Sunday, August 28, 2011

Horror of Frankenstein (1970)

Director: Jimmy Sangster

Starring: Ralph Bates, Kate O'Mara, Veronica Carlson, Dennis Price, Jon Finch, Bernard Archard

More info: IMDb

Plot: Academically gifted but arrogant and amoral, Victor Frankenstein will stop at nothing, not even patricide, to achieve his goal of recreating human life. When his handiwork turns out to have homicidal tendencies he is happy to use this to his own ends rather than realize he has gone too far.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Sure.

#41 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

In an effort to revitalize their Frankenstein franchise for the next generation (I guess they felt Peter Cushing was too old to appeal to the kids of 1970 - stupid studio execs) they cast Ralph Bates in the titular role. While I kind of like Bates, I'm not entirely sold on his performance. He's too reserved and not a good enough actor (like Cushing) to pull off the withdrawn genius who looks at the world in contempt while using it for his means. Bates has moments where he comes close but no least not the box full.

The humor, albeit dry, is fantastic. Cushing had some choice lines throughout his tenure as the doctor but not as many in one picture as this. I laughed my ass off a few times and it's likely that's what's going to bring me back to it.

Victor Frankenstein (R): [Having not seen Alys since she was a child] You're looking remarkably well. You've put on weight in a couple of places.

Man, I'd sure like to have her as my housekeeper! I'm terribly sorry about that last comment. It was very improper of me to say such a thing about the talented Kate O'Mara. What I should've said instead was that I like the way she carries her tits.

One thing I like about the Hammer Frankenstein movies is that Frankenstein is not only a brilliant and dedicated scientist (which you see in every movie about the man) but what you don't see in most other productions and that's that he's so heartless in his dedication. Cushing pulled that off like nobody's business and Bates has plenty of opportunity to show that his version is no different.

Veronica Carlson is simply gorgeous as Frankenstein's would-be fiance, Elizabeth. I love what they did with her hair.

Dennis price was fun as The Grave robber.

Oh, we can't forget about the monster. David "Darth Vader" Prowse does the deed this time. Either they didn't have the money or the special effects team went to the pub the day they were supposed to design a monster because this one's pretty damn weak. And why do we have to have the mongoloidian forehead on these guys? How about bald with stitches? Anyway, it's when we're introduced to the monster that the movie starts to get a little less fun.

You're looking remarkably well.
You've put on weight in a couple of places.

And to think that this was released as the second half of a Hammer double bill with SCARS OF DRACULA (1970)! Despite these two flicks missing their potential, I did enjoy them to some degree and I would gladly pay to sit in a darkened theater with a big ole tub of corn. What a fun night that would be.

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