Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
62 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
"Hammer's fifth Frankenstein presents the Baron as a totally irredeemable character."
jamesraeburn200331 March 2004
In order to continue his experiments, the Baron blackmails a young couple into helping him abduct Dr Brandt (a brilliant brain surgeon gone mad) from the lunatic asylum so that he can operate on him, cure his sanity and transplant the brain into another body. This he does by kidnapping and murdering Professor Richter and using the body to house Brandt's brain. This he does because he wants to learn Brandt's knowledge of brain transplants. However, when Brandt wakes up he escapes and plots revenge against Frankenstein.

The fifth Hammer Frankenstein presents the Baron as a totally irredeemable character, a cold calculating psychopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means destroying the young couple in the process. Cushing plays with his usual conviction and is aided by a reliable supporting cast including Simon Ward (in his first film appearance), Veronica Carlson and Freddie Jones as the creature. The direction of Terence Fisher is accomplished as is the lighting of Arthur Grant.
14 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hammer's 5th Frankenstein film is proof positive of the fine work of Cushing/Fisher.
A. Bates23 October 1998
Peter Cushing will always be THE final word on the role of Baron Frankenstein. Cunning, arrogant, relentless and above all else,charming. It could also be said that Terence Fisher is the final word on not only directing Hammer's Frankenstein series but Hammer films in general. This is not a new theory by any stretch regarding Fisher. His was the style by which all who played for Hammer's team would in some way emulate. It is no surprise, therefore, that FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED would be so good. Both actor and director had become pretty familiar with this material but rather than go through the motions something high above the expectation mark occurs. A good script certainly helps and indeed this time around there is. It is the relished performance of Peter Cushing and the carefully executed direction of Fisher which gives this film it's tasty Gothic flavor. Never seen a Hammer film? Here's your chance to sink your teeth into a good one.
12 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
superior Hammer horror
Andy Sandfoss14 February 2000
This is easily my favorite Frankenstein film, and one of my favorite Hammer films. The acting, lead by Peter Cushing, can't be any better; Simon Ward, Maxine Audley, and Freddie Jones deserve special comment in this regard. (There is little point in praising Cushing as Frankenstein; he plays it with such depth and understanding that the role is his and always will be! I can't use any superlatives here that haven't already been used for Cushing's Baron.) And for once, a Frankenstein movie really gets to the key point Mary Shelley is making - by leaving the monster out entirely! Terence Fisher's direction doesn't miss a cue; with the conventionalization of the monster gone, Fisher can take the movie in new, unexpected directions, and does so with the steady hand of a master director. An unqualified success for all involved!
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A masterpiece, the peak of Hammer's output
Libretio30 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Mono

Following a long period of cheap-looking productions designed to play as double-features on their home turf, Hammer returned to premium quality horror with FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, arguably the company's finest hour, and certainly Peter Cushing's definitive portrayal of the monstrous Baron. Here, he blackmails medical student Simon Ward (making his feature debut) and his lovely fiancée Veronica Carlson into helping him with a brain transplant which - naturally - goes horribly wrong. Instead of the misguided adventurer depicted in previous films, screenwriter Bert Batt emphasizes the Baron's ruthless pursuit of knowledge and power, culminating in an unexpected sequence in which Cushing's domination of Carlson segues from mere tyranny to rape, a scene which Cushing reportedly found distasteful. Overall, however, Batt's script allows the characters to evolve via a skilfully constructed plot which employs levels of drama and emotion largely absent from much of Hammer's output at the time, alongside the usual elements of horror and suspense.

Director Terence Fisher rises to the occasion with remarkable dexterity, orchestrating set-pieces which have been compared to Hitchcock in some quarters, especially the opening sequence in which a petty thief (Harold Goodwin) breaks into the wrong house and has a truly hair-raising confrontation with its volatile owner (leading to a memorable 'reveal'); and the traumatic moment in the back garden of Carlson's boarding house, when she's forced to deal with a corpse (one of Frankenstein's cast-offs) ejected from its makeshift grave by a burst water pipe. Freddie Jones adds pathos to the proceedings as the helpless victim of Frankenstein's latest experiment, his brain transplanted into another man's body against his will, traumatizing his incredulous wife (Maxine Audley) who refuses to accept his new identity (a scenario echoed by a similar plot line in John Woo's FACE/OFF in 1997). The period décor may look a little cramped and cut-price in places, but this is Hammer/Fisher/Cushing at the very height of their creative powers, and the film is a small masterpiece of British Gothic.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Frankenstein must be worshiped!!
Coventry19 October 2004
Hooray! Here's another entry in the highly amusing Hammer Frankenstein franchise. Don't ever ask me to pick a 'best' or even favorite in this series because I instantly love every episode I can get my dirty little hands on :) And this fifth chapter is a true highlight as it has our Baron Frankenstein more and more evolving into a ruthless, cold villain. He blackmails a young couple; forcing them to assist him with his diabolical experiments (only he sees it as simple scientific evolution). Along with his new accomplices, Baron F. kidnaps a fellow mad scientist out of the asylum because he knows the skills to perform a flawless brain transplant. Unfortunately, Frankenstein's mad raving colleague has been drugged so much he now is a complete vegetable. Ingenious as he is, evil Victor transplants a few brains and commits a few murders to finally have the things the way he wants.

After 4 prequels, numberless others adaptations and several novels, Hammer Productions (and class-A director Terence Fisher in particular) still manages to present the Frankenstein films as original and innovative horror adventures. It's remarkable how Cushing and Fisher completely shifted the initial horror from Frankenstein's monster to Baron Frankenstein himself! In this film, the creature is a pathetic 'victim' while it's Cushing who's the criminal mastermind. Needless to say that Cushing is absolutely powerful in his loyal role of the Baron. He's actually so good in preaching his medical ambitions that you often sympathize with him, even though you witness with your own eyes he's bad to the bone! Cushing receives excellent feedback from the young actor Simon Ward and the exquisite Veronica Carlson. 'Frankenstein must be Destroyed' is an intriguing horror film for some other reason as well. Fisher inserts a healthy dose of Romanticism in this episode plus it's also one of the first Hammer films that feature the sexual content and undertones they'll use more and more in their 70's films. Hammer's popularity tempered a bit during the late 60's/ early 70's and they tried to make up for this by showing more ravishing meat (Carlson's cleavage) and sexual insinuations. In short, Frankenstein must be destroyed is essential horror viewing! It has loads of tension and exciting sequences, the film is professionally made, well-acted and it features a fair amount of bloodshed.
23 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent variation on the classic story
The_Void6 September 2004
Frankenstein must be Destroyed is one of the best of the hammer horror series; and that is saying something, as the studio has produced a lot of horror highlights. Peter Cushing stars as Baron Frankenstein, the mad doctor whom everyone and their dog will recognise instantly from the classic novel. This film is an interesting variation on the classic story, and it sees Baron Frankenstein involving himself in the practice of brain transplant surgery. The film doesn't have anything to do with the classic novel; it doesn't make reference to it at any time, and it's only notable similarity to that from which it is based is the character of Baron Frankenstein. Saying that; it doesn't really matter, as this film stands on it's own from the original story.

The character of Frankenstein has been changed a lot from the one that we all know and love. The original Frankenstein was an over-ambitious scientist that got in over his head and later found redemption. The one here, however, is pure evil. He has no remorse for any of what he has done, and he treats murder only as an obstacle that is in his way. He is cold, calculating and overall; not a nice man. The story really takes off when Frankenstein blackmails Karl, a young scientist, into helping him perform the first brain transplant. The two kidnap Dr Brandt, a fellow mad-scientist who has gone insane and is being held in a mental asylum. A lot of the film's horror is drawn from the character of Frankenstein, who is expertly portrayed by Peter Cushing.

Peter Cushing is a great actor, and is more than up there on the illustrious list of horror legends. He's not as pronounced as fellow legend Vincent Price, or as malevolent as fellow legend Christopher Lee; but Peter Cushing has a niche all of his own. His persona is extremely creepy, especially in this film. He's not evil like you would imagine evil to be; he has a much more intelligent, more calculating presence; and that is far more scary than any man in a monster suit. Peter Cushing's screen presence is in his authority; he isn't a big and strong man, but he's not the sort of person that you would want to upset because you just KNOW that something bad will happen to anyone who does. The acting in Frankenstein Must be Destroyed is surprisingly good, actually; from Hammer films, you don't tend to expect great acting, but this one delivers. Simon Ward stars (almost!) opposite Peter Cushing as the young scientist blackmailed by Frankenstein. He's definitely second fiddle to the awesome Peter Cushing, but he performs admirably. Freddie Jones is the real star besides Cushing; although no Boris Karloff, his performance as the man turned into a monster is perfectly tragic. Veronica Carlson is the lady of the film, and she does just fine; and some credit must go to Thorley Walters, too; the man that plays the hazardously idiotic police inspector.

The ending of the movie is great, and draws parallels with that of the original novel, in that it's exciting, flame-ridden and everyone gets their comeuppance. Credit must go to Terrence Fisher; he has directed a number of Frankenstein (and Dracula) films, and following up on a classic novel and doing it well is no easy feat. Frankenstein Must be Destroyed is a horror highlight, and a must for fans of the genre.
14 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the best of the Hammer Frankenstein films
TheLittleSongbird21 January 2015
For me the only two that are superior are Curse of Frankenstein and Revenge of Frankenstein(with the weakest being The Evil of Frankenstein). Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is Peter Cushing's penultimate outing as Frankenstein and it's a very strong one.

I do have to agree with those saying that the rape scene wasn't all that necessary- it is clear that Frankenstein is depraved but the film did go a bit too far adding that in- and did seem in bad taste. The climax is very exciting and suspenseful but ends a little too hastily, and parts of the second half are a little padded. Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed as with most Hammer horrors is visually accomplished, love the sumptuous Gothic quality of the costume and set design, it's a very colourful film to look at and the film is photographed beautifully and atmospherically. Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is hauntingly scored, with the music really complimenting the atmosphere well and even enhances it while also not over-powering.

The script is witty, nuanced and tense with no signs of irrelevant froth or juvenile misplaced humour, while the story has never a dull moment(even with the odd bit of padding in the second half and is always compelling, giving off a really suspenseful, creepy and occasionally violent atmosphere. Two scenes really stood out, the buried body bursting out of the earth is unsettlingly scary and there is a scene between Freddie Jones's character and his wife that genuinely brought tears to the eye. Terence Fisher's direction is taut and unflinching. The acting is very fine all round, with top honours going to a chillingly incisive Peter Cushing as a more evil Frankenstein this time round, an alluring and heartfelt Veronica Carlson(the gowns she wears here suited her) and especially a hauntingly powerful Freddie Jones. All in all, a very strong penultimate Hammer Frankenstein outing for Cushing and the third best of the series after Curse and Revenge. 8/10 Bethany Cox
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
the best Hammer Frankenstein film!
vampyr-514 October 1999
Hammer Films' 5th Frankenstein film is their best. Cushing brings a new pathos to the character of the Baron that is consistent with, and at the same time, different than his previous films. Terence Fisher brings an unbelievable sense of style to this, his best film. The ending is unbelievably good. However, if new to Hammer - I don't suggest you start with this one. Ideally, view the Frankenstein films in order (Curse of Frankenstein, Revenge of Frankenstein, (feel free to skip) Evil of Frankenstein and Frankenstein Created Woman. This film will be far stronger as a result. Disturbed till the end!
22 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Did Cushing just *do* that?!
The_Secretive_Bus16 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film can't really be talked about without spoilers regarding a certain infamous scene that happens about 45 minutes into the running time. However, this review contains no spoilers regarding the plot itself.

The 5th in Hammer's run of Frankenstein films starring Cushing, "Frankenstein Must be Destroyed" takes a few liberties with its central character, turning him from a vaguely amoral yet still likable enough dandy-doctor (sort of like Jon Pertwee without the gurning) into a complete bastard who it'd be impossible to like at all. And yet it still works.

Peter Cushing is the reason to watch this film. To be honest, the plot itself isn't one of the best of the series, for the most part seemingly rehashing the basic premise of the superior "Revenge of Frankenstein", with Frankenstein back to conventional brain swapping, working with a foppish aide in various cellars, and a "monster" with an identity crisis. There are several plot strands working at once and not all of them really work (a duo of police inspectors investigate proceedings for the first hour or so, decide to go and find the Baron, and then are seemingly forgotten, never appearing again), and the monster stuff seems to have been chucked in as an afterthought.

However, the development of the actual core character is far more interesting, and one doesn't really mind the plot taking a back seat. One thing that becomes increasingly clear when watching these Hammer Frankenstein films is that they do actually have clear progression for the character of Frankenstein himself, which surprised me quite a bit. From being a young, cold scientist, through to a slightly nicer, though still rather unethical, sort, and finally settling down to become nicer still, by the time of this film he's completely gone and lost his humanity. The real monster of this film is Frankenstein himself, colder, more cunning, more manipulative and nastier than ever before. He no longer smiles, he sneers. He seems to hate everybody, using people as puppets for as long as they are useful to him - compare his relationship with his assistant here to that he shared with Thorley Walters in "Created Woman". Though he's killed before, never has it seemed as off-hand and easy for him as it does here, with several stabbings and decapitations being put down to his handiwork. And then of course there's the infamous rape scene.

In the sort of scene which I would never have expected Peter Cushing to be a part of, Frankenstein spies on Anna, the girlfriend (if I remember rightly) of his unwilling assistant Karl, as she stands in her bedroom in her nightie, and then continues to walk in, lock the door, and, yes, rape her. Though the camera cuts away before the actual act itself, there's enough physical contact and such to know what the end result would have been. It's the most harrowing scene Cushing's ever had to perform, and the long stretch of time he spends just staring at Anna cranks up the tension more than any other Hammer horror has ever managed to do. Incidentally, this scene was added to the film as a complete afterthought when shooting had almost finished, as it was considered by the distributors that the film as it was didn't have enough sex in it. Quite why a rape scene was judged as an acceptable addition I don't know (rather than, say, a random spot of nudity or an appearance by a randy courting couple), but the inclusion of it, though making for uncomfortable viewing, really does advance the character of Frankenstein himself and shows how depraved he has become, and how much emotion he now lacks. Peter Cushing and Veronica Carlson understandably didn't want to do it at all. If I may nick a quote from Veronica Carlson in "The Peter Cushing Companion" -

"Peter didn't want to do it. He took me to dinner one evening to discuss it but it didn't make the scene any easier. I couldn't refuse to do it. Terence Fisher (the director) was very understanding but it was totally humiliating. Every alternative was more vulgar than the last... Terry just said 'Cut, that's it,' and turned away. Peter and I just stayed there and held on to each other."

This does explain why, after this scene, Anna doesn't seem to act any differently around Frankenstein compared to before the rape, as most subsequent scenes were filmed earlier on. I suppose the validity of the scene's inclusion depends upon each individual viewer. Ironically, the scene was cut from American prints.

Though the film is incredibly dark, there is some vague delight to be had at actor spotting. For your Doctor Who fans there's George Pravda (who appeared in three stories, best remembered as Spandrell in "The Deadly Assassin") and the chap who played Dr. Warlock from "Pyramids of Mars". Then there's also Windsor "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" Davies as a policeman, and Thorley Walters as the chief inspector with Geoffrey Bayldon as his wonderfully cynical aide. The latter partnership provides the only comedy to be had in the whole feature, and it's a shame that they have no bearing on the story at all.

There's not much more I can say about this film, really. It's a very good story, and I've left most of it for you to discover. Beware however that it's not a rosy-cheeked bit of "so bad it's good" fun, and may actually disturb and even frighten you to some extent. It should definitely be near the top of any Peter Cushing fans' list of films to see.
13 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fundamental Hammer Horror viewing.
Snake-6668 February 2004
This fifth entry in the Hammer ‘Frankenstein' series sees Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) blackmailing a young doctor, Karl (Simon Ward) and his fiancée Anna (Veronica Carlson) into helping him kidnap the mentally incapacitated Dr. Brandt (George Pravda) and perform the first ever successful brain transplantation.

It is always difficult to make a fair and accurate assessment of a Hammer horror production, particularly one with the superlative quality of this particular work. ‘Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed' is something of a change in pace for the series as Frankenstein himself appears to have fallen into madness rather than practicing misunderstood and unethical medicine as in the previous instalments. His methods are still unethical, that cannot be debated, but there is a noticeable emphasis this time around on the Baron's work being for his own advancement rather than for the benefit of man. Although the typical self-promoting dialogue from Frankenstein would indicate that he is attempting the surgery for the benefit of mankind, there is an undoubted distinction between the Frankenstein of this movie and the ones of the past. This new direction for the character is coupled with a monstrous personality that continually dictates that nobody matters as long as the Baron gets what he desires. Frankenstein is willing to go to any lengths necessary in order to accomplish his goal and his pure focus towards his goal only wanes a mere couple of times. The Baron's deterioration into lunacy is exceedingly well portrayed during a particularly violent (but short) rape sequence. The intensity on Cushing's face adds to the believability of the scene and the image is so powerful that it could linger in the viewers mind and give the movie a new, raw and brutal edge. Peter Cushing is able to adapt his style of acting to fit the new persona of the Baron and offers a remarkably visceral performance rather than the calculated performances of the past. As with almost every movie that Cushing participated in, his on-screen presence is powerful and commanding and this alerts the viewer to the necessity of paying attention to his character.

The film follows the archetypal pattern for Hammer horrors. The film starts off powerfully with two predominantly memorable sequences, the most sensational of which is the entrance of the diabolical Baron when he terrifies a petty thief. From there, the film moves towards the mechanics of the Baron's actions and his resolution to accomplish all that he seeks out to undertake. It is during this `mid-section' of the film that everything slows down while the emphasis is no longer on scares or action. However, through some very proficient direction from Terence Fisher the pacing and structure of this movie almost makes ‘Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed' pre-eminent when compared to other movies of the era. Without a shadow of a doubt, ‘Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed' should be held in the highest echelon of excellence within the Hammer family if only for its superb composition alone. The movie ends with an exhilarating climax yet the viewer could feel cheated by the abrupt nature in which the film ends. The hasty ending is one of the few faults in this movie but in retrospect serves the series well as it does leave certain questions unanswered. The other faults with the movie are so intermittent that although they are noticeable, they rarely detract from the viewing experience. Having said that, there are a couple of scenes which seem to be unnecessarily prolonged which temporarily obstruct the otherwise smooth, flowing feel that the movie has. These scenes represent the very few moments where a viewer could temporarily lose their concentration on the movie. However, even considering the prolonged nature of the scenes in question, one cannot fault the pacing of the movie as Terence Fisher's direction shows impressive capability and he makes these scenes fit into the movie almost seamlessly.

Even with the sporadic lapses in quality ‘Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed' is fundamental viewing for any serious horror movie fan. This is a movie based around great performances, stunning visuals, a haunting and atmospheric soundtrack as well as quintessential Hammer-style horror. My rating for ‘Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed' – 8/10.
13 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
because in the temporary absence of his fiancée he could
christopher-underwood11 January 2007
This is one of the most vigorous of the Hammer productions and features Peter Cushing being uncharacteristically nasty. Even though some of his transplant theories have a certain logic he remains mean and unpleasant throughout with the (again uncharacteristic) rape scene adding icing to the already surprisingly (and ironically) nihilist cake. All the rest of Cushing's violence is aimed at 'getting the job done' but the rape, preceded by it's sexy build is a seeming sideswipe justified simply because in the temporary absence of his fiancée he could. Well dressed, surprisingly well paced and eventful. Not your ponderous Hammer production at all, rather as if its some impostor. Well worth catching.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hammer's Finest Hour
steven-22224 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A tragic story of fiendish moral complexity, the direction of Terence Fisher at the peak of his powers, exemplary Gothic atmosphere and a splendid ensemble of performers anchored by the great Peter Cushing in his most powerful turn as Frankenstein raise this movie to the pinnacle of Hammer horror.

The doctor's god complex drives the plot; this is a man who believes utterly in his infallibility, who practices murder and blackmail without blinking an eye. Into his clutches fall the two "innocents" played by Simon Ward and Veronica Carlson. But how innocent are they? And how innocent can they remain? This is a story of precipitous moral descent, utterly bleak, softened only by familiar genre trappings that reassure us this is "merely" a horror movie, "merely" an entertainment.

There is much discussion among fans about the rape scene. Supposedly producer James Carerras came up with the scene late in production with a glib comment about the movie needing more sex, and both actors objected to what they considered a gratuitous and distasteful scene. But whether he made the glib comment or not, I think Carerras's instincts were on target. The sexual trauma suffered by Carlson goes a long way to explaining why she impulsively stabs the harmless "monster" later; that act of violence seals her moral downfall; and Frankenstein's subsequent act of stabbing her reiterates his previous sexual penetration of her and marks his own moral nadir. He cannot sink lower.

Director Terence Fisher delivers flawless atmosphere and pacing. I'll comment on only one sequence, the eruption of the water main behind Carlson's house, which is carried out with Hitchcockian gusto, from the grotesque humor of the nosy, "helpful" neighbor at the back gate to the nightmarish image of a bedraggled, miserable Carlson stiffly gesturing to let Frankenstein know where the body is. It's unforgettable.

Aristotle said that great art evokes terror and pity. The terror here is obvious; the pathos is generated by Carlson, but also by Freddie Jones as the monster. His fate is tragic, but he, too, is far from innocent. Some complain that this is a Frankenstein movie without a monster, but when Frankenstein himself is a fiend, the monster must become the tragic hero. In this brilliant reversal of an oft-told tale, there can be only one outcome: Frankenstein must be destroyed.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great British horror film.
HumanoidOfFlesh7 September 2005
Peter Cushing stars as the evil Baron Frankenstein who,driven out of his homeland of Bohemia,has set up shop in an English boarding house,where he blackmails the lovely Miss Spengler,who has inherited proprietorship of the establishment from her ailing mother,and Miss Spengler's dashing young fiancé Carl into helping him with his diabolical experiments.Through Frankenstein's great good planning or great good fortune,Carl is a doctor employed at the mental hospital in which resides the infamous Dr. Brandt,Frankenstein's one time research associate and the very man Frankenstein came to England to see,now a hopeless madman.With Carl's help,Frankenstein plans to abduct Dr. Brandt and cure his insanity..."Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" by Terence Fisher is brilliantly directed film.The script by Ben Batt is truly intelligent and Freddie Jones's creature is the most interestingly complex and well played of all the Hammer's Frankenstein monsters-indeed it is the only one to come anywhere near Mary Shelley's novel and her conception of an intelligent and literate creation come to taunt its creator for the condition inflicted on it.Give this one a look.8 out of 10.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A superlative Hammer Horror
Leofwine_draca6 November 2015
FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED is one of the later entries in the long running Hammer Horror Series, which sees Peter Cushing reprising his famous role of the ruthless mad doctor. This is undoubtedly one of the highlights in what remains a very strong series, because the emphasis isn't on scientific apparatus or Universal stylings (as in the slightly disappointing previous two entries, THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN and FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN). Here, the villain of the piece is Frankenstein himself, and he's never been so ruthless.

The gory, blood-drenched murder scene which opens the film reveals just what a monster the doctor has become, but somehow Cushing still holds it all together and makes his Frankenstein a fresh and spellbinding creation. Watching him upset the local gentry is just as enjoyable as watching him performance his brain experiments. Director Terence Fisher is at his best here, creating a lush and colourful masterpiece loaded with ghoulish delights - the set-piece involving the burst water main is straight out of a Hitchcock film.

The supporting cast are strong indeed, with Simon Ward taking on the apprentice role, and Veronica Carlson a fitting damsel in distress. Freddie Jones gives the best performance as the Creature in any of Hammer's Frankenstein movies, a truly sympathetic portrayal of a man who has quite literally lost his mind. There are a couple of minor problems with this film, namely the tacked-on rape scene (unnecessary) and the sub-plot involving detective Thorley Walters and his sidekick Geoffrey Bayldon, which goes nowhere and seems to have been added in to pad out the running time. Nevertheless this remains a Hammer Horror highlight and a delightfully dark slice of English Gothic.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Perhaps the last great Hammer Horror
Prichards1234530 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Hammer's Frankenstein movies are, for me, superior to most of their Dracula efforts, and this one, with Peter Cushing(who else?) again in top form as Victor Frankenstein, is one of their very best films.

Frankenstein, perhaps hardened by his previous failures to a kind of ruthless insanity,is here a callous and manipulative soul. Blackmailing two young lovers (Veronica Carlson and Simon Ward) into helping to kidnap an insane former colleague, one who holds the secret of cryogenically freezing brains indefinitely, he sets about transplanting the brain of his abductee into another body, in order to gain the secret.

This bleak, nihilistic, richly rewarding film is a constant eye-opener, full of classic grotesque moments superbly realised by director Terence Fisher. From the opening murder (with a sickle no less) to the frantic tussle with a burglar in Frankenstien's laboratory, to the woman patient terrified by imaginary spiders in the asylum, the action never lets up.

Perhaps the highlight is a terrific sequence involving a burst water pipe which causes a previously disposed of corpse to bob back to the surface of the garden where he was buried, causing a frantic Carlson to try and drag it into some bushes before the repair men get there. A masterful scene that Hitchcock would be proud of.

And of course there is Freddie Jones' wonderful performance as "the monster". I use quotations as Jones makes him a wonderfully sorrowful creation. It's perhaps gone unnoticed that this is the best performance since Karloff in this type of role. The attempted rape sequence - inserted at the last moment over the actors and the director's protests, is perhaps the only false moment in the movie. The movie is harsh enough without it.

After this, and set designer Bernard Robinson's untimely death, cheapness and slackness set in at Hammer. They staged a partial recovery with some interesting movies such as Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde and Demons Of The Mind, but not enough to save the company. Still, one can savour the rich texture of this film and the remarkable Cushing in compensation.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Baron Victor - More Evil Than Ever Warning: Spoilers
  • WARNING! Possible SPOILERS -

The fifth Frankenstein film from the Hammer Studios, and the fourth directed by genius director Terence Fisher, "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" is another great entry to this ingenious cycle. The great Peter Cushing stars as our favorite mad scientist, Dr. Baron Victor Frankenstein again, and it is amazing to see how evil and obsessed he gets in this movie. While Frankenstein was also obsessed with the idea of artificial life in the other Frankenkenstein films from Hammer, but also interested in his fellow beings and convinced of doing something essential for mankind, he has become downright evil in "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed", as he will do everything for his experiments to be successful and doesn't even flinch from murder. Frankenstein commits murder, he blackmails a young doctor into helping him with his mad science, and he even rapes a young woman. The Baron, who was obsessed, but not necessarily evil in the previous movies, has become a true villain in this.

Peter Cushing, one of Horror cinema's all-time greatest icons, and one of my favorite actors, is once again brilliant as Baron Victor Frankenstein. Veronica Carlson ("Dracula Has Risen From The Grave") and Simon Ward fit very well in their roles as the young couple blackmailed by Frankenstein, and Freddie Jones also delivers a very good performance. The score and photography are once again very good and deliver the typical Hammer atmosphere. Fans of Hammer films and Horror in general certainly shouldn't miss "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed". Those who haven't seen any of Hammer's Frankenstein films so far should probably see the earlier ones first, simply because it's fun to see the Baron get more and more evil throughout the cycle. If you like the wonderful Frankenstein cycle from the Hammer Studios, "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" is an absolute must-see!
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Believe it or not, one of the BEST "Frankenstein" films!
Wuchak10 March 2014
Hammer did 7 Frankenstein films from the late 50s to early 70s:

  • The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

  • The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

  • The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)

  • Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

  • Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)

  • The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)

  • Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973)

Peter Cushing played Baron Frankenstein in every one of these except "The Horror of Frankenstein" because it was a remake of the original story and they needed a much younger actor to play the role; they chose Ralph Bates (who superbly played the love-to-hate OTT satanist in "Taste the Blood of Dracula" released the same year).

In any event, we all know the basic Frankenstein story: A mad scientist is obsessed with creating life from an assortment of body parts. Eventually he succeeds and his creation goes on a killing spree, although the creature is nice to kids 'cause they're innocent. Ultimately the monster must be destroyed (and the Baron usually goes with him).

Ho Hum. Forgive me if this basic plot no longer trips my trigger. Thankfully, I recently saw a couple of Frankenstein flicks that stirred my interest in this age-old predictable story: This one and "Lady Frankenstein," detailed below.

Hammer's "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" was, as noted, the fifth film in their 7-film Frankenstein series. THE PLOT: Baron Frankenstein is a fugitive who goes by a different name but is intent on continuing his gruesome work. He ultimately blackmails a young couple in assisting him. They steal a patient from the local insane asylum and successfully transplant his brain into another body, curing his madness.

The film is highlighted by Veronica Carlson, who looks a lot like Ursula Andress, but possibly even more beautiful (if you can imagine that).

FINAL ANALYSIS: "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" is one of the best Frankenstein flicks I've seen. It's creative, labyrinthian and full of pizazz. Being a sequel, the film retains the essential elements of the original story but is a natural progression. The REAL monster in this picture is Baron Frankenstein himself; he's no longer a basically good person obsessed with creating life from corpses. His obsession has defiled him to the point of enmity, hate, arrogance, violence, rape and murder.

Another great Frankenstein film from this same period is the Italian "Lady Frankenstein," released in 1971, which starred Rosalba Neri (AKA Sara Bey) as the Baron's daughter who overtakes his work after his death. See my review for details.

5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the last really good Hammer films
m2mallory8 November 2012
For all it's impact on the industry, the heyday of Hammer Films encompassed a relatively short time, roughly 1958 to 1969. "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" is one of the last really good films the studio made (1971's "Blood From the Mummy's Tomb" was probably the last). Peter Cushing is back as Baron Frankenstein, and more ruthless than ever, particularly in the infamous rape scene that was imposed upon the cast, director and screenwriter by Hammer's head Sir James Careras. Nobody on the set liked the idea...but one did as one was told. In truth, it doesn't make a lot of sense within the context of the story, and the film doesn't need it. Cushing is, as always, thoroughly professional, even when the script dictates that he do silly things, and Veronica Carlson is excellent as the woman trapped by the evil of the Baron. The real acting honors, however, go to Freddie Jones, as the more-or-less monster, and Maxine Audley, as his widow, for the scene in which they reunite. Probably no sequence in any Hammer film has been played as beautifully and movingly as this one. It alone is worth seeing the film for. But there are many other memorable scenes as well. Old pro Terrence Fisher directs very capably, and the conflagration finale is well staged and spectacular.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent Frankenstein Movie
Ravenus3 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers

[FULL REVIEW - Likely plot Spoilers]

The last in Hammer Studios' entries for their Frankenstein franchise makes for rather good viewing, although it stops a few paces behind classic status, mainly because of Hammer's insistence on cheap shock value.

Here, Baron Viktor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing in another assured performance), on the run after his grotesque experiments are detected by the law (as depicted in a fairly explosive opening sequence), takes up room in a boarding house under an alias. Catching his landlady and her doctor beau in the act of pilfering cocaine for her ailing mother, Frankenstein blackmails them into doing his bidding. Besides robbing warehouses for surgical equipment (and in the process murdering a watchman), the young lover is forced to help Frankenstein make off with asylum inmate Brant. Brant, once a brilliant scientist himself, doing work that parallels the Baron's, is now insane and recalls nothing of his life.

Frankenstein, who needs information from Brant on preservation of the human brain, transplants Brant's brain to another body after the fatigued Brant suffers a life-threatening heart attack. He then sets out to cure Brant's insanity by vivisection. These scenes are really gripping, even if not particularly gory, because of Cushing's commanding air and some very convincing sound effects used to denote the grotesque surgical procedures.

Frankenstein's experiment succeeds and Brant's brain is successfully transplanted to another body. But after some macabre incidents, when Brant goes to his wife, she is too repulsed by his grotesque aspect, and he vows revenge upon Frankenstein, setting the stage for a literally fiery climax in which he consigns his godless creator to flames.

This one is unique in being one of the few Frankenstein films that do not depict his creation as a murderous shambling zombie. The transplanted Brant, played by Freddie Jones, delivers an eloquent and emotional performance.

Technically, this is the best shot of all the Hammer films I've seen to date, with stunning use of colors and shadow.

The film stumbles a bit with pointless depictions of Frankenstein's cruelty and a disgusting rape scene supposedly added because 'Hammer studio head Sir James Carreras thought the film lacked sex'. Also almost all performances other than that of Cushing and Jones are very ho-hum. But these two performances aided by Fisher's energetic direction are sufficient to take this film a good many notches above the norm.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
God bless Hammer studios..
lucky_dice_mgt22 February 2006
Curse of Frankenstein will always be regarded as my favorite horror film of all time. With that said this installment of the series is right up there.I think the only reason I don't give it a full 10 is because IMO Curse of Frankenstein set the trends and broke the rules initially and I gave that movie a full 10. Also..Frankenstein must be Destroyed injected a bit more humorous elements into the story {and did it effectively I might add} and I personally enjoy pure horror without the mix of humor.I really could not think of a better double feature of 2 horror movies to watch back to back {Curse/Destroyed}. Another reason I only rate this a 9 {only a 9..thats funny} is because the ending was a bit of a letdown IMO ..ecspecially when compared to Curse.I think all teenagers that are horror movie fans {but only know about films like Scream/Blair Witch/etc..} should be persuaded to sit down and watch the Curse/Destroyed...this may open their eyes as to just how important things like camera-work/storyline/dialog/characterization/cinematography/ not only the horror genre..but all movies in general..
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A very strong sequel
GusF26 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Now that's more like it! After the two preceding rather lacklustre films, this is a magnificent return to form for the Hammer "Frankenstein" series. After being a fairly decent man in "The Evil of Frankenstein" and "Frankenstein Created Woman", Baron Frankenstein, played by Peter Cushing for the fifth of six times, is once again the amoral, abusive and downright evil bastard of the first two films. For that reason, I see it as being a return to the series' first (and better) continuity. Cushing delivers one of the best performances in this film as the lead of an extremely strong cast including Simon Ward, Veronica Carlson, Freddie Jones, George Pravda, Thorley Walters, Geoffrey Bayldon, Peter Copley, Maxine Audley, Windsor Davies and Frank Middlemass. This is the best cast of any Hammer film that I've seen and, if not for the absence of Christopher Lee, I'd call it the perfect cast. Outside of its stellar cast, the script is wonderful. This is one of the most frightening Hammer films that I've seen.

The only major problem that I had with the film was the rape scene. Rape scenes are always disturbing to watch or read but at least most of the time, they are actually necessary to the plot. That certainly wasn't the case here as it wasn't included in the script and was included at the insistence of the executives in order to increase the film's appeal to American distributors by adding more sexual content. They certainly could have found a better way to do this than with an incongruous rape scene. It really is the epitome of tastelessness. The scene was filmed over the objections of Cushing, Carlson and the director Terence Fisher. Always a perfect gentleman, Cushing actually apologised to Veronica Carlson for the scene. As it wasn't in the script, the rape isn't mentioned later in the film by either Frankenstein or Anna.

My only other criticism of the film is that its Monster doesn't pose a threat until 80 minutes into its 100 minute runtime (though after that he is second only to the original as the most effective). The longest of the Hammer films that I've seen, it suffered from a little padding after the hour mark. Several scenes could have been trimmed a bit without much difference being made to the plot. In spite of this, I'd still give it a perfect scene if not for the rape scene.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed
Scarecrow-8816 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Baron Victor Frankenstein(Cushing never more sadistic or cruel as the Baron;he's completely evil)forces an asylum Doctor, Karl Holst(Simon Ward)assist him in his efforts to secure a certain formula from the insane mind of a patient, Frederick Brandt(George Pravda), once a great doctor driven crazy essentially from his own experiments with brain transplantation. Baron had eavesdropped on Karl's conversation with his lover Anna(the beautiful Veronica Carlson)about robbing his asylum of certain medical items and uses this corrupt info for black-mailing purposes. In other words, Baron has Karl caught between a rock and a hard place for the asylum doctor just was helping Anna's sick mother due to their lack of monetary funds in retrieving medicine. Baron first has Karl steal various equipment so that he can re-start a lab in Anna's hotel cellar while also planning to kidnap Brandt from the asylum. The kidnapping goes awry when Brandt reacts violently trying to escape Baron and Karl's clutches as another mental patient, who sees hallucinatory spiders crawling on her skin, roars with terror which can be heard very well. During their struggle to regain Brandt, he has a heart-attack leaving the body severely damaged and dying. So Baron decides to kidnap Professor Richter(Freddie Jones), a renowned medical mind who often sought after for advice regarding the mentally handicapped, and transplant Brandt's brain to his body..which means Richter's imminent death. Burying the corpse of Brandt in the flower garden outside, they are successful at transplanting his brain to Richter's skull while also eliminating the insanities pressuring proper function. Things begin to unravel as Frederick's wife, Ella(Maxine Audley)will not cease to search for her husband's body, Inspector Frisch(Thorly Walters)gruffly pursues the person responsible for a series of crimes in his district by following Baron's trail to his new locale, the water main near where Frederick's body was buried busts, and the sleeping body of Richter's awakens while Baron is away.

Sadistic, cruel sequel in the Hammer franchise leaves a rather sour taste because Baron is presented as a cold-hearted bastard. Seeing Cushing's Baron viciously attack poor Anna, subsequently raping her, is quite horrifying. Not only that but just watching Baron torment Karl, constantly forcing him to do his bidding. We see Baron's twisted obsession to retrieve the secret formula at all costs. Anna's tragic fate at the hands of Baron leaves a foul feeling of distaste where you just hearken in disbelief that the man portraying him is the same person that was the heroic Van Helsing in the Dracula pictures. Freddie Jones is terrific at displaying the haunted person behind the new body..seeing Brandt in anguish at what Baron has done to him, and later confronting his wife only to be threatened by her as well, he shows so much in his limited screen time. You have the tragic helpless victim, Karl Host, portrayed by Simon Ward as weighed and burdened with guilt of what he's been a reluctant part of. The film itself is quite well made, and paced..but so harsh and vile, many might be dismayed at it.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Baron Frankenstein had Time for Sex !
whpratt13 November 2003
Never viewed this Hammer Production until just recently, and was completely surprised with a very different film version about Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing,"Mad House"'74) The Baron kept himself busy sawing open human skulls with very detailed images and a body buried in a backyard garden had a water main burst and pop up one of the Barons experiments. Lots of blood and gore and nothing left for your imagination. However, Baron Frankenstein took time from his brain transferring to actually rape Veronica Carlson(Anna Spengler) "Black Easter", who very well could have been his daughter. The Hammer Studios in England gave one of their best horror films, even if I had to tape this film in the early hours of Halloween Morning !
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The second best Hammer Frankenstein film
preppy-322 October 2012
Dr. Frankenstein is at it again. With the unwilling assistance of a young doctor (Simon Ward) and his beautiful fiancée (Veronica Carlson) he attempts to transfer the brain of a man into another's body. Naturally everything goes wrong.

"Frankenstein Created Women" has my vote for the best Hammer Frankenstein but this runs a close second. It has an interesting plot, moves pretty quick, has one of Hammer's most beautiful actresses ever (Carlson) and has a few nice gruesome scenes (but all within a PG-13 rating). There's an especially horrifying sequence involving Carlson and a broken water main. Cushing gives another great performance as the doctor. This is the one when he gets REAL mean and he's the monster not his creation. Ward is given nothing to do and neither is Carlson who gets attacked by Cushing in a particularly sick scene that Cushing didn't want to do. The only real faults here are it's a little too long and I hate how Carlson's character was treated. That aside this is one of the best Frankenstein. Worth catching.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Using The Ol' Noggin
ferbs543 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The fifth of an eventual seven Frankenstein pictures from Hammer Studios, 1969's "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" has a reputation of being one of the best of the bunch, with Peter Cushing's Baron particularly nasty this go-round. And it turns out that the rep is well deserved, too. This time, the Baron, having been driven out of his native Bohemia, blackmails a young couple (ridiculously beautiful housekeeper Veronica Carlson and her fiancé who works in a mental asylum) to assist him in his scientific experiments. In perhaps the film's most suspenseful sequence, they liberate a former associate of the Baron's from the asylum and put his living brain into the noggin of the head doctor there. This procedure is accomplished during a fun, not overly gory operating scene, although why the Baron feels the necessity to cut and paste (oops...I mean saw and stitch) at this stage of the game, after having perfected a seemingly more advanced spirit-into-body procedure in 1967's fourth installment, "Frankenstein Created Woman," is beyond me! Anyway, Terence Fisher directs his picture (his fourth of an eventual five Franky films) with a good bit of style, and the film has been given Hammer's typically fine production values. The scene in which the Baron rapes Veronica is an astonishing one, and very uncharacteristic; it was inserted as an afterthought on the insistence of Hammer bigwig Sir James Carreras. Fans of the 1960 Cushing film "The Flesh and the Fiends" should get a nice chuckle when the Baron invokes Dr. Knox and the Burke & Hare case, just as fans of the 1990s Britcom "As Time Goes By" will delight in seeing Frank Middlemass, the perpetually "rocking on" octogenarian on that program, here almost 30 years younger (but sounding exactly the same). So yes, the fifth time IS the charm for this fun series indeed. Oh...another great-looking Warner Bros. DVD here, too.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed