Excellent Hammer Entertainment!
, 26 Dec 2004
Like most of the classic tales, Frankenstein has had a twist put on it by the fantastic Hammer studios. It has actually been done by Hammer many times, but this film is the one that sticks closest to the original source material. That's not to say that it sticks to it entirely, not by a long shot; as Terence Fisher has still found than enough room for changes to the classic tale, thus making this film a fresh take on the classic tale. Peter Cushing stars as Baron Frankenstein; a role which may well be his finest of all time. Cushing's Frankenstein is more malevolent than the character usually is, giving this film a different twist on the tale from the start. In the Universal classic, Frankenstein was a mad scientist that realised his mistake, and thus the audience was able to forgive him after he repented his sins. Here, we have no such luck; the Frankenstein in this film is a completely morally bankrupt character that seeks no redemption for his sins.
We follow Frankenstein from being a boy and taking control of the Frankenstein estate. It is then that he meets his tutor and later collaborator on his experiments, Paul Krempe. We then follow the two as they conduct experiments in an attempt to bring the living back to life, a la the classic story. This film, like most Hammer offerings, benefits from a lovely camp style. It's also a bonus to see Frankenstein in colour as most, if not all, of the Frankenstein films before this one were in black and white. Naturally, the inclusion of Peter Cushing in the lead role does this film no end of favours and despite his character being so awful, we are still able like him just because it's Peter Cushing. Cushing's co-star is Robert Urquhart, who plays his tutor. Urquhart does well with the role and it's a shame that the actor hasn't made more notable films because he's not bad at all. The cast is topped off by Cushing's long time collaborator and a man that would go on to become one of Hammer's biggest stars - the excellent Christopher Lee, who does a grand job in a campy turn as the monster itself.
The Curse of Frankenstein isn't Hammer's best production, and to be honest I preferred the excellent Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, but this stands tall as a solid entry in their oeuvre and is recommended to horror fans.
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