Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)

Upon being imprisoned for bodysnatching and sorcery, a young surgeon learns that his esteemed mentor, the great Victor Frankenstein, is alive and well, and has been practicing his dark arts from within the prison walls as Dr. Carl Victor. Together, the pair manage to successfully transplant the brilliant mind of a scholar into the body of a murderous brute, but the body of the beast begins to take over its mind as it strikes off on a bloody rampage! Peter Cushing returns to the role of Baron Frankenstein in Hammer's sixth and final entry into the famed Horror series. Here, the character has taken a surprisingly modest turn that lacks the snide sense of superiority that defined Cushing's earlier performances. Cushing is in fine form, as always, and makes a grand entrance as he comes to the aid of young Simon. The plot, at this point, is quite derivative of the earlier films, but that makes it no less entertaining. Despite the shabbiness of the costume and an immovable facial apparatus, David Prowse manages to act through the make-up with his emotive gesturing and body language. FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL does bear the mark of Hammer's later films unfortunately, which attempted to exploit sex and gore in order to appeal to the changing tastes of the time. This film features the most graphic scenes in the series as a result, including a particularly nasty brain transplant and several bloody murders. As his last Horror film, however, Terence Fisher still retains many of the traditional Gothic trappings that gave him such success throughout the years. A lesser accomplishment in the series, to be sure, FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL is still a worthwhile entry for any fan of Gothic Horror.

Rating: 7/10.

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