The Evil of Frankenstein
Anthony Hinds for Hammer, Universal
directed by Freddie Francis
starring Peter Cushing, Peter Woodthorpe, Duncan Lamont, Sandor Eles, Katy Wild, David Hutcheson, James Maxwell, Howard Goorney, Anthony Blackshaw, David Conville, Caron Gardner, Kiwi Kingston, Tony Arpino, Timothy Bateson, Patrick Horgan
written by John Elder (= Anthony Hinds), based on characters created by Mary W. Shelley, music by Don Banks, musical direction by John Hollingsworth, special effects by Les Bowie
Frankenstein, Hammer's Frankenstein, Frankenstein (Peter Cushing)
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Having just been run out of another town because of his blasphemous
experiments, Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) along with his assistant
Hans (Sandor Eles), decides to move back to Karlstaad - even though he has
been exiled from there many years ago after having created his monster
(Kiwi Kingston). At first, Frankenstein tries to keep a low profile, at
which he doesn't succeed though when he realizes the local pompous
burgomaster (David Hutcheson) has confiscated all of his former belongings
for his personal use ... and soon enough, Frankenstein is run out of town
yet again, but he and Hans find shelter in the cave of a deaf-mute beggar
girl (Katy Wild), who just happens to keep in her cave Frankenstein's
monster - deep frozen.
Soon, Frankenstein takes the frozen monster back to his castle, thaws
it up and tries to revive it ... but alas, the spark of life is gone.
Fortunately though, Frankenstein has made the acquaintance of a hypnotist,
Professor Zoltan (Peter Woodthorpe) just the other day, who it seems can
bring the monster back to life va hypnotism - plus Zoltan shares
Frankenstein's low opinion of the burgomaster ...
Soon enough, the monster has been brought back to life - but Professor
Zoltan has put it under his hypnotic spell and now uses it to rob the
local church and kill the burgomaster. When Frankenstein learns about
this, he throws Zoltan out - but is soon enough arrested by the police
himself, while the monster goes roaming the countryside.
Eventually though, Frankenstein can escape prison and he and Zoltan and
the monster all meet for a showdown at Frankenstein's castle - where the
monster unfortunately has just learned about the joys of alcohol, and thus
Zoltan fails to put it under his spell and is killed by the creature
instead. Then the castle goes up in flames and then crumbles down, burying
Frankenstein and his monster under the rubble. Only Hans and the beggar
girl are allowed to escape ...
A break away from the Hammer Frankensteins by director
Terence Fisher in more ways than one: Where Fisher prefers a classic
gothic style, the director of this film, Freddie Francis prefers colourful
pictures and lingers on images of the local carnival and sideshow, where
Fisher is dead serious, Francis always injects a little irony, and where
Fisher is simply macabre, Francis goes for more full-fledged black humour.
That's not to say Francis has filmed a Frankenstein-comedy,
far from it, his approach to the topic is just more light-hearted than
that of Fisher, which makes this one a welcome change of pace in Hammer's
Frankenstein-series, not the best film of the series for sure,
but immensely entertaining nevertheless.