Monday, 4 March 2013

Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974)

The final entry in Hammer's series of Frankenstein movies is actually a welcome return to form for all involved, mainly thanks to the character of Baron Frankenstein being once again portrayed as someone well-intentioned but morally dubious as opposed to the outright evil schemer he was depicted as in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed.

This time around the Baron (Peter Cushing) is joined by young Simon Helder (Shane Briant), a man who has been sentenced to time in an insane asylum after being caught carrying out experiments based on the Baron's work. When Frankenstein reveals his real identity to the young man and outlines a plan it's not long before the body parts start to pile up and things get ever more problematic.

With Anthony Hinds writing and Terence Fisher directing, this particular Hammer horror rises above its relatively low budget to provide a fitting final outing for the man who is constantly trying to cheat death.

Cushing is as good as ever, Shane Briant acquits himself well and Madeline Smith, John Stratton, Bernard Lee and everyone else onscreen (including David Prowse, hidden once again behind a mask but doing a better job than he did last time he was asked to play the central creature) manage to hold their own.

It's perhaps inevitable that a lot of the material here feels overly familiar and a little bit lazy but there is also some dark, twisted stuff in here (including the reason for Madeline Smith's character not talking) and some proper nastiness that still manages to retain some impact to this day.

It's not really the best swansong that we could have for the Baron but it's a hell of a long way from the worst and, for that, I'm glad.


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