Monday, November 7, 2011

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Frankenstein's Monster returns to life in astonishing COLOR! THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is a monumental landmark in the annals of Horror cinema. As Hammer Film Production's first color picture, it shocked the world with a putrid display of blood, gore, and erotic fantasy. It would be despised by critics as such, however the impact this would have on the genre is unmistakeable. CURSE not only launched the career of television actor Peter Cushing into super-stardom, but also introduced the world to Christoper Lee as the horrifying Monster. This would be the first of many villains that Lee would play for the studio, including his versions of Dracula and The Mummy that soon would follow. In the coming years, the names Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing would rival even the great Vincent Price as two of the genre's most recognizable faces. Here, it is Peter Cushing who steals every scene as the headstrong Baron Victor Frankenstein, a man blinded by ambition and his thirst for knowledge. Cushing is simply thrilling as the Baron, becoming the true villain of the picture through the ghoulish dedication to his work and the dastardly lengths that he is willing to go 'in the name of science.' Terence Fisher's handling of the material is superb as always, blending the dark Gothic atmosphere and mood with signature amounts of sex and bloody violence. THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN would usher in a new era of Gothic filmmaking throughout the late 1950's and 1960's, and is perhaps the studio's finest film.

Rating: 10/10.

Movies like THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN:
THE HORROR OF DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR, THE MUMMY, FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for saying something positive about this film. I am a big fan of the Hammer Horror films and this is definately one of my favorites!!!

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  2. A miraculous classic! Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in top condition!

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  3. More to come from the Frankenstein series, I am rewatching throughout the next week or so!

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  4. I'm a huge fan of Hammer as you know Carl, but I've come to believe that THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is slightly overrated within the horror community. For a start it's incredibly stately, and far less dynamic and energetic than THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (my personal favourite of the Hammer FRANKENSTEIN pictures) and certainly less interesting than 1958's DRACULA. It is also very talky! The decision to shoot in colour, the special make up effects, the performance of Cushing, and the production design are magnificent, so it certainly works stylistically. But there is just something missing from it. I certainly don't think it's the best picture put out by Hammer.

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  5. I was actually thinking of recanting my closing sentence in place of "is certainly the studio's most influential picture." The downplay of The Monster has always bothered me personally, but in terms of importance and history within the genre, it is hard to deny the effect the film has had. I am looking forward to going back to each of the Frankenstein films once I can convince the wife to watch with me :D

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