Jules picks up where he left off in October by running through some of the choice horror offerings from the fantastic Hammer back catalogue.
You can check out the rest of our “31 Days of Hammer” by CLICKING HERE.
Starring: Peter Cushing, Robert Morris, Susan Denberg
Director: Terence Fisher
After jumping the tracks massively with what was essentially a reboot of the whole series in 1964’s The Evil Of Frankenstein, this fourth entry in the series sees Hammer reassert more of what made their initial films so unique.
Frankenstein Created Woman sees the great Peter Cushing reunited not just with director Terence Fisher, but screenwriter Anthony Hinds (working under his usual pseudonym John Elder) and the results are, as you would expect from such a dream team, overwhelmingly positive.
Hans (Robert Morris), a young boy who watched his father go to the guillotine grows up to become an assistant to Dr Hertz (Thorley Walters), the local physician who just happens to be the latest enabler of a certain Baron Frankenstein.
We first see him being pulled out of a frozen coffin, quite dead but in a state of suspended animation. Roused as per his strict instructions, the Baron is delighted to have his latest hypothesis proven. He was dead for a full hour, but his soul never left his body.
Hans is in love with Christina (Susan Denberg) the local innkeepers daughter, who suffers from both her unfortunate deformities and the attentions of the local gentry’s sons, a trio of boors who go out of their way to make everyone’s lives a misery.
When they murder Christina’s father, Hans is blamed and goes to the guillotine himself, leaving the distraught daughter to commit suicide. Desperate to further his soul research, Frankenstein seizes the opportunity and claims both bodies, reviving Christina, only now implanted with her lover’s soul.
Naturally, his hubris results in death and disaster, with Hans’ presence urging brutal revenge on the men responsible for both he and Christina’s demise.
Once again, we’re seeing a slightly different take on Frankenstein here. He’s still the driven, obsessed scientist, but he’s not exactly a villain. Sure, there’s a certain moral flexibility that allows him to see his fellow humans as raw material for his research into essentially playing god, but he’s still willing to provide a passionate character reference for Hans. Can you imagine the Baron of Curse of Frankenstein even coming out of his laboratory for anything that didn’t support his work?
It’s not just Cushing that makes this one so captivating though. The whole idea that the Baron has moved beyond simple body mechanics and is now dealing with metaphysical ideas like soul transference is amazing.
The supporting cast help immeasurably too, with both Morris and Denberg convincing as the doomed lovers, while Thorley Walters is perfectly pitched as the Baron’s partner on the surface, but in actuality ends up being as much of a lackey as the doomed Hans.
It’s another take on the Baron Frankenstein character, but after the potential nose dive of Evil, Hammer rescued arguably their most beloved character with this instalment with some big ideas and a real ambition to do something a little different.
The Writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy