Baron Victor Frankenstein has discovered life's secret and unleashed a blood-curdling chain of events resulting from his creation: a cursed creature with a horrid face — and a tendency to kill.
This ended up being one of my favourites, both of Hammer Films in general, and of the works of both Sir Peter Cushing and Sir Christopher Lee. It still works cinematically, three generations later, as my 13-year-old son really enjoyed it as well. Though the filmmakers were forced to use other makeup rather than that copyrighted by Universal Studios in James Whale's masterpiece, that isn't problematic in the slightest for your enjoyment of the picture. Worth a purchase and rewatches either for fans of the genre in the slightest, of period pieces in general, or of the Mary Shelley novel. A fine work which is one of the best of director Fisher's career.
Even if we dared to omit its landmark importance; it's still a terrific movie. The Curse Of Frankenstein is out of Hammer Film Productions and based on the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. It's directed by Terence Fisher, written by Jimmy Sangster and stars Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Hazel Court & Robert Urquhart. Jack Asher is the cinematographer and James Bernard scores the music. The first Hammer film in colour, The Curse Of Frankenstein began the second wave of cinematic horror some 25 odd years after the Universal heyday of the 30s. Where Hammer's version differs from the Universal offerings, who were carefully watching what Hammer were doing, is by focusing on the Baron himself rather than the actual iconic creature. This approach threw many critics and observers at the time, with some either calling it too talky, or worse still, depressing and degrading. But the box office tills rang, both in Britain and America, and now the film is revered by film makers and horror historians alike. Rightly so. Plot basically sees Baron Victor Frankenstein in prison for murder, where faced with the guillotine, he tells to a priest an amazing story of how he and his mentor successfully resurrected a dead body. The resulting creation being the one who committed the murder for which the Baron is now charged. The first masterstroke from Hammer was appointing Fisher and Sangster, the former shoots in lurid Eastmancolor; thus setting the marker for the Gothic style of Hammer to come, the latter produced a crackling script that make the scientist of the piece the actual monster. The second masterstroke was in the casting of Cushing as the driven Frankenstein. Then just a classy actor on TV, Cushing plays it in turns as cold blooded and elegantly charming. Lee, only getting the gig after Bernard Bresslaw's agent demanded too much money, actually doesn't have to do much, but his marionette movements coupled with the fleshy patchwork make up of his face make it totally memorable. Both men of course went on to become horror legends from here. It's far from the best Hammer Horror film, in fact it's not the best of the Universal Creature reinventions. But it adds grit and intelligence to the Gothic atmospherics, its visuals striking as the character based narrative propels eerily forward. 8/10