Monday, 14 January 2013

Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you get Christopher Lee in a Hammer movie then it is often one of their more entertaining outings. If you get Peter Cushing in a Hammer movie then you are, in my opinion, guaranteed a good time.

Cushing stars here as the infamous Baron, yet again, and this time has some scheme involving transplanting the very soul of a person into a dead body so that the spark of life can be reignited. Yes, he's as brilliant/bonkers as ever and you can already figure out some of what will transpire as the movie progresses. With the help of Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters), he ends up transforming the life of young Christina (Susan Denberg), a scarred woman surrounded by tragedy.

Strangely reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange in places (with Alex and his droogs being replaced by some posh idiots lording it over those who serve their drinks), this movie struck me much more as a black, black comedy than an outright horror but I'm not sure if that's the standard interpretation of things. It seems right, however, when you witness the details of the Baron's latest scheme and the details/results we end up seeing.

Cushing is excellent in the lead role, and he is ably supported by the likes of Robert Morris, the aforementioned Walters, Peter Blythe, Barry Warren and Derek Fowlds (now most recognisable to UK TV viewers as . . . . him from Heartbeat). Then we have the lovely Denberg, who gets to have the most fun. Her character goes through the biggest transformation and Denberg acquits herself admirably, playing both lowly and meek and then forward and confident with equal success.

Directing from Anthony Hinds' screenplay, Terence Fisher keeps most of the violence and gore offscreen, for the most part, but wrings such watchable moments from his cast throughout that you never feel shortchanged. One of the better Hammer movies though others may, like me, enjoy it more as a black comedy than outright horror.


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