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!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed


After escaping being caught in one town Frankenstein moves on to another and begins his experiments once again. This time he acquires the help of a young couple, one of which is a doctor who works at the local asylum. In the asylum is a colleague of Frankenstein's who before having the chance to reveal how to freeze a brain without damaging it he went mad. But Frankenstein plans to cure his insanity in order to obtain the secret. Easy? Not bloody likely.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is a 1969 Hammer production. It stars Peter Cushing, Freddie Jones and Veronica Carlson. It was directed by Terence Fisher. This is the film in the Hammer Frankenstein series.

Straight into the action. A guy walks down a street then an arm brandishing a sickle from an unseen assailant pops out from around a corner and swipes his head off, a mass of blood gushes onto the wall. Awesome! [Note: as the scene develops it's revealed to be Frankenstein who cut the man's head off.]

You're a mean one, Dr Frankenstein. He overheard a young doctor who works at the asylum discussing with his fiancée about his drug trafficking. Using this to his advantage Frankenstein blackmails them into helping him with his experiments.

The Baron tells the doctor's fiancée to make him some coffee. “You don't need her. Let her go.” “I need her to make me coffee.” He's quite a bastard in this one. Although he did thank her for the coffee before going to bed, at least he has some manners.

Frankenstein's plan is to break a colleague of his out of the asylum and cure his insanity in order to retrieve information from him that he wasn't able to get because of his insanity. The information will allow him to freeze a brain without damaging the tissue. His reason for this is that the human brain is at it's peak of intelligence at the moment of death, and all we do is bury it in the ground to rot. What he wants to do is remove it and preserve it for future use; transplanting it into another body to continue the brilliant mind it once had.

If you are unable to inject your patient with a sedative, then punch him in the gut.

I hate that police inspector, I actually hope he gets killed. He's such an arse. He's sarcastic, snooty, smarmy and he has an annoying voice. Kill that bastard!

Holy fuck! Frankenstein is really dark and sinister in this one. Frankenstein rapes the doctor's fiancée while he's working at the asylum for Frankenstein. I'll repeat that, Frankenstein played by the lovely Peter Cushing rapes a woman. Frankenstein is somewhat darker in this film than he ever was in the other films. Quite an unusual but interesting approach to take on the protagonist of the story, I mean I understand he was always a bit of an anti-hero anyway but this is really sinister. Apparently the rape sequence was filmed against the wishes of Peter Cushing, Veronica Carlson and even Terence Fisher, as it was the Hammer executive who wanted it putting in in order to keep the American distributors happy.

I love how Frankenstein always does his operations fully dressed in a suit, with just an apron covering part of the suit. He's even wearing the tie still, for God's sake.

Frankenstein manages to cure his colleague's insanity, but the wife of the man spots Frankenstein out and about. So she follows him back to the lodge where he's staying, but he welcomes her in and explains everything about how only he could cure his insanity and shows that it worked (what he doesn't tell her is that he transplanted the brain into another head, but she'll never know because his head is bandaged up, hahaha). He gives a demonstration that he is cured, and tells her she can visit any time she likes but he must stay in his care for a week, then after that they can start a new life together. He walks her to the door and as soon as the door closes he turns to the young doctor and says “Pack. We're leaving.” They then relocate to an old abandoned house that looks a bit like Dracula's castle.

The creation awakens and asks the doctor's fiancée for help but in fear she stabs him then he flees. When Frankenstein learns of what she has done he then stabs her. But the creation armed with the brain of a doctor is able to care for his wounds before escaping to look for his wife. But baring the face of another man, this can not end well.

The creation sets up a trap for Frankenstein knowing that he will come looking for him. He must choose to either face the police or face the flames. If he chances the flames then he also chances getting a hold of the creation's secret to freezing a brain successfully. He manages to retrieve the information and get out of the house, but the creation then grabs him and carries him back into the burning building trapping both himself and Frankenstein inside. END.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is an odd one, it's good but it's unusual in the sense of how sinister they decided to make Frankenstein in it. He's never been as sinister in any of the other films as he is in this one. Throughout the previous films he's been portrayed as a dedicated follower of science, willing to murder in the name of science, a slight hero-esque character, an almost father-like figure then in this he's just quite simply a bastard. He is quite easily able to blackmail, rape and murder. Which is such an unusual thing to do to a character who is the protagonist of the story. As I mentioned earlier I know he's meant to be an anti-hero but the things he does in this seem to push the boundaries of that concept quite a bit. Peter Cushing as ever is great, in fact it's always fun to see Cushing as Frankenstein because he usually is always seen as this lovely man and plays good guys, so for him to play an anti-hero is always great but in this it's an interesting change to see him playing a character who is a borderline villain. As for the story, it was good not the best story but it was simple, just Frankenstein wanting to retrieve some information from a man who is in a state that leaves him unable to tell him. That's another thing, the creation in this is quite possibly Frankenstein's biggest success. He isn't a monster like any of the others, he has a scar running around his head but his personality is fully intact he doesn't go about killing people, in fact the only violent act he does is to enact revenge on Frankenstein, but that's revenge not mindless violence. Overall, it's a decent enough Frankenstein film, not the best but it's certainly different from the others due to it's darker, more sinister nature and that alone makes it stand out amongst the others.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed 3/5

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite of the Hammer Franenstein's because it's soooooo dark and Cushing is absolutely brilliant. And that ending! WOW! It's a great film for him to go out on with the Frankenstein franchise. Last year I started watching every Hammer horror film for my blog (scorethefilm.blogspot - see all of them in the Project: Trailer Trash section) and the Cushing Frankenstein pictures are generally very, very good.