This blog is a place for Me to review classic British films (in particular horror films) by Hammer, Amicus and the like. But I will occasionally branch out and review international films as these are the international counterpart to the British films, some of which will include works by American International Pictures, Mario Bava et al. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Curse of Frankenstein

The film opens with a man of the cloth arriving at a prison at the request of one of the inmates; Baron Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein requested him to visit so that he could tell him his story, the story of what he did and what led to him being in prison awaiting his execution. He begins his story; we begin with the teenage Victor Frankenstein shorty after becoming Baron of the estate and inheriting his family's riches. He hires Dr Paul Krempe to be his tutor and teach him all his knowledge of the sciences. We see a montage of them working and experimenting together over a period of years up into Frankenstein's adulthood, where we then see them conducting an experiment on a recently deceased dog. They conduct an experiment which results in the revival of the dog, this marks their first successful experiment on a living being. From the success of this experiment, Frankenstein decides he wants to step it up a notch and experiment on humans, his plan; to create the perfect human being, a being who is of both physical and mental perfection. In order to do this he will need to collect the best body parts from various people e.g. the hands of a sculptor. Dr Krempe realises that this is too far, that it is against the will of God and decides not to help Frankenstein any further with his experiment but this doesn't stop him, Frankenstein continues on, determined to achieve his goal. Eventually his hard work pays off, his creation comes to life. But the brain was damaged that Frankenstein placed in the creature's head, so he attacks and kills people, and armed with his immense physical strength he's not going to be easy to take down.

The Curse of Frankenstein is a 1957 Hammer Production directed by Terence Fisher. It stars Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein, Robert Urquhart as Dr Paul Krempe and Christopher Lee as The Creature. Although Hammer had produced other colour films prior to this one, this was Hammer's first colour Hammer Horror, and also marked their first step into Gothic Horror territory, which would come to define the film company in years to come. At the time, this film concerned the BBFC as not only did it contain horror and graphic violence, but this new level of graphic violence was to be presented in full colour.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Curse of Frankenstein. I found it to be dark, creepy and atmospheric. I thought it very interesting that the protagonist; Victor Frankenstein, is portrayed as a dark, sinister character, and not at all the type of protagonist that the audience can relate to or even like for that matter, yet I still found myself intrigued and fascinated by this man and by his determination to create this “perfect being”. Even though I knew the ending, him being in a prison cell awaiting his execution, as we'd seen at the start, I was still interested to find out how the story develops towards that point, how he gets caught and what happens with The Creature. I'd also like to pay a special credit to Peter Cushing; one of Britain's finest actors to have ever lived, his sometimes melodramatic acting is part of Hammer History and was one of the key elements to Hammer Horror and what made them so great.

The Curse of Frankenstein 4/5

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