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Roy Ward Baker
Last of the Hammer Frankenstein films, this one deals with the Baron hiding out in an insane asylum, so that he may continue his experiments with reanimating the dead, along with inmate Dr. Helder, who has been institutionalized for conducting such experiments. Written by
The final movie in Hammer's Frankenstein series could well be the best of them all.
'Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell' is an important Hammer movie for two reasons. First it was the last in the series which began back in 1957 with 'The Curse Of Frankenstein'. Secondly, it was the final movie for Terence Fisher, who directed all but two of the Hammer Frankenstein movies as well as other Hammer classics like 'Dracula: Prince Of Darkness' and 'The Devil Rides Out'. The previous entry in the series 'The Horror Of Frankenstein' had been a failed experiment. Fisher didn't direct it, Peter Cushing didn't play Frankenstein (Ralph Bates did), and it jumped the story all the way back to the beginning. So in watching 'Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell' we can just pretend it never happened. Shane Briant plays Simon Helder, a young doctor attempting to duplicate Frankenstein's experiments. He is charged with sorcery and is sentenced to an asylum by a judge who had previously done the same thing to the Baron himself. When Helder arrives at the asylum he is told by the director (John Stratton, who gives a wonderfully slimy performance!) that Frankenstein is dead, but Helder immediately suspects that "Dr Victor" (Peter Cushing) is in fact Frankenstein. Of course he is right and he soon becomes Frankenstein's assistant. Sarah, a beautiful mute girl known to the inmates as "Angel" (Madeline Smith) has been helping the Baron (who has injured hands), but she is just an amateur. Now that he has Helder he can continue with his life's work - creating another monster. Cushing plays an older and slightly nutty Frankenstein in this one, and Stratton is very good as his idealistic assistant. Madeline Smith is as beautiful as ever, but in case you're wondering, keeps her clothes on, so you'll just have to watch 'The Vampire Lovers' again, won't you. The supporting cast also includes Dr Who #2 Patrick Troughton and Bernard Lee (M from the Bond films). David "Darth Vader" Prowse once again plays the Monster, but unlike his silly one in 'Horror Of Frankenstein', this monster is very scary and repellent looking, being closer to a caveman than anything we've seen in the previous movies. It's an inspired touch and very effective. In fact the whole movie is inspired and could well be the best in the series in my opinion. While it's sad that it was Terence Fisher's epitaph at least he went out on a high note. I highly recommend 'Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell'.
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