DECEMBER 6, 2007
You just can’t go wrong with Peter Cushing, as far as I’m concerned. Here we have what has to be the 90th Frankenstein movie I’ve watched this year, The Evil Of Frankenstein, and yet I was entertained throughout, never once bored even though nothing in the plot occurred that I hadn’t seen before.
I also now see where The Bride got the idea to combine shady circus folk with the Frankenstein story. The synopsis on the Hammer collection DVD sort of gives away the fact that a circus magician named Zoltan is the villain of the story (he only appears once in the first two acts of the film), so don’t read it, or this review, if you want to be surprised by the development. Oh, wait. Never mind. I should also point out that the title is misleading, Frankenstein is pretty much neutral in the film.
And the actor playing the monster is named Kiwi.
One thing that kind of bummed me out is that they recycled the Universal/Karloff makeup rather than come up with their own. It’s modified, obviously, but in wide shots, it’s kind of hard to tell the difference. Still, the early science lab scene is fantastic, with Cushing pumping a heart by hand while the usual sparks and electricity shower down around him (like a lot of Hammer films, the film is damn pretty to look at).
And, I know I mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again: I LOVE how Hammer films end. They end almost immediately once the bad guy has been dispatched. No need for a silly epilogue or set up for a sequel. This one in particular – with 1:10 left to go in the film; the monster is killed, leaving just enough time for the end credits. Yeah! Plague of the Zombies remains the best example, as the credits begin rolling literally one second after the explosion that kills all the zombies goes off. Love it.
This makes the 2nd Hammer sequel I have watched (after The Brides Of Dracula) to a film I had never seen, but it’s not exactly hard to follow. I assume that since Cushing is in both films, he didn’t die at the end of the first Hammer Frankenstein (called The Curse Of Frankenstein), so I guess it’s not entirely faithful to the book, but that’s fine. If it keeps Cushing around, all the better! I wish Hammer would release a box set of all their originals, instead of sequels and lesser known efforts. I think there’s a Region 2 one, maybe I’ll pick that up.
What say you?