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Sculptor Richard Bull is terminately ill (from what is
never explained), so he & his wife Helen Westcott decide to visit
Baron Frankenstein (Anton Diffring), who happens to be creating
artificial life in his pastime. He tells them he can't help, though,
& so, a short time later, Bull dies. Frankenstein, needing a fresh,
sane brain though, digs up Bull's body & does transplant his brain
into the head of his monster (Don Megowan). The monster does of course
escape, does the usual lurking through the woods & menaces
Frankenstein in the end, until Westcott pleads to his love for her. The
monster leaps into the grave he (well, the brain anyways) came from
& Frankenstein is arrested for graverobbing.
According to all accounts (& especially a Michael
Carreras interview, & he would know) Hammer was only nominally
producing the film - & when
you look at the finished product you might tend to agree - because Columbia wanted the brand name for this half
hour pilot for a series that was (fortunately) never realized. In style, Tales
of Frankenstein has surprisingly little in common with the Hammer
Gothics of this period but everything with Universal's 30's
& 40's horror-cycle (for which director Curt Siodmak was at least partly
responsible, having scripted The Wolf Man & Frankenstein
meets the Wolf Man as well as having written the original story for House
of Frankenstein & Son
of Dracula), even the monster resembles the Universal- rather
than the Hammer-version. Unfortunately, on a quality level, this half
hour story is nowhere near the Universal- nor the Hammer-chillers,
lacking surprisingly of chills, suspense or any kind of fast pace. The
nicest thing about it is maybe Anton Diffring's rather ham performance
as the Baron, making it at least partly watchable.