Friday, July 17, 2009

Victor is Nuts!!

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell 1974
Director: Terence Fisher
Writer Anthony Hinds
Starring Peter Cushing, Shane Briant, Madeline Smith, David Prowse, John Stratton and Charles Lloyd Pack

This was the final entry in Hammer's Frankenstein series and I think the series ended on a high note. Cushing was at a high point in this role and was very mad and maniacal. It takes place in an insane asylum, which is a perfect local for the series. Cushing had a great foil in the form of Shane Briant. This is also the goriest of the series, with blood flying everywhere. The monster is played by David Prowse, who everyone knows as the actor who gave the commanding presence to Darth Vader. This film is tinged with many moments of dark humor, that make the proceedings even more entertaining.
The plot basics are this, we meet Simon Helder (Briant) a student of the works of Victor Frankenstein (Cushing). He is caught by a police officer and is arrested and convicted of sorcery and set to a insane asylum. He meets the director of the Asylum and finds that Frankenstein was a inmate, but has supposedly died. The director gets mad when he discovers he is an inmate and is then tortured by some of the jailers. The torture is stopped halfway through by the resident Doctor how happens to be Frankenstein, he fix's up Simon and lets him know that he has blackmailed his jailers and now is the doctor of the Asylum. He tells him, that he needs a new assistant and he shows him what he needs to do. He gets nosy and discovers that he is still doing his experiments, and he begins to assist him as Frankenstein cannot perform the surgeries anymore due to heavily scarred hands. He transplants the brain of a genius into the body of a hulking behemoth (Prowse). He goes crazy when it appears that his body parts are taking over his body and leads to a showdown with the entire population of the asylum.
Another great addition to the series, and a fitting ending to the series as well. Fisher's direction as always is taut and eerie, he really is a master at the gothic horror film. The script is great with great characters in Simon and Frankenstein. It also has great black humor spread throughout the tale. The cast is great specifically, Briant and Cushing, they play off of each other so well. The SFX are bloody and grimy, which befits the location of a asylum. The music as always in a Hammer film, sets up the ambience of the film quite well. I highly recommend this one if you are a fan of the other films.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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