his previous. It's serviceable without calling attention to itself. I just love that man's orchestrations. Dark and moody. The ending is good but the film as a whole seemed almost out of place in the series. Perhaps if there the kills were more graphic (not too much more, though. It felt like there was a lot left on the cutting room floor) and a touch more of the sensuality that Hammer was known for.
From this disfigured creature...
to this hideous monstrosity!
Despite the spots of yawn, I appreciate that they tried to continue Frankenstein's saga in a manner that seemed logical and avoiding the same ole, same ole. It's a bump in the road for the franchise but it's a road paved with golden ideas and performances, one that I will gladly travel.