Baron Frankenstein is driven away from his work when a
local priest discovers he has stolen a recently deceased body
for use in his experiments to create a living being. He decides
to return to his ancestral chateaux in Karlstaad with Hans,
his assistant. After a run-in with the local police, they
find the object of those earlier experiments frozen in ice
in the mountains. Frankenstein revives the creature, but when
it fails to respond to his verbal commands he employs the
talents of a carnival hypnotist. However, Zoltan, as he calls
himself, has his own agenda and uses the creature for criminal
activities. The Baron is forced to confront Zoltan, but the
authorities associate the monster with Frankenstein and arrest
him instead. Now the creature is on the loose with only Hans
and a deaf mute beggar girl to stop it...
is by far the best Hammer Frankenstein film, with generally
strong performances (in particular a sublime portrayal of
the outcast scientist from Peter Cushing, who made this role
and the part of Van Helsing for Hammer his own), a tight script
with no padding and a relentless pace. I should also mention
the sets which are highly impressive, particularly Frankenstein's
laboratory, and the matte paintings of distant views.
is a refreshing slant on the world famous Mary Shelley tale
inherent in this film. Rather than body parts being assembled
and stitched together on-screen, we start here essentially
halfway through. It's assumed that most people realise that
the monster is concocted from grave-robbed parts, and leaps
ahead to the most interesting part of the story, which is
how the creature reacts to possessing a semblance of life.
We see Frankenstein lose control of his creation to Zoltan,
and witness the creature's pain - which is less emotional
in this instance and more physical.
follower of the horror genre should make a point of seeing
this film. True horror classics don't come along very often,
so savour this gem from the past.