Though produced toward the end of Hammer's Frankenstein franchise, Bert Batt's screenplay (from a story by producer Anthony Nelson Keys) is a very tight creation, exploiting themes of revenge, medical greatness, and monstrous ego when the brain-obsessed Baron is transplanted from country chateaux to the busy streets of a city.
Peter Cushing's depiction of a ruthless, arrogant SOB adds just the right friction between pretty-boy Simon Ward (later to gain fame in TV's "All Creatures Great And Small"), and his devoted fiancée, played by brief Hammer starlet Veronica Carlson ("Dracula Has Risen From The Grave"). Decorated with an eye towards ghoulish humour, shocking gore, and rather lurid erotica, this one's clearly aimed at older genre fans, and director Terence Fisher cheekily plays with the film's widescreen ratio to position twitching hands, bouncing heads, and other assorted mayhem across the screen.
The print source is very nice, and Warner Bros' transfer preserves the soft-focus cinematography which became rather typical of Hammer's horror entries of the period. The mono mix is fairly standard, and James Bernard's dissonant orchestral score shrills appropriately during familiar shock sequences, though director Fisher beefs up organic sound effects when Baron Frankenstein finally gets to swap brains off-camera.
A grisly little gem.
This Warner Bros title is also available as part of the Hammer Collection that includes “The Curse Of Frankenstein,” “Dracula Has Risen From The Grave,” “Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed,” “Horror Of Dracula,” “The Mummy" (1959) and “Taste The Blood Of Dracula.”
© 2004 Mark R. Hasan
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