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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Terence Fisher's swansong is a return to form for the FRANKENSTEIN
series. Wisely pushing aside the lamentable comedy of THE HORROR OF
FRANKENSTEIN, Fisher creates a film to rival the original one that
started the series off, a film packed with excellent scenes, good
photography, and an eerie and disturbing atmosphere of madness and
depravity (the place rings with mixed sounds, a deranged howling, and
the soft music of a violin). Forget what the critics might say, this
really is excellent. The setting is a grotty insane asylum full of
laughing lunatics and sadistic wardens, which makes a refreshing change
from the typical Hammer film in which events usually occurred all over
the place. The asylum is dark and damp, and claustrophobic viewers be
warned, the feel of the place really gets transmitted across well: you
almost feel like you're there.
The music is good, the acting brilliant. Shane Briant (see him in DEMONS OF THE MIND) is more than capable as the young doctor experimenting in the ways of Frankenstein, he makes a dashing lead and is an actor who conveys intelligence to boot, throughout the film you never think of him as an actor, he IS Doctor Helder, surely the sign of a good piece of acting. Al Pacino is another example of an actor who is skillful enough to do this. Peter Cushing steals the show once again as the good Baron Frankenstein, now called Doctor Victor after faking his own death. Once you get over the shock of Cushing's drawn appearance (his wife's death really took it out of him), he makes a total impact and Fisher knows so: Frankenstein runs the asylum and the warders and inmates alike fall silent when he appears.
Cushing also portrays a man on the verge of madness, who has performed one too many experiments, and it's a logical progression from the other films (his hands, too, are scarred, unable to operate, destroyed by the fire at the end of the previous film). His electrifying performance lights up the screen, commanding, brutal, totally in control, yet quietly mad too (he laughs slightly too long at a silly joke, also witness the disturbing and fitting ending where he clears up the mess and prepares to continue). Madeline Smith is a fragile mute girl and adds subtle glamour; I'll hasten to add there are no low-cut frilly dresses here, which makes a refreshing change from the norm.
Everything else is present and correct: a nicely fitting music score, tables stacked with weird and wonderful scientific experiments, jars full of eyeballs, etc. There's even a bit of grave-robbing when Patrick Troughton cameos as a derelict who doesn't mind unearthing a corpse or two, as long as he knows where the next drink is coming from. The character of the Monster has been criticised by many critics and fans alike for not being sympathetic enough, but these people are unwilling to look beyond its ugly appearance at the human heart underneath; I certainly felt sorry for the beast in many of the scenes.
The first time we view the creature is a moment of pathos, as it has no eyes and is sitting slumped in a cage like a circus animal. Dave Prowse cuts an imposing figure, but like in most of his films, isn't required to do much acting of any kind. There are some excellent shocks to be had in this film; a frightening moment where the monster digs up a corpse in the graveyard one night; when it bursts in through a window and kills the chief with a broken bottle; and a fun bit where the sprightly Cushing leaps on to a table and jumps on to the creature's back, wrestling it! Nobody else attempts to battle the creature like this and it's good to see Cushing defy his age.
The gore content is remarkably high, considering that this is only a 15 certificate film. Craniums are cut open and skulls removed, brains are cut out of warm heads, eyeballs are popped back into their sockets and in one infamous scene Cushing holds a vein taught with his teeth. Lovely! The gore is outstanding and used well, exactly the right amount: it's not over the top, and thankfully not used too sparingly either. The ending of the film, seems to have been influenced by the cannibalism scenes in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and is certainly a show-stopping moment. FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL is an excellent film, a Hammer film that I totally enjoyed throughout. The pacing is fast, there are no slow spots, and the script is spot on too. It's one of those rare occasions in the movies where everything is totally right, and nothing could possibly be improved if there was opportunity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Plota young doctor is interned in an asylum for experimenting on
buried corpses. At the asylum, he meets his hero Dr. Frankenstein who's
head of the inmate department. Together, they set about Frankenstein's
transplanting body parts pursuits.
I guess I now know why I didn't go to med school. That brain removal scene may keep me from ever eating hamburger again. I haven't seen other entries in the Hammer Frankenstein series, so I can't make comparisons. But taken as a "stand alone", this film breaks a number of older conventions from Hollywood of the studio era. For example, I kept expecting young, handsome Dr. Helder (Briant) to undergo an attack of conscience and quit Frankenstein's (Cushing) infernal experiments. And surely run off with the sweetly virginal Angel (Smith) to a more ethical life. But he doesn't. Similarly, I was expecting the legendary doctor to get a comeuppance. After all, he connives in a number of deaths at the asylum. But like Helder, the two are allowed to resume their nefarious activities at movies' end.
Now, there's a number of deeper questions raised by the screenplay's refusal to punish. Chiefly, how much guilt should attach to the doctors' experiments that after all could result in bringing good people back to life, even if in a cobbled together body. Is that a worthwhile goal or not. And, if so, what research methods are morally acceptable. Anyway, these are questions to think about, and raise the screenplay above the older horror movie conventions. This may not have been the writer's intention, but the morally ambiguous ending does remain suggestive.
The 90-minutes is an appropriately ugly production. If asylum inmates weren't loony going in, they soon will be. The rooms and cells are claustrophobic. At the same time, the story's middle part drags a bit without developing but picks up in the final part. And what a burst of inspiration the Angel character is. I've seen nothing quite like her in years of movie watching. All in all, it's a rather thoughtful horror story, while also being big on blood and a caveman monster. I'm just wondering why I sometimes feel like the Neanderthal in the morning, all hairy and misshapen. Oh well, if that means the divine Miss Angel must be close by, I'll consider myself lucky.
Peter Cushing is back as Baron Frankenstein in this final film of the
Hammer Horror Cushing-Frankenstein film series. This time the Baron
creates a hideous monster that has to be seen to be believed.
Shane Briant plays Simon Helder - a befitting part for Briant. Simon has studied the work of the Baron, has tried his experiments and is sentenced to 5 years in an asylum for sorcery. The Baron is hiding in the asylum and is considered dead - he has emerged as a doctor of the asylum. Victor Frankenstein has enlisted the help of Sarah (Madleine Smith) to assist him in his continuing experiments but when Simon enters the picture the team creates a monster seemly from hell! A good final film in the series.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As the title would suggest this is a 'Frankenstein' adventure. A young
scientist determined to follow in the footsteps of his hero is arrested
and sent to a lunatic asylum - as his hero had previously been too
apparently. Upon getting admitted to the asylum Dr Simon Helder (Shane
Bryant - Captain Kronos the Vampire Hunter) does a bit of snooping and
eventually encounters Baron Victor Frankenstein going by the name Dr
Carl Victor (Peter Cushing) who is working as chief medical staff
within the asylum. Baron Frankenstein is presumed dead however going by
the name Dr Carl Victor has allowed him to stay undetected and continue
his experiments. Unfortunately an accident has reduced Dr Victors
ability to operate precisely and as such he has groomed dumb/mute Sarah
(Madeline "Live and Let Die" Smith), upon learning the Dr Helder is a
doctor of surgery he takes the opportunity to take him on as an
assistant, initially just with the regular inmates of the asylum but
later begrudgingly with Dr Victors 'private' studies too. Curiosity
eventually gets the better of young Dr Helder and he tricks dumb Sarah
(Angel) into leaving the door to Dr Victors private lab open so that he
might have a snoop around. Within the lab is version Frankenstein's
monster built from inmates, as the film progresses and Dr Helder fights
his conscience the monster is let out to cause mayhem and havoc within
This is Hammer's last Frankenstein film (the 7th in a brilliant series) and it's a good one albeit the monster has seen better days. Terence Fisher directs this outing and you'll find all the usual Hammer House trademarks from wobbly walls to atmospheric intensity to rubber monsters. This Frankenstein film stands out as one of Hammer's finest but it also closes the arc of Frankenstein film's produced which have been brilliantly directed by Terence Fisher and starred Peter Cushing. The musical score bu James Bernard in this film is creepy and eerie much like you'd expect. Additionally Shane Bryant adds to his already growing reputation in Hammer films with a suave but potentially dangerous delivery which keep the audience bolted in for the ride. While it's undoubtedly Cushing who is driving the films narrative vehicle its Bryant who acts as navigator for the audience vocalising things that need to be said and asking questions that need to be answered. If Cushing is the drive and Bryant is the navigator then Madeline Smith is the soul and heart of the film. Madeline Smith is her usual stunning self, while she keeps her clothes on in this Hammer film (sorry) she manages to bring real emotion and feeling to film using expressions, smiles and her eyes to convey feelings.
The two let downs for me in the film are a) the scale model of a asylum used in long shots - it looked too fake even for Hammer, previous Hammer films have used random locations and beautiful buildings - this film however missed out on that. Secondly, b) the Monster's appearance was a little unbelievable. It wasn't supposed to be a bronzed Adonis but it's more like a papier-mâché caveman with Tom Selleck's body hair glued to it, fortunately it doesn't detract too much from the film as the actors in the film help carry it through to it's ultimate demise.
Keep an eye open for the rest of the star studded cast: David "Darth Vadar" Prowse is Frankenstein's monster John Stratton plays the creepy and slimy asylum warden Patrick "Dr Who" Troughton plays a dirty body-snatcher Bernard "M" from James Bond" Lee plays a genius/inmate
All in all a great film, one for the die hard horror fans rather than the new style-over-substance audiences.
This a sequel to Frankenstein must be destroyed It is very scary. Frankenstein is Doctor Frankenstein. The monster from hell is the Frankenstein monster. It is not the original Frankenstein monster. But it is the same race. It a monster Doctor Frankenstein creates out dead body parts. So the title is misleading. Because it is not a monster from hell. But still this movie as a great story line. It also has great acting. It also has great special effects. It is very intense. If this movie does not scary you then no movie will. This is the sixth part to the hammer Frankenstein movies. The first five Hammer Frankenstein movies are a little better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Warning the following contains plot spoilers
'FatMfH' is probably my least favorite of the Hammer Frankenstein series. I believe it was also the last in the series. I'm not saying it's a bad film. In fact I did enjoy it. I just didn't enjoy it as much as some of the other Hammer Frankenstein films featuring Mr. Cushing. You really can't go wrong when you combine the acting of Peter Cushing with the direction of Terence Fisher. I believe this was the last feature film that Mr. Fisher directed and the last time that Peter Cushing played the Baron in the series. It had all the charm of a typical Hammer production with Mr. Fisher at the helm, wonderfully realistic characters, fine acting, and the sort of period colorful atmosphere Hammer excelled at. The film did drag slightly at times, fortunately Peter Cushing and the other lead Shane Briant more than made up for that. My major complaint about the film is the poor makeup on the monster. It looked very phony to me, sort of a cross between a costume store gorilla suit that was losing it's hair and a neanderthal man. The monsters bare chest and back looked too much like a Halloween costume and not realistic. To me it was only a few steps up from the look of the comical gorilla like aliens in 'Robot Monster'. In spite of that I still enjoyed the film. It was a scary enough looking creation not to ruin the fun. The story did manage to show just how cruel Mr. Cushing's Dr. Frankenstein really was beneath his gentleman like facade. For instance he stated he did not want to murder an insane genius in order to use the poor man's brain for his creature. Still he didn't mind setting up a situation where the disturbed man was bound to commit suicide. Frankenstein then took his brain with a clear, if sick, conscious. Also, Frankenstein was willing to sexually sacrifice his gentle female assistant, Angel, to the monster for the sake of his experiment. It was both chilling and sad to see the disturbed genius who had killed himself wake up with his consciousness inside the body of a hideous monster. The poor man was bemoaning his plight saying over and over 'why why why....'. He had wanted to die and instead was doomed to this life instead, thanks to the cruelness of Frankenstein. At one point he even dug up his old body and looked at it face-to-face. This reminded me of a similar and memorable scene from an earlier Hammer Frankenstein film.
In conclusion this film is well worth seeing and was almost a fitting end to the Hammer Frankenstein series. Fans of Peter Cushing and Terence Fisher should not be disappointed.
Supposedly Hammer's goriest film, it will be interesting to see how it
compares to Sanitarium, another gory film I saw recently.
Of course, this has a head start with Peter Cushing playing Dr. Frankenstein.
It will be full of body parts, but will it have the body parts like Insanitarium's Lisa Arturo.
This had to be the most horrible looking Frankenstin monster I have ever seen; even worse that Young Frankenstein.
Alas, the gore level was really tame and there were no interesting body parts on display.
The last Hammer flick made and it shows why. If you look to it it has
an overlook as it was made in the sixties. There isn't really a Gothic
feeling and the famous hammer nudity was left out too. But still, I
liked the flick itself. But if we classify it in the era it was made
than it was low on everything. In the States they were already a bit
further with shockers like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that came out
the same year as this flick. The slashers were knocking at the door, I
Spit On Your Grave was out in 1978 and David Cronenberg was out there
too in 1975 with Shivers. Hammer was still doing what they did best,
old school horror.
But still the flick is worth watching for a few reasons. The effects used for the removal of a brain is so well done that back then it surely will have given some creepy moments to the viewers. Peter Cushing was here to see but after Hammer he went further for other roles like for example Space 1999 were he was seen in episode Missing Link in 1976. 1çèè took him to Star Wars but another name from Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell would become famous, David Prowse played the monster but also moved further to Star Wars as Darth Vader. Shane Briant as Simon Helder also became a well known face as did Madeline Smith just coming from To Live And Let Die 1973.
Not a bad flick and excellent directing again by Terence Fisher but it shows painfully that they (Hammer) were trying to keep up with the Gothic feeling. Sadly it failed. It took almost 40 years before they arise again in 2011. Not a classic, therefore it's a rip-off of so many Frankenstein stories but still one to collect.
Gore 1/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 3/5 Story 2/5 Comedy 0/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
pretty good hammer horror flick is well made really well acted by Peter Cushing and Shane Briant good effects and lots of gore and it is a fast paced fun little flick with and a great ending (in my opinion) there should have been another sequel it is totally set up for one Peter Cushing is awesome as Baron Frankenstein with lots of gore to please and some disturbing moments when the professor hangs himself and a nat glass in the face death this is truly an underrated effort that deserves more recognition now there are a few flaws with some obvious moments like why did it take them so long to find out about the creature thats kinda a logic lapse right there and it can be quite mean spirited at times but overall a fun little flick has great acting and it's well written stylishly directed and has great dialog and is never boring see it. *** out of 5
This movie is a worthy last Hammer entry in the Frankenstein series and
a worthy last Hammer movie for director Terence Fisher. The movie is
made with quite some skill and solid acting performances but the story
doesn't ever really become interesting.
What fun it was to see Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein and David Prowse as The Creature in this one together. They later went on playing Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader in "Star Wars". Just imaging seeing Tarkin stitching Darth Vader together from several different body parts! Want to see this? Then go and watch this movie.
The cast was really acting well in this. Besides Peter Cushing there are some solid performances from Shane Briant, a fairly unknown British actor and Bernard Lee (M from the James Bond movies.). David Prowse was also convincing as the large powerful creature, it's too bad that his make-up makes him look like an over-sized monkey.
The effects look fairly acceptable and there is actually quit some blood and gore in this one, so fans of those two things will also be fairly satisfied.
Like most Hammer movies, it never gets scary but it has a brilliant atmosphere and some well placed British humor and crazy characters. I mean the movie is set in an insane asylum, so plenty of good laughs about some of the characters here! That transvestite absolutely cracked me up!
It really is a shame that the movie never ever really becomes interesting, mysterious or tense. Basically nothing happens in the first hour and the second halve of the movie also isn't quite good enough to leave a big impression. Still the movie is not bad, not bad at all. Cushing's presence alone is already enough to make the movie worth watching and so does the typical Hammer movie atmosphere which I absolutely love.
I find this movie highly recommendable, just don't expect to be blown away by it.
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