(Review originally written at 18 July 2009)

They definitely took a different approach with this Frankenstein-entry, that puts its emphasis more on its writing. It doesn't rely that much on its atmosphere and camp level this time or any of the other elements that are often featured in an Hammer movie. Perhaps this is disappointing for the most hardcore fans but it simply makes this a rather good movie to watch.

There is no Peter Cushing this time but there is Ralph Bates, as the famous baron in his younger years. It's sort of too bad that he got on board the Hammer Studio's at a time when the genre and the studio already had reached its peak and was starting to decline already. He could been Hammer's new big man but now instead he has only played a handful of roles within Hammer movies. Also definitely too bad since he definitely was an actor who showed more potential. Perhaps he could had had the same career as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee had.

But not only the fact that Cushing is missing is what's making this movie a different one. It's a rather slow movie that takes its time to build up things and to basically re-create the character of the well known Baron Frankenstein as well. It's a bit of a different character from what Peter Cushing played and it's more of a ruthless villain this time, instead of a smart, charming, sophisticated elderly person from the higher classes of society. This Frankenstein kills to get what he wants and not just once or twice.

To be honest, it didn't seemed like at first that this was going to be a very good movie. It's beginning seemed quite dull and there was very little happening within the first halve hour or so of the movie. It however later became obvious that this was simply a very effective build up toward it's better second halve in which things start to really take off. It lets its story come across as far subtle and clever than usually is the case for an Hammer movie and a Frankenstein one in particular.

David Prowse also was an impressive presence within this movie, as the monster. Being a former weightlifting champion he had a great physic for the creature. He also returned to play the creature in the later and final Hammer Frankenstein movie "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell", opposite Peter Cushing this time, with who he would later also play in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope", as Darth Vader. Funny enough this was not the first time he played the creature though. He first did so in the 1967 movie "Casino Royale", which also was his first ever film-role.

For the fans of the basic classic Hammer Studio's formula, this movie might be a bit disappointing but those who are open for something new and different, this movie is a great treat!


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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