(Review originally written at 19 October 2007)

This is an unsold TV-pilot for a TV-series based on the Frankenstein franchise and is a collaboration between the Hammer Studios and Universal (through Revue Studios). It sounds like the most perfect combination; The Universal Frankstein creature and movies are of course among the best and most famous out of movie history and the Hammer Studios were of course at their prime and at the top of the horror genre in the '50's. They also had already made a couple of Frankenstein movies, starring Peter Cushing in the role of the good old baron. In that regard "Tales of Frankenstein" is a disappointing collaboration.

For its time, the pilot looks terribly old fashioned and also is directed in that way. Guess it was done on purpose, to try to recapture the mood and atmosphere of the '30's Frankenstein movies and horror in general.

But to me the main problem with "Tales of Frankenstein" was its incredibly simple and also formulaic story. It's of course mostly set up so it can introduces the characters and set out the main outline for the potential series. The events and dialog feel rather bland and make a weak impression, which is also really due to the very simplistic and weak directing. Director Curt Siodmak had more success and also talent as a writer.

Anton Diffring really wasn't the most perfect choice for the role of the baron. Now maybe if only Peter Cushing had played the role...Don Megowan however makes a good impression as the monster, though his make-up effects are certainly lacking.

Still of course I wouldn't had mind seeing this pilot expanding into a TV-series. It showed some interesting potential, though I can also understand why this pilot was never picked up by any TV station. It's worth a look for the '30's- and/or Hammer Studio horror fans.


About Frank Veenstra

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