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Another underrated film
mord3910 October 2000
MORD39 RATING: **1/2 out of ****

This was the first Hammer film I recall seeing as a kid, and I loved it back then. I am, admittedly, a Universal Horror addict and most probably enjoyed it because it was so much in that vein.

Now, decades later, I understand why Hammer fans dislike it: it's not what the Hammer Frankenstein series is supposed to be. Now that I've become well acquainted with all of the Hammer films I am inclined to agree somewhat...but it's still pretty good.

Peter Cushing is his reliable self as the Baron, and he seems to be given a more heroic twist this time around. The monster is not up to par, and it IS copied from the Karloffian image to some extent, but he's fun anyway.

The lab sets are fantastic, as is the music and gothic atmosphere. You can do much worse than this for a Hammer Frankenstein film (check out HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN and see).
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Why can't they leave me alone? Why can't they ever leave me alone?
lastliberal-853-25370816 September 2011
Peter Cushing makes the greatest Dr. Frankenstein and he certainly doesn't disappoint here. Hammer Studios made several Frankenstein films, and this may not be the best, but it certainly is worth the time.

After reviving his monster, Dr. Frankenstein enlisted the services of Zoltan the Hypnotist (Peter Woodthorpe, the voice of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings). Zoltan was a despicable character, and Woodthorpe was perfect for the role.

Sandor Elès as Hans, Dr. Frankenstein's assistant, and Katy Wild, as a deaf and mute beggar girl were also very good.

Of course, one would have wanted to see more of Caron Gardner, the Burgomaster's wife, but it was not to be.
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The Evil of Frankenstein (1964) ***
JoeKarlosi6 June 2004
This was the first Hammer film I ever saw, and I loved it back then on television while growing up. I'm sure the reason was because it was so much in tune with the old Universal monster films I loved, and at that time I hadn't seen any of the other British Frankensteins so I couldn't have been aware that EVIL wasn't really a true "Hammer" film. Well, sometimes ignorance is bliss, I think. Because ever since I caught up with all the other Peter Cushing Frankensteins, I gradually became clued in as to why so many diehards shunned EVIL. But that's a shame, really, as THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN is a fine horror film in its own right and one of the more underrated monster films in fandom. Last night I had a friend at the house who's a Universal Fan, and he wanted to see his first Hammer Frankenstein film. So, what better choice than EVIL? But here's the thing with movies -- sometimes it all depends on your mood and the situation surrounding you when you watch them. The last time I had watched this movie, it didn't do as much for me; but now - while taking it for what it is and enjoying it with a fellow Universal fan - the film really delivered!

Peter Cushing is still great in EVIL. Sure, he's not playing the character exactly the same as in the other films, but it's refreshing to see him more heroic than usual, and it's not as though he's a total saint either (he does take a freshly dead man and cut out his heart, for crying out loud). There are small moments of indifference, too - such as when the mute peasant girl offers bread to Cushing and his assistant, Hans -- while Hans takes the trouble of saying, "thank you... but have you enough for yourself?" Baron Frankenstein takes his half without a word of gratitude and instead merely mutters to Hans, "she can't hear you".

Terence Fisher is a good director, but I think Freddie Francis does a fantastic job too on THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (and, later, on Dracula HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE). The laboratory is the best of all the films, and there are many neat cinematic touches -- like the grim shadowplay when the creature is stalking around town, and the monster's POV shot as he is first being raised up from his slab. The music is striking too, on par with just about any other Hammer classic. It accentuates the events of the movie very well. Kiwi Kingston makes a formidable hulking monster, and there are times when I even pitied him (it's rough to see him getting those migraines and to be abused by that hypnotist).

The only things weak about EVIL for me are some of the moments where we are at the fair, though once Peter Cushing crashes the Burgomaster's home to claim his property ("Be quiet, woman!!" - I love that! - ) we're back into high gear. Another debit for the movie is that its script seems a little perfunctory at times. In summary -- taken on its own without carping on what this isn't and enjoying it for what riches are to be found within it, THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN can be a fun and satisfying experience as a stand-alone Frankenstein Film. *** out of ****
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A grisly homage to Universal
Ali_John_Catterall20 September 2009
Having been exiled from Karlstaad, and with their creature gunned down on a mountaintop, The Evil Of Frankenstein opens with a now skint Baron (Cushing) and his apprentice Hans (Elès) moping around the forests like a Gothic Steptoe and Son, half-heartedly yanking the odd corpse out of huts, before being sent packing by another set of disgusted locals. The Baron has no choice but to creep back into town and retrieve his equipment to flog it off. To add insult, Castle Frankenstein has been looted and defaced with noosed effigies. "Why can't they leave me alone?" sighs Victor. It's all a bit much.

To cheer themselves up, the pair attend a travelling carnival disguised in facemasks like Batman and Robin. Victor spots a familiar face in the crowd: "Well, well, well, my old friend the Burgomaster. Now he's chief of police. Easy to see how he got his promotion!" And he's wearing the Baron's ring. Not only that, he's now in possession of Victor's clothes, his chairs, his desk - "Even my bed!" Frankly, the pair need a positive: as luck has it, a deaf and dumb Björk look-alike leads them to a cave, where they discover the perfectly preserved body of the creature in a glacier.

Like Vernon Kay, "he's alive, but his brain is dormant," the result of being shot in the head in the previous film. The Baron hires the carnival's dodgy mesmerist Zoltán (Woodthorpe) to try to bring it out of its coma. Like some faithless pet cat who decides it's getting tastier treats from the old lady next door, the creature ignores the Baron, and will now only take orders from Zoltán. However, the bequiffed ageing wideboy has his own plans for the screeching lunk. "There are people in this village I want punished," he huffs. Not being up to speed with the finer points of semantics, the monster stomps off in its corrective boots to rip the Burgomaster a new one. Job done, it returns home, gets drunk, screeches a bit more, and goes for a lie down. Yet despite giving him life, the monster in no way considers the Baron his besht fuggin' mate. Then, as if suddenly collapsing under the weight of its own misery, the film ends very abruptly.

Directed by cameraman Freddie Francis, after Hammer's Terence Fisher bailed out following a car accident, The Evil Of Frankenstein is generally regarded by horror buffs to be the series' nadir, in part owing to the monster's laughable visage, which resembles a man wearing a rotting box of cornflakes on his head. (Ironic, given that this incarnation's appearance was made possible by the film's distributor Universal relaxing their copyright on Jack Pierce's flat-headed design for Boris Karloff.) But mostly, because it treats the continuity laid down by the previous movie with the same kind of respect the Baron has for dead people.

In The Revenge Of Frankenstein, the Baron had succeeded in creating a reasonably human-looking monster, before it was shot; was himself beaten to death by an angry mob for his groundbreaking contribution to genetics; and was then privately resurrected by his apprentice Hans. Here, there's no mention of the Baron's life-and-death experience; the creature (the delightfully named Kiwi Kingston) looks nothing like its forebear; and Hans appears to have downsized his IQ in the interim. The locals have also apparently forgotten they've actually killed him and instead merely run him out of Karlstaad on a rail. It's the Sliding Doors of horror threequels.

Despite this wild shift in text and focus (a consequence of Hammer producer Tony Hinds replacing the usual Frankenstein writer Jimmy Sangster), The Evil Of Frankenstein is quite fun in its doggedly depressing way, and for a film made in 1964, surprisingly modern; this is practically a punk movie, with its nihilistic tone, a monster that elicits not the slightest shred of sympathy, and tombstone humour at odds with the melodramatic origins. "Cut out his heart?" gasps the Baron's hired grave robber. "Why not?" comes the reply. "He has no further use for it." For a relatively bloodless series, the violence (check out the scene where the foul creature attacks and kills the Burgomaster in his own bedroom) is certainly more than you'd expect from this era of Hammer, and indeed certain scenes were replaced or re-shot for its 1968 television showing. And as you'd imagine, with the award-winning Freddie Francis directing proceedings, the cinematography is first rate. Really, it's a one-off, standing quite apart from the cycle, and none the worse for it.
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A mysterious addition
Matt-13115 August 1999
This film appeared from no-where. It did not follow from The Revenge of Frankenstein, which had immediately preceded it, and the next film in the series, Frankenstein Created Woman, makes no mention of this film. This is a one-off film in the Hammer Frankenstein saga much in the same way that Scars of dracula is a one-off in the Dracula saga. For once, the story is rather flimsy, and the characters fail to build any pathos with the audience. The acting is good, but has no-where to go. It seems to be a remake of any number of Universal horror films rather than an original Hammer film. The direction is rather flat and the monster is just some monolithic doomsday machine running around, destroying everything. On the plus side, the atmosphere is suitably gothic and the costumes are realistic. It is, however, the least best Frankenstein film featuring peter Cushing.
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Passable and acceptable entry in Frankenstein-Hammer saga with an excellent Peter Cushing
ma-cortes5 April 2018
The third of the Hammer Frankenstein films , it revolves around with the mad doctor Baron Frankenstein : Peter Cushing who along with his helper: Sandor Eles arrive at his family castle near the small town Karlstaad , where once again undergo the fantastic experiments in the creation of life. Fortuitously finding his monster from time ago preserved in ice and thawing him out .But the Baron requires the services of a mean illusionist called Zoltan : Peter Woodthorpe who subsequently sends the creature to rob gold to the townspeople. Meanwhile , the chief of police : Duncan Lamont investigates the weird deeds .

Decent Frankenstein entry has thrills , fights , action , terror and chills .Preceded by The revenge of Frankenstein and followed by Frankenstein created woman. At the end happens the ordinary as well as violent confrontation between Baron Frankenstein and the townspeople with the unexpected consequences . Enjoyable interpretations all around .Exceptional , as usual, the great Peter Cushing as the famous Baron who finds once again the ugly monster and he brings it back to life .Peter Woodthorpe plays magnificently the vengeful and greedy mesmerist Zoltan who seeks vendetta and punishment against the chief of police and the burgomaster using secretly the hunk monster .Duncan Lamont plays a chief of police with whom Zoltan seeks vengeance and he finds out the strange events . While Sandor Eles plays the Frankenstein's eager assistant, Eles also acted in another successful Hammer film : Countess Dracula. Finally, Kathy Wild plays a beautiful mute beggar. The picture displays a colorful cinematography by John Wilcox and an evocative as well as atmospheric musical score by Don Banks .

The motion picture was professionally directed by Freddie Francis who usually worked with Peter Cushing . He was a good director and a prestigious cameraman . Freddie made a lot of terror films (many of them starred by Cushing) such as : The creeping flesh, Craze , The skull, Witness madness, The ghoul, Son of Dracula , Legend of the Werewolf, Trog, Dracula has risen from the grave , Torture garden, Hysteria, Doctor Terror , Nightmare , The brain, They came from beyond space, Doctor and the devils , 1972 Tales from the crypt ,1996 Crypt tales . Freddy was also an important cameraman with notorious titles as The straight story , Rainbow , Princess Caraboo, Fear Cape, Glory , Brenda Starr, The man in the moon, Her alibi , Suspense, Elephant man , Night must fall and Room at the top.
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Baron Frankenstein continues his experiments.
michaelRokeefe20 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is the second sequel to Hammer's classic THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Baron Frankenstein(Peter Cushing) is conducting his experiments at an old watermill, when he is interrupted; so he and his assistant Hans(Sandor Eles)make haste to his family château in Karlstadt. That is where ten years earlier his monster went amok and the misunderstood doctor was chased out of town. After causing a ruckus over a stolen ring in the possession of the town Burgonmaster(David Hutcheson)and the chief of police(Duncan Lamont), once again the Baron is on the run to avoid being arrested. He and Hans come across a young mute girl(Katy Wild), who will lead them to shelter in a cave. Much to the Baron's surprise, he finds his original monster preserved in a block of ice and begins to thaw him out. A hypnotist, Professor Zoltan(Peter Woodthrope),who is also on the run from the law is called upon to help revive Frankenstein's frigid creature. This is actually fun to watch. Sets are interesting; camera work and color is very good. And it always seems there is the added attraction of bosomy women with plenty of cleavage. Many Frankenstein movies have been made, and this is one of the better ones. Kiwi Kingston plays the monster.
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The Evil of Zoltan!
hitchcockthelegend25 October 2012
The Evil of Frankenstein is directed by Freddie Francis and written by John Elder. It stars Peter Cushing, Sandor Eles, Peter Woodthorpe and Katy Wild. Music is by Don Banks and cinematography by John Wilcox.

Returning back to Karlstad after a ten year absence, Baron Frankenstein (Cushing) hopes that the town has forgotten his monstrous impact on the town previously. With assistant Hans (Eles) in tow, it's not long before the Baron stumbles upon his monster creation frozen in a glacier of ice...

Anything they don't understand, anything that doesn't conform to their stupid little pattern...they destroy.

With Hammer Films finally getting friendly with Universal Pictures, The Evil of Frankenstein forgets the two previous Hammer Frankenstein movies and goes for what is in all essence a rehash of Karloff's stomping days. That's not necessarily a bad thing if one can judge the film as a standalone movie? But creativity is sparse and it's left to the cast and technical department to create an above average Frankenstein movie.

Yep, it sure does look nice, with impressive costuming and well dressed sets, it's a Hammer movie for sure. Bank's score is also classic Hammer strains. Cushing gives his usual dose of quality, though he is a touch restrained here in terms of committed emotion, and you have to smile at his James Bond moment during one getaway scene while a buxom babe looks on with kinky lustation in her eyes. Elsewhere it's a safe turn of cast performances, with future Dad of Delboy Trotter, Woodthorpe, camping it up as the scheming and revenge fuelled hypnotist Zoltan, Wild isn't asked to do much, and neither is Eles, who seems to be in it for some continental flavour. Francis is no Terence Fisher, but he has a good visual flair and he can construct a very good action sequence, such as the excellent finale here.

There's problems for sure; familiarity of Frankenstein movies in general hurts, the make up for the creature is very poor, one back screen projection sequence is very cheap even by low grade Hammer standards, while some of the Baron's reactions to situations don't bear up to logical scrutiny. It's not hard to understand why it's a very divisive movie amongst the Hammer Horror faithful. Yet its merits hold up well and it never once sags or becomes tiring. Cushing, Wilcox and that finale ensure it's a decent night in by the fire. 6.5/10
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The evil Baron is back again!
The_Void5 October 2005
If you ask me, Hammer's Frankenstein series is vastly superior to the Dracula series; and films like this one show why! Actually, Evil of Frankenstein is probably the weakest entry of the great series; but even on a bad day, Hammer can produce the goods, and this film certainly does everything that you would expect a Hammer Frankenstein flick to do. This is something of an odd entry in Hammer's Frankenstein series, however, as the character of Frankenstein (ironically) is far less evil than in previous and later films. The scene in which the monster is let loose and Frankenstein worriedly exclaims that the village is under threat says it all. This contradiction does bring the film down somewhat, but it doesn't harm it as much as it could have done because the distinct Hammer style is always on hand to save the day. The plot picks up after the events of The Revenge of Frankenstein, and we follow the wicked Baron as he makes his way back to his family castle. He soon finds one of his previous creatures perfectly preserved in ice, but there's a problem with the brain and Frankenstein has to recruit stage hypnotist Zoltan to bring him round. However, Zoltan has his own ideas about the creature's future...

The Hammer Frankenstein movies, especially the earlier ones, tend to follow something of a set plot; i.e. Frankenstein builds a monster, then the monster destroys everything. This film follows that plot, but as ever; enough is added to ensure that the action is never monotonous. Peter Cushing reprises his role as the title character brilliantly once again. As far as I'm concerned, there's only one Baron Frankenstein - and that's Peter Cushing. Nobody has ever - or will ever again - be able to bring what this great actor brings to the role. I'm sure that this part would be his favourite too, as it's always obvious that he enjoys playing the Baron. His persona lends itself brilliantly to this role, and that is much of the reason why the series is so successful. The monster on display this time is the most disgusting of the entire series. The make-up is repulsive and the creature really does look like it's been encased in ice for years. It is worth noting, however, that the creature in this film is the closest to the classic Frankenstein's Monster of James Whale's Frankenstein films. Overall, this film might not do much for you if you aren't a fan of Hammer/the Frankenstein series - but if you know you should be seeing this film!
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Not up to Hammers' Standards
johnrtracy27 October 2006
I've watched this movie a few times and although Peter Cushing gave his usual great performance this film falls a bit short of the mark in Hammers' Frankenstein cannon. First and foremost, there is no continuity between this film and it's predecessor, the very well done,"The Revenge Of Frankenstein" This has a lot to do with Freddie Francis being Director instead of Terence Fisher. Kiwi Kingston looks like a 3rd rate Boris Karloff, however, being an ex wrestler, and not an actor, also, wearing very bad makeup he does his best with the material handed to him. The supporting cast, Sandor Eles, Peter Woodthorpe, Duncan Lamont, and David Hutcheson, do an OK job, it's just that with the very good "Curse Of Frankanstein" and the excellent "The Revenge Of Frankenstein" i was expecting a lot more. It's still a film worth seeing. Grab that popcorn and enjoy. John R. Tracy
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Thoroughly entertaining Frankenstein movie from Hammer
mlraymond21 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Like many other viewers, I first saw this movie on television when I was a kid, and have always liked it. It holds up well to repeated viewings, and is filled with references to the older Universal Frankenstein movies of the Thirties and Forties.

The storyline is quite simple and the characters not terribly complicated. This seems to bother some viewers, who miss the irony and complexity of other Peter Cushing Frankenstein portrayals, and the odd, offbeat plotting of the Terence Fisher directed films in the series. But the film operates perfectly at the simpler level of an adventure story, rather than a really grim horror tale. The frequently humorous tone, and a hint of romance for Frankenstein's assistant and the mute girl, lighten the overall feeling, with Frankenstein himself appearing as an essentially benign character. I find it a nice change to see Baron Frankenstein as a well intended, kindly character, instead of the ruthless egomaniac usually portrayed. Cushing makes the Baron an appealing, almost lovable character, in this outing.

The scene of the creation of the Monster is quite well staged, as is the later sequence of the dormant creature being revived. The sets and backgrounds look good and the acting is decent. A longer running time might have allowed for some more development of the relationship between the nameless mute girl and Hans, Frankenstein's assistant, as well as the friendship between the girl and the Monster. There are hints of a family atmosphere, with Frankenstein almost seeming a father figure to the two younger people, and the Monster as a sort of child in need of guidance.

This is a very entertaining little movie, and would probably be enjoyed by anyone who likes the old Universal classics.
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Decent enough, if only for a few reasons
kannibalcorpsegrinder1 April 2015
Trying to get his experiments started again, Baron Frankenstein and his assistant find his earlier creature frozen in ice and still alive, where a local magician uses it to exact revenge on the townspeople who race to stop it before the creature starts another rampage.

This here wasn't that bad and actually had some good stuff going for it. The best parts to this one here was whenever it had the creature either as the main focus of the scene or featured it on-screen. The first scene with it, the flashback to the past where it shows the creature's first rampage through the forest and its' confrontations with the townsfolk results in some fun as the chases are nice, the stunts aren't too bad and it has a fun atmosphere that makes it really enjoyable. The fact that there's also some rather fun and enjoyable scenes later on inside the lab where the creature is being brought back to life through the hypnosis makes it quite fun, and when the creature goes out and gets his rampage going, the murder scenes are all nicely done. The final confrontation, where the monster gets out of control and starts a massive fire in the lab which soon turns into an inferno and takes out pretty much everything it can, manages to have much more fun from it when the hero gets stuck down there for the explosive final confrontation. The discovery of the creature takes place in a novel setting with the gloomy atmospherics of the cave-setting, the actual excavation is handled realistically and manages to feel completely plausible the whole way through, which is an unusual for these sorts of things. These here are enough to hold this off against its' bad parts, though there isn't a whole lot of flaws to this one. One of the main issues with the film is that there's an incredibly lame monster design chosen that doesn't do much of anything to instill fear in the viewer, as the expressionless green face looks like a block of flesh put atop the body, it's general shape is baggy and inconsistent, and on the whole there's hardly a whole lot of inference given it's pedigree to the past. The other flaw to this one, and the one that does the most damage is the film's utter dullness when it isn't focused on the monster. The monster is brought out in full detail quite late in the film, making it a real stretch in the beginning to get some good parts out of it. It's slow, dull and beyond the fun flashback has nothing all that exciting to make it interesting by focusing on such extreme lengths as it does on the carnival troupe and their reaction around town who in turn are yet again up-in-arms over the activities being conducted at Frankenstein manor which doesn't really allow much action, and it takes a while before something fun happens. These are the film's weak points.

Today's Rating/PG-Violence.
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The changes to the storyline really bother me
bensonmum229 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Baron Frankenstein is up to his old tricks. He is still in the business of buying corpses to do his research. But without the means to afford a proper laboratory, Frankenstein has set up shop in a cabin. When the locals learn of experiments, Frankenstein is forced to flee. Accompanied by his assistant, Frankenstein heads back to his abandoned home to collect some valuables to sell to raise the money he needs to continue his work. Shortly after arriving, he discovers that his first creation is still alive. With a little work, Frankenstein is sure he can correct his previous mistakes. Can he evade the locals and be successful this time?

The Evil of Frankenstein is easily my least favorite of Hammer's series (granted, I haven't seen The Horror of Frankenstein). While there are moments and various set-pieces that I enjoy and Cushing is as good as ever, overall it's just not that good. Why all the changes? The events in The Evil of Frankenstein rewrite the entire history of the series. Everything that Hammer had done previously in its Frankenstein series is wiped away with one flashback sequence. And why change the Baron Frankenstein character? In the previous movies, Frankenstein was an evil genius, but he was always in control. His violent and vocal outburst in the café scene is totally out of character. Also, he is no longer as cold and heartless as in the earlier movies. Instead, he comes across as sympathetic towards those around him and actually seems appalled to learn his creature has harmed his enemies.

I've read comparisons between the monster makeup in The Evil of Frankenstein and Universal's classic monster. While there are similarities, comparing the two is tantamount to blasphemy. The monster in The Evil of Frankenstein is poor stepchild to the monster played by Karloff. It looks cheap. There are certain camera angles where the monster's head looks like a piñata ready to spill its candy.

As for what worked for me, there are a couple of moments worth mentioning. The opening scenes of the body snatcher skulking through the twisted forest are especially creepy. It's a very effective opening. Another very enjoyable, but all too brief, scene occurs when Frankenstein raises the table holding his monster. The camera is attached to and moves with the table. It's one of the very few moments in the movie where Director Freddie Francis can be praised for being creative.
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Speaking up for EVIL ...
bakers42 June 2010
As a fan of Hammer horror, this film highly needs some praise. I'm compelled to speak up for it against a lot of criticism it takes -- sometimes on valid ground, it's not perfect. The makeup does show flaws for example. Problem is, overall significance of these issues is often overstated, to the exclusion of a myriad of more impressive, even superb aspects. There are a lot of things for the better that haven't been adequately noted, with all the criticisms taking up most reviews. I'll take a shot at that here.

Disclosure: the Frankenstein films with Cushing are among my favorites from the halls of Hammer. I find EVIL stands out as a solid one, with the first two, and FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED.

One complaint I don't credit is that EVIL's story doesn't follow the previous (two) films; though I don't disagree with the fact. EVIL has an interesting surface veneer as if of 'sequel' (perhaps to appease expectations of distributors or audiences?). But it's much better understood as a stand-alone film. The second Cushing Frankenstein film (REVENGE) tightly follows the first (CURSE)as a sequel. Perhaps for some, that puts expectations on EVIL that it has to fit the mold, satisfy that presumption, or there's something wrong. Unfair basis for criticism, I submit.

As the film begins, prior expectations it's a sequel seem sound. Even though it doesn't begin with Cushing incognito as "Dr. Frank" (the way REVENGE ended). But we quickly gather there have been previous circumstances and events; suggesting (deviously) story continuity with CURSE and REVENGE, like a sequel.

But when Cushing's flashback comes and the past is recounted, we learn it's not as we saw in the first two films at all. Instead we get a whole, new alternative origin story!

True, we can rationalize, maybe Dr. Frankenstein is misrepresenting what went on, willfully or not (maybe his mind's snapped). But the film doesn't bear that out. Nothing that follows validates it. For example, when we meet the Monster, he is indeed exactly what we saw in the flashback, apparently accurate (and not what CURSE portrayed).

(Apparently there were business considerations governing a lot of this. Hammer wanted to use a traditional-like monster design in their first film but it was distributed by Warner Bros 7 Arts one of Universal's rivals. So Universal wouldn't allow their design to be used. But EVIL was distributed by Universal, so ... carte blanche)

Trying to keep EVIL in the 'regular sequel' mold, a forced misinterpretation, is the only thing informing complaints it doesn't follow the first two films. We start putting 2 and 2 together while watching, as we realize this. Other subtle points now make sense. For example it's still Peter Cushing and Dr. Frankenstein, but -- this is a different Baron. He still comes on strong, but doesn't have quite the cold-blooded disposition we saw previously. He's still single minded and not too scrupulous, but he's a different character. Ironically, EVIL gives us Cushing's least 'evil' version of Doc Frankenstein. To provide for human villainy in the film, we have Zoltan the hypnotist instead (for scale: he's not a rapist although a little sexual harassment is not out of the question).

Speaking of Zoltan: with the exception of Dr. Frankenstein's assistant (who receives little development or character interest), EVIL gives us one of the most vivid and vibrant cast of supporting players and roles. Zoltan is superbly conceived and executed. But a real stand out is the mute waif who instinctually bonds with the Monster. Her character and performance go down in the Hammer hall of fame. Eros and pathos in one.

And for crying out loud, a special award is due Kiwi Kingston in the role of the monster. And whoever had the insight to cast him. The idea of having a 'big time wrestler' play the Monster was a monumental stroke of brilliance in EVIL, unique among Frankenstein films. These guys professionally specialize in knowing how to make it look like they're really putting a hurt on someone. And when this version of the Frankenstein monster tears into his victims, it is delightfully brutal and very effective. No other movie in this series has monster attack scenes like this. This is original and stylish stuff.

Back to business considerations, and their input to these Hammer Frankensteins, especially Universal's ownership of the classic Frankenstein monster design. Among the most outstandingly enjoyable aspects of this unique offering from Hammer's Frankenstein dungeon is its clear inspiration from, and tribute to, the classic Universal Frankenstein films. Kiwi Kingston's makeup has been criticized as sloppy, but its design is clearly a labor of loving embellishment upon the original theme. Story motifs in EVIL harken back as well. For example, the monster being found frozen in a block of ice (shades of FRANKENSTEIN MEETS WOLFMAN). Or all this to do in the village about the "burgomeister,' and the carnival sideshow setting (kind of evokes Prof Lampini's business in HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN). The entire feel is homage to the vintage classic, bringing fresh treatment to the story cycle. Quite a difference from the first two films where Hammer was being careful, apparently, not to trespass on some of that (lest Universal take action).

Story and script are well written, opening with a scary body snatching scene. Pretty good production values on the whole per Hammer standards. EVIL features memorable musical score, nice monochrome-looking lab set, and good photography, like a night shot with the monster carrying a big cross it has just raided from the church (scaring heck out of a drunk who thinks it's after him). I like how the relationship between Baron and hypnotist devolves, Dr. Frankenstein has gotten himself into a situation. Flaws in this film pale in significance against its virtues. 'Bout time someone said some of this stuff about this very entertaining enjoyable film.
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Why don't they just leave him alone?
film-critic29 October 2005
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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One of the lesser Frankenstein movies
preppy-322 December 2005
Dr. Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) with helper Hans (Sandor Eles) returns to a village he had been forced out of 10 years earlier. He had made a monster which (he thought) had been destroyed. He finds the creature (Kiwi Kingston) actually alive but its brain is dormant. He gets a hypnotist (Peter Woodthorpe) to activate the monster brain. He does--but has his own evil plans for it...

Third in the series of the Hammer Frankenstein movies. It's not good but it's not terrible either. Production values are strong and there's a good cast but the story is somewhat...lacking. I never quite understood how any hypnotist could activate a brain and there's next to no action until the final half hour. There's also a mute girl who is thrown into the story for no good purpose that I could see. Also the makeup on the monster is pretty terrible. They got permission and tried to model it after the monster from the 1931 film--but it just doesn't work. The violence is also pretty restrained in this one--I find it hard to believe that any scenes were cut for original TV broadcasts.

Acting helps a lot in this one. Woodthorpe overacts but Eles is tall and handsome as the Baron's assistant and Katy Wild (the mute girl) does wonders with a horribly written role--heck, she's not even given a name! Kingston is OK as the monster (his face is completely covered with makeup--all you can see are the eyes). Cushing is, as always, fantastic as Frankenstein. He doesn't play him as totally evil (despite the title) as he did later on. He comes across as a scientist who work means EVERYTHING to him--he lives only for that and nothing more. He also can't understand why people keep hounding him. He keeps asking "Why can't they leave me alone?" So not good but not bad. Worth catching if you're a Hammer fan but don't go out of your way. I give it a 6.
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A solid and underrated Hammer Frankenstein fright feature
Woodyanders25 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Baron Frankenstein (a marvelous performance by the great Peter Cushing) and his loyal assistant Hans (well played by Sandor Eles) are forced to take up residence in a remote rural region. They discover Frankenstein's creature (hulking former wrestler Kiwi Kingston) frozen in a block of ice. Frankenstein enlists the aid of arrogant sideshow hypnotist Zoltan (essayed with perfectly pompous aplomb by Peter Woodthorpe) to revive the creature. However, Zoltan has his own pernicious plans for the behemoth brute. Director Freddie Francis keeps the pace constantly brisk throughout and stages the shock scenes with considerable flair to spare. The bang-up supporting cast helps matters out a lot: ravishing redhead Katy Wild as a spunky deaf beggar girl, Duncan Lamont as a hard-nosed police chief, David Hutcheson as a corrupt burgomaster, James Maxwell as a disapproving priest, and Howard Gorney as a pathetic drunk. John Wilcox's striking picturesque cinematography (the artful use of fades and dissolves is especially impressive), Don Banks' shivery full-bore orchestral score, and the exciting fiery conclusion are all on the money excellent and effective. Only the shoddy monster make-up detracts a bit from this otherwise solid and satisfying film.
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Possibly the least out of the series but it's still entertaining, especially for fans of course.
Boba_Fett113811 July 2009
Out of the long running Frankenstein-series from the Hammer Studio's, starring Peter Cushing, this movie might very well be the least one. For the fans of the series and Hammer movies in general it still remains a more than good watch though. It's entertaining, especially if you're into these type of movies and it of course has Peter Cushing in it to spice up some things as well.

What makes this movie not as good as the other ones from the series is its story and approach. It just doesn't pick a very interesting story, that somehow involves hypnoses. Of course it's quite difficult to come up with something original each time for every Frankenstein movie by the Hammer Studio's but that doesn't mean you can just get away with putting in some new original stuff when it just simply doesn't work out too well for the story. Luckily the movie starts to become more 'Hammer-like' toward its ending, when the monsters gets on the loose again and causing death and mayhem, as usual.

The movie of course doesn't feature a lot of horror and mostly has to settle with its atmosphere. The movie has a typical Hammer look and feeling all over it. The movie its look is almost pathetically cheap at times but this is part of what makes Hammer movies such charming ones to watch.

Peter Cushing is good as always as the well known baron but you also feel that he just didn't had the best material to work with. He doesn't always control his character well enough it seems, which can be blamed on the movie its writing. Director Freddie Francis also does his usual stuff, with his first and only Frankenstein movie he directed for the Hammer studio's Frankenstein-series, though he also later did some movies which involved the baron and creature, such as for instance "Son of Dracula".

It's not the best the series has to offer but for the fans this still simply remains a must-see!

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Evil of Frankentein
Scarecrow-8811 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Baron von Frankenstein(Peter Cushing, trying his best)weary from being constantly interrupted by religious folk when he's always on the brink of a breakthrough in his experiments, returns to where his château is in Karlstaad(along with assistant Hans played by Sandor Elès)hopefully to retrieve property that will pay for tools in to continue his work. Baron finds that a carnival is in town and that his nemesis, the Burgomaster(David Hutcheson) has confiscated the doctor's possessions. Having no place to hide once his cover is blown, Baron and Hans retreat to the mountains where they encounter a deaf mute girl(Katy Wild)who leads them to a cave before a storm hits. Inside the cave is Baron's monster encased in ice where he must've landed when a pack of hunters shot him with rifles in the head. You see once the police found out that Baron had created the possibly violent monster doing "devil's work" he was forced to leave Karlstaad. They melt the ice, but find that the monster's brain is severely damaged and will need a "life-spark" in order to function again. Enter Zoltán the Hypnotist(devilishly played by Peter Woodthorpe)who Baron will seek out to "accelerate a reaction" in the monster's brain. What Baron doesn't count on is that Zoltán will wish to use his hypnosis as a source of monetary gain and vengeance(the Burgomaster and Chief of police had Zoltán kicked out of the carnival for operating without a license). So the monster will do as Zoltán says and Baron will have to make a decision..end the monster or continue his experiments in cooperation with Zoltán getting "to use" him as well in a put-upon partnership. This is the source of conflict at the heart of this particular film in the third "Frankenstein" film from Hammer Studios as Baron must determine what is most important, the experiments or certain evil-doings by a very treacherous Zoltán.

Very studio-set oriented with a lot of matte art work, a Hammer film to me is awfully hard not to like. The film still benefits from the presence of Cushing, but the monster in this film is merely a toy to be manipulated. I didn't really care for the whole "hypnotist angle", but admire their trying to change things up a bit. Weak entry, but nonetheless has it's moments.
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A lesser Hammer horror but still very watchable
TheLittleSongbird10 January 2015
Like many, Evil of Frankenstein is my least favourite of the Hammer Frankenstein films starring Peter Cushing and is a lesser entry of the Hammer horror films. But does that make it a bad film? No, in fact it is very watchable, just disappointing.

Evil of Frankenstein has its flaws, the main one being some of the story which is like different elements from past Universal/Hammer films recycled and cobbled together to sometimes muddled and underdeveloped effect, there are though some interesting elements(I personally found the mute girl subplot quite touching). It also took a while to get going and there is a clumsy and contrived script with a number of contradictory elements compared to other Frankenstein films, as a standalone the film's okay but continuity-wise comparatively it just didn't seem to fit. The monster's make-up is poor this time round, wasn't crazy about it in Curse of Frankenstein(the only real criticism this viewer had of that film) but at least the make-up in that film didn't look like layers of out of date oatmeal being put on the actor's head and face like here, giving it a fake rather than freaky look. It was nice to see the Monster as a misunderstood creature again but Kiwi Kingston for personal tastes played the role rather lifelessly, the monster never felt menacing here and it wasn't easy to root for him either. Sandor Eles also does next to nothing with a very underwritten role.

However, Evil of Frankstein looks great apart from one cheap back-screen projection. The cinematography is simply splendid with nice shadowy effects and the sets and costumes are wonderfully sumptuous and Gothic, who can't love the lab set. Freddie Francis had big shoes to fill and his direction was a respectable effort but there was a sense that he wasn't quite the right man for the job. Narratively and pacing-wise, his direction does have a tendency to lumber but when it comes to the visuals and creating an atmosphere Francis' experience as a cinematographer shines through. There are some effective scenes here, the opening scene is brilliantly creepy and the climax and monster-coming-to-life scene are exciting. One notable exception is Frankenstein's escape from the Burgomaster, clumsily done as well as a little cheap-looking and should have been excised(personal view of course). Don Banks' music score is enough to evoke chills. The cast are good on the whole. Peter Cushing comes out on top as a more sympathetic than usual Frankenstein, he gives an as always great performance and makes his lacking dialogue seem more than it actually is. Peter Woodthorpe plays an absolute slimeball and literally has a ball with it while Katy Wild is touching as Rena the mute beggar girl, conveying a good deal of emotions through eyes and facial expressions.

Overall, very watchable but this is not Hammer at their best. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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Good looking but not remotely good.
Prichards123459 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Freddie Francis did not have much of a feel for Gothic horror, as he admitted himself. He was more at home in modern dress horrors and Amicus' anthology tales; so when he came to The Evil Of Frankenstein he delivered an out of kilter film that doesn't square with the earlier films in the series but instead harks back to the Universal Monsters' movies of the 40s.

Peter Cushing's character is somewhat changed, too. Instead of the sardonically ruthless medical researcher here he's a bit of a whinger. Cushing is as good as ever but the Baron is much less interesting this time out, and we only have Peter Woodthorpe's lip-smacking hypnotist to really savour.

This one has Frankenstein returning to his castle and recounting a totally different scenario to that seen in Curse of Frankenstein to his assistant Hans (Sandor Eles). Finding the body of his previous creation entombed in the ice, Frankenstein attempts to reach the creature's damaged mind with the aid of said hypnotist, who of course immediately abuses his power.

The monster's look in this film is awful - on a par with Dave Prowse in Horror Of Frankenstein. With papier-mache forehead that looks like a cardboard box and size 35 diving boots he's more humorous than frightening. He's also played by an ex-wrestler, and the acting skills of previous creatures Christopher Lee and Michael Gwynne are sorely missed.

Evil looks fantastic, however, particularly the laboratory set - the most spectacular of these sets in any Hammer Frankenstein, and the creation scene is splendid. Hammer put the Baron back on an even keel when Terence Fisher returned in the much better Frankenstein Created Woman.
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Third Frankenstein Film.
AaronCapenBanner23 November 2013
Freddie Francis directed this third entry in the series, that sees Peter Cushing return as Dr. Frankenstein, who is now broke, but still has his assistant Hans(now played by Sandor Eles) The baron returns to his family castle in Germany to discover his original creature(played by Kiwi Kingston) frozen in ice, so defrosts him, but finds the creature in a catatonic state, so remembering a village hypnotist, a Dr. Zoltan(played by Peter Woodthorpe) enlists him to mentally stimulate the creature, which he does, but unfortunately decides to use it to avenge himself by murdering his enemies in the village, and steal their wealth, which leads to an explosive climax... Not as good as the first two, since the script is vague and unoriginal, but this film is still entertaining, and Cushing as good as ever. Should have tied in more neatly with its predecessors, though the idea of Frankenstein having a second creature at the same time, but a different location, as the first film is intriguing.
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The least of the series, but still watchable...
The_Movie_Cat21 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
For years this movie was unavailable in the UK due to copyright problems with Universal. As a result it was the only one I'd never got to see in a pleasantly enjoyable series.

"Pleasant"? Well, the Hammer Frankenstein movies are hardly likely to scare today, and Peter Cushing always gives a compelling performance in them. Plus, they're generally pretty well made and have a certain charm.

Sadly, however, this is probably the weakest of the series, with a flat look to everything. Production-wise it's a little less than before, with some shocking back projection and obvious stunt doubles for Cushing at the end, as well as some dubbing issues. Terence Fisher's absence is obviously clearly felt throughout, the only Cushing Frankenstein he didn't direct.

But what hurts it most is the lack of genuine inspiration. With the rights to the Universal monster look obtained for this one, it's as if the imagination the producers used to get round the problem has now gone. The most faithful of all the films in the series, yet also the most generic, with even Cushing himself appearing to phone it in a little. Even the left-field ending with the monster (unintentionally) hilariously being addicted to booze seems to brings thing to a perfunctory close.

After this the series returned to greater, more imaginative heights and Cushing went on to play Frankenstein for an astonishing seventeen years. Apart from one brief break in the run where they tried to reboot it as a comedy series with Ralph Bates he was allowed to play out in 1974's engaging "Monster From Hell".

Overall it was a rewarding series that acted as a complement to the Universal pictures, and - while never reaching the heights of the first two 1930s movies - did manage to successfully continue its lifespan rather better than its forebear.

The Evil of Frankenstein isn't a great picture by any means, but is worth a look if you happen to catch it on a late night screening.
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Better than average
evilskip15 July 2000
This movie has taken a lot of criticism over the years.While some is deserved a lot is unfair.Continuity lovers complain that this film doesn't seem to fit in anywhere in the series.The monster is less than admired by those critical of the film.The Baron is said to act a bit out of character and so forth.

I agree there are quite a few plot holes in this movie.The Baron who is penniless takes up refuge at his ancestral ruins.He somehow manages to get needed lab equipment up and running.The police never think to look for him there.The hypnotist is hammy.

Considering the budget constraints and endless rewrites this film is better than average.You have to suspend your disbelief with a horror film and it really doesn't ask you to go overboard in that respect.

I haven't seen the doctored print with extra padded footage so the video print may be your best bet.
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Good 3rd Entry
Rainey-Dawn5 March 2016
This film like but not as well as parts 1, 2, and 5 of the Cushing Frankenstein series. It is a good film I just liked it a little less - it's the story of this film I liked a little less than the others. This film is a continuation of the story of Dr. Frankenstein, it pick up were part 2 left off.

Everyone was good in this film -- but it was Peter Cushing that really carried this one all the way through more so than anything thing else.

I definitely recommend this film to others that have enjoyed other Hammer Horror films and/or Peter Cushing's movies. It's worth it.

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