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Penniless, Baron Frankenstein, accompanied by his eager assistant Hans, arrives at his family castle near the town of Karlstaad, vowing to continue his experiments in the creation of life. Fortuitously finding the creature he was previously working on, he brings it back to a semblance of life but requires the services of a mesmerist, Zoltan, to successfully animate it. The greedy and vengeful Zoltan secretly sends the monster into town to steal gold and 'punish' the burgomaster and the chief of police, which acts lead to a violent confrontation between the baron and the townspeople. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Hammer were barred from copying any details from the Universal films of the 1930s and '40s, including the famous monster make-up. This film, however, was distributed by Universal, and so Hammer had free rein to copy elements from the Universal franchise, most noticeably the creature's make-up and the laboratory sets. See more »
[upon discovering a hanged effigy of himself inside his ransacked home]
Why can't they leave me alone? Why can't they *ever* leave me alone?
See more »
As we rapidly approach a new age of technology and advancement, fear creeps more steadily into our minds. With these new advancements, will I still have a job? Will there be more threats to mankind? Will we still be individuals, or will this new technology make us slaves of a higher power? Valid questions that continue to be "hot" topics in the media. Remember the outburst we had as a society about cloning? I think there are those that are still screaming about cloning being an unjust way of curing diseases. For some odd reason the topic of "cloning" stayed within my mind as I watched The Evil of Frankenstein because this was more than just a monster movie, but instead this deeply symbolic feature about the fears of society and how they can skew the good that others are creating. It also visually develops the idea of how one bad apple can ruin a perfect plan, thus giving society that one crutch to lean upon when deciding what is appropriate. This was a fascinating movie because it went beyond the typical story of Frankenstein and gave us this beautifully human view of the scientist that created the monster. It detaches us from the horrors that the monster creates and instead places the blame squarely on humanity. It is disturbing and refreshing to see such a dramatic change to a very recycled story.
I loved the story of this film. Honestly, I didn't know quite what it was going to be about when I placed the DVD into my player. I was prepared to be asleep twenty minutes into the film because I was ready for the clichéd scene of the scientist saying "It's alive it's alive " over and over again like every other Frankenstein film I have encountered. I was not ready for originality, I was not ready for this human element, I guess honestly, I wasn't ready for the sheer force behind this film. I thought that director Freddie Francis did an excellent job of eliminating the evil element from Frankenstein and transferring it to the mob, the townsfolk, and the simpletons that did not understand the medical miracles that Frankenstein was creating. From the beginning we, for the first time, feel sympathy for Frankenstein. Here he is, attempting to complete his experiments, when God bursts in and shuts him down. I really thought that with our current debates between Church & State/Church & Medicine (aka Tom Cruise), this film really packed a punch. Everyone should be seeing this and understanding that it packs more than just a simple horror punch. There is quite a bit of political symbolism involved with this feature, and that is why I loved this story. Nobody stopped to question or help the poor doctor, instead they rioted, only saw the evil in the creation, without giving anyone the opportunity to speak. I thought it was a true punch in society's gut that the only character to fully understand the creature and Frankenstein was the mute girl. Someone who cannot hear or speak evil saw the pure nature of Frankenstein's work. The forgotten of the town forged a bond with the outcast brains of the operation. It was very clever!
Outside of the obvious symbolic elements that kept my eyes glued to the screen the entire time, there was some exceptional acting by the silent General Moff Tarkin. He really has some very well trained acting chops. He carried, and fully developed the struggling Frankenstein doctor that wanted nothing more than to proudly have a door to enter the scientific world. He wanted to create the impossible, and Peter Cushing pulled it off with leaps and bounds. While I did miss the infamous Igor character, I thought that Hans was a very loyal counterpart to Frankenstein. While Igor was a complete idiot, Hans provided the image that if something should ever happen to Frankenstein, the experiments would continue. Kiwi Kingston played the monster in this film, and it was a decent job. I have seen some better representations of the beast, but Kiwi did a memorable job. The metal shoes that Francis had him wear will forever haunt my mind. That scraping sound on concrete was superb. Everyone else was there, while their characters were completely lost to everyone else involved, I thought that overall the complete cast was decent. Nobody can stand up to Cushing!
Overall, this wasn't a horror film. This was a film about science. It nearly felt like it was made by scientists that wanted a story to show that Frankenstein wasn't trying to create evil, but instead to forge ahead in the world of science. Cushing did an excellent job of giving us this tormented soul who only wanted a place to be left alone to his work. The cinematography was outstanding in this low-budgeted film. The scenes of where Frankenstein worked were breathtaking. There were two scenes that really stuck out in my mind as exceptional. One was where the monster was "punishing" the Burgomaster(just the way the camera was aligned) and the final scene with the château. Beautiful and brilliant. This was a horror film that should be dusted off and watched today, I believe we all can see some defying similarities between our world and that of Frankenstein's if we look close enough.
Grade: **** out of *****
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