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The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)

 -  Comedy | Horror  -  17 June 1971 (USA)
5.7
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The brilliant but misunderstood scientist Frankenstein builds a man made up of a collection of spare body parts. The monster becomes alive but he has mental capabilities much below par. The... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Bates ...
...
Alys
Veronica Carlson ...
...
...
Lt. Henry Becker
Bernard Archard ...
Prof. Heiss
Graham James ...
Wilhelm Kassner
James Hayter ...
Bailiff
Joan Rice ...
Graverobber's wife
Stephen Turner ...
Stephan
Neil Wilson ...
Schoolmaster
James Cossins ...
Dean
Glenys O'Brien ...
Geoffrey Lumsden ...
Instructor
Chris Lethbridge-Baker ...
Priest (as C. Lethbridge Baker)
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Storyline

The brilliant but misunderstood scientist Frankenstein builds a man made up of a collection of spare body parts. The monster becomes alive but he has mental capabilities much below par. The monster is aggressive and wreaks havoc outside the laboratory. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

17 June 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Horror of Frankenstein  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first Hammer production to be entirely financed with British funds. See more »

Goofs

When the monster first leaves the castle it pulls the lock right out of the door. Shortly afterward it is in place again without anybody having the time to do the repair. See more »

Connections

Follows Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN (Jimmy Sangster, 1970) **1/2
19 May 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This was top Hammer screenwriter Jimmy Sangster's first directorial effort for the company (incidentally, I watched the other two - LUST FOR A VAMPIRE [1971] and FEAR IN THE NIGHT [1972] - in quick succession). I hadn't picked this up on DVD earlier because of its much-maligned reputation: however, I was extremely surprised to find it quite effective!

Given that it's basically a remake of THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957), Sangster took a radically different approach - treating the events as black comedy; the resulting film is very funny indeed at times (though it almost feels like "Carry On Frankenstein": witness the disembodied hand coming to life to give the two-finger gesture and Ralph Bates' comments at Kate O'Mara's cleavage!). The film features an abrupt, doubly ironic ending - while, as opposed to STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING (1972), there's plenty of gore here but no nudity. Still, despite being made on the cheap, it all looks pretty decent (a virtue common to most Hammer product, in fact).

Bates (who showed real promise but, essentially, came to Hammer too late) and Dennis Price (as a cheerful body snatcher who likes to have his pregnant wife do the dirty work for him!) are very good; from the rest of the cast - which includes Jon Finch as a dogged police lieutenant who happens to be a former colleague of Frankenstein's - O'Mara as Bates' sexy but conniving housekeeper/lover comes off best (though Veronica Carlson, who's somewhat underused here, also proves undeniable eye-candy).

There are faults, however: Bates's scientist is, ultimately, too glum in comparison to Cushing's animated characterization; the monster itself is an unfortunate creation (pun intended) - Dave Prowse's physique is certainly ideal for the role (in fact, he returned for FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL [1974] and proved far more successful at it) but, as depicted here, it comes across as a mere killing machine, showing no emotion or curiosity at its surroundings (such as when the monster kills the O'Mara character or when it ventures outside into the countryside).

Essentially, then, the film emerges as an interesting but not entirely successful reinvention of the Frankenstein saga and, actually, a curious attempt on Hammer's part at this particular stage - given that it followed closely on the heels of one of their finest (and bleakest) efforts! That said, having now watched Hammer's entire Frankenstein series, I can safely say that it's superior overall to their Dracula films.

The extras include a 14-minute career overview by Hammer starlet/beauty Carlson - she feels lucky and privileged to have worked three times for the studio and in the company of such talented people as Freddie Francis, Christopher Lee, Terence Fisher, Peter Cushing, Jimmy Sangster and Ralph Bates. Sangster describes in the Audio Commentary how, when he started as a screenwriter, he was careful not to overstep the limitations set by the budget - which he learned from having been a Production Manager for Hammer for the previous several years; as a director, then, he often consulted with his editor to determine whether the latter got all the necessary coverage for any particular scene. He also discusses the rest of his career, going into some detail on the making of such films as TASTE OF FEAR (1961) and THE ANNIVERSARY (1968), and seems baffled - but, at the same time, amused - by the critical about-turn Hammer's output has enjoyed in recent years. With respect to THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN itself, he admits that he was initially averse to the idea of Ralph Bates as Baron Frankenstein - but, eventually, the two became very good friends and, in fact, Bates appeared in all three films Sangster directed! By the way, Travis Crawford's interesting liner notes compare the film's self-mocking attitude to the even more radical 'revisionist' approach to the Mary Shelley tale seen in FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN (1973).


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Not bad, just misunderstood. eraserhd79
Anyone like the Hammer Frankenstein movies charlessykwalk63
Well I'll be darned. That was David Prowse. lloyd7202003
Who is your favoriter Frankenstein's Monster charlessykwalk63
Brilliant ggsb
What was the title of that movie JaymeAdel
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