Reviews written by registered user

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93 reviews in total 
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More brain surgery...., 8 July 2017

You can't keep a good doctor down I suppose. Continuing from the "Curse" we see the Baron about to be sentenced to the gallows, but an able assist from his dwarf henchman saves him. Leaving the Baron to relocate and pick up his work in a new tow. Now--after 3 years in practice--the Baron's new identity is discovered by another young doctor, seeking the great man's knowledge & once again, the Baron seeks to create life.

This time, the Baron seeks to transplant the brain of the dwarf into a new, slightly scarred, but still better body. But--as with the last film--that brain gets damaged too, and the new body becomes deformed again. After the Baron is found out, he gets beaten to death and more surgery leads to the doctor himself resuming life in a new body and relocating to London.

A very solid sequel to "Curse of Frankenstein"--not quite as good as the original, but great entertainment nonetheless, especially when the Baron confronts Karl near the end of the movie. These Hammer films have not disappointed so far--makes me wish I had started watching them sooner...

The Soul of the Baron..., 6 July 2017

If he had one to begin with. Peter Cushing in this variation on the Frankenstein legend is more ruthless than ever. The first thing we see here is the Baron lopping some poor guy's head off & carrying the head back to his lab--a lab with more than a few corpses in it. And, the somewhat infamous "rape" scene. It seems the good Doctor has lost all moral code in this film.

The motivation for the Baron this time is brain transplants & getting a secret formula from an old colleague. The surgery--of course--is a success, but this time, Frankenstein's subject is neither a "creature" or "monster." But rather a somewhat sympathetic figure looking for revenge for what has been done to him. This sets up the great, fiery climax where Frankenstein is indeed destroyed.

Honorable mention also to Veronica Carlson, looking absolutely stunning throughout the whole movie. Another great Hammer feature....

You can't keep a good monster down...., 3 July 2017

Dracula lives again, in perhaps the best sequel Hammer produced with Christopher Lee. This time, the water Dracula is frozen in gets broken and blood from an unfortunate priest brings him back.

Dracula seeks revenge on the monsignor and his family after his castle has been defiled by said priest. Perhaps the most famous scene from this film is the first staking when the Count doesn't die because the man who tried to destroy him was an atheist.

The stories I've always heard was that even Lee thought that scene was pretty stupid, but I enjoyed it anyway. A gory, visual delight-- particularly when Dracula gets staked again in the closing reel and finally dies when the Priest recites a prayer and Dracula becomes a blood soaked stain on the rocks--never to return again, until another sequel is called for.

9 stars...

The Seal of Dracula...., 3 July 2017

The first in the Hammer Dracula series--and perhaps the best. I have a hard time deciding between this one and "Risen From the Grave" or even "Dracula: Prince of Darkness."

In any event, this was the first on screen clash between Cushing as Van Helsing and Lee as the Immortal Count. Not sure how closely this version follows Bram Stoker's novel having never read it--but it definitely is a departure from the old Universal classic with Lugosi.

Dracula can't transform into a bat or a wolf here, but all the other traditions with sunlight, the stake and the crucifix still apply. Here, Jonathan Harker travels to Dracula's castle with the hopes of destroying him, but becomes a victim of Dracula's bride who he destroys before becoming a victim himself.

Enter Peter Cushing as the Count's greatest foe, who uncovers Dracula's plot to seek revenge and destroys him in a great finale at the castle when the sun and a makeshift crucifix put an end to Dracula's evil.

9 stars...

The Legend Reborn..., 3 July 2017

In 1957, England's Hammer Studios started doing loose remakes on the old Universal Horror Classics. I think the ones that are best remembered were the ones either starring or pairing Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee--such as the first release by England's Hammer Films, "The Curse of Frankenstein."

Of course, I believe at the time, there were some legal restrictions that prevented Hammer from totally copying the Universal films, so in "Curse," we get another loose adaption of Mary Shelley's novel.

This time, Baron Frankenstein is assisted by his childhood tutor, who at first assists the doctor, then revolts against the "abomination" he has created. Christopher Lee makes for an interesting variation of the monster--or creature as he is billed in this movie. Cushing, of course, is great as the Baron & it's easy to see why this film helped launch so many sequels--great movie.

It's also interesting to see the descent of the Baron over the course of the film--first seeking to push the boundaries of science, then becoming totally ruthless in his quest to create life. Even if it means destroying his fellow human beings--such is the case when he murders the old Professor to obtain his brain.

And, there's the great scene when the Creature gets shot, and somehow the Baron restores him again. And the great closing reels when the Doctor clashes with his creation and has to destroy it.

9 stars

Last Rites for Lee as Dracula..., 3 July 2017

I've seen some of the complaints about this particular DVD by Alpha-- and I've been burned by this once before. But--as far as this one goes--I have no complaints about the picture quality or the sound. As for the film itself, this would be the last on screen confrontation between Lee as the Count and Cushing as Dr. Van Helsing & I would say it was a good finale.

There are some references to the last film, "Dracula A.D. '72," with a different actress playing Jessica Van Helsing & no great attempts to explain Dracula's latest resurrection. This time, the Count leads a cult & is bent on world domination and unleashing a great plague upon humanity. Some good touches throughout the film, such as the scenes with Dracula's cult sacrificing some young girl, and the vampires in the basement on the attack a few times.

I think I might understand why Lee was getting burnt out on playing the Count by this point--"Satanic Rites" is not as good as all that preceded it, but it's still good entertainment. Cushing would return one more time as Van Helsing, with a different actor playing Dracula-- but as far this goes--"Satanic Rites" may be the last in the series worth watching.

The Immortal Count..., 22 June 2017

It took 8 long years, but Christopher Lee finally returned to the cape and fangs after missing the first sequel "Brides of Dracula." As usual, the writers have to come up with unique ways to revive the Count after he is seemingly destroyed forever--usually a servant performing the dark ritual. This is also the movie where Lee didn't speak--the story I've always heard is that he thought the script was garbage.

Nevertheless, he is still great in the role--even as a mute--and it ranks as one of the best Dracula sequels. The big highlight for me being the finale when the Count gets drowned by running water.

If you like Hammer Horror, this probably won't disappoint...

Your work, the work of the devil...., 17 June 2017

A lot of mixed reviews for this one--I'm not sure if it's because this is the one that seems to copy the old Universal Frankensteins more than any other film in the Hammer series. Reprotedly, Universal also gave Hammer permission to use the old monster makeup--explaining Kiwi Kingston's look.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it--hell, I would say it's the best of the series that I've seen so far. Just an educated guess on my part as far as the storyline--but, still not having seen "The Revenge of Frankenstein,"--I'm guessing the story for "Evil" is totally new and thus probably free of any nagging continuity as far as how the Baron is back again.

But--as I've said elsewhere--sometimes the simplest explanation is that these movies were popular and the public wanted more. Just see the followup, "Frankenstein Created Woman."

10 stars...

Trapping the Soul..., 16 June 2017

Well, like in many horror movies--new or old--there is no attempt made to explain how Baron Frankenstein survived the ending of "The Evil of Frankenstein." I guess the only explanation necessary was that these films were popular and the public wanted more. So, this time, we see the Baron revived after being dead in an icy coffin for an hour--his soul never leaving his body.

This gives the great doctor the idea of trapping the human soul & possibly putting it into a new body--which, of course, he does. This time, a female body--hence the title of this movie. Not quite as great to me as all the previous Frankenstein entries that I've seen--of course, I thought "Evil of Frankenstein" was a masterpiece, so anything following that might be a bit of a letdown.

Still, this is a very good movie--you can hardly go wrong with Cushing as the Baron and Susan Denberg as his latest creation--the face of an angel and the soul of a killer. If you like "Hammer Horror," then this movie shouldn't disappoint. The print of the VHS release by Anchor Bay is excellent too. 4 1/2 stars....

The sad clown..., 25 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm hardly a silent film buff--but I am a fan of Lon Chaney--and I have seen nearly all of his surviving features. Not being an expert on silents, I'm not sure if some of the comments I've seen over at the Amazon site are on the mark--as far as the feature being projected too fast--but it didn't deter my enjoyment of the film. The score--to my ears--could have been better as well; but again, it didn't take away from another stellar Lon Chaney silent.

Unrequited love is prevalent in pretty much any Chaney film--or at least all that I've seen--and it helps in adding pathos to whatever characters Lon is playing. Here, in "He," Lon is a wronged man who runs away to find solace in the circus life as a put upon clown & ends up getting a rather gruesome revenge on the man who wronged him & loses his life in the process. A very moving scene in the closing reels as we see Lon slip away--and I don't think I'm giving anything away with a movie this old.

At any rate--if you like Lon Chaney--then this is a must see feature of the silent era...

8 stars

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