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
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.