His teachers would never approve
Running Time: 92 minutes
UK Certificate: 12
Country: United Kingdom
Victor Frankenstein must surely be one of the movie industrys most over-used characters. Hammer studios alone somehow managed to scrape eight separate flicks out of Mary Shelleys monstrous novel, of which this one is quite possibly the most bizarre.
Ralph Bates gets to try his hand at playing the slimily homicidal Baron of the title this time round, approaching the role with tongue firmly in cheek. The local buxom wenches are absolutely gutted (as if) when the Frankster leaves town to study Biology in Vienna, but hes soon on his way back when he realises his particular line of interest is much better suited to the home. It seems the Uni profs take a dim view of slaughtering innocent passers-by and using their body parts to create a hulking man-monster. Cant think why that would be.
So, with the company of feeble-minded mate Wilhelm (Graham James) and castle strumpet Alys (yes, that IS Kate OMara), Frankie sets about building the man of his dreams, as it were. Of course, as we all know by now, ol big head comes to life, breaks loose and proceeds to wander around smashing stuff. The police take their time in smelling a rat, but they get there eventually.
Watched these days, its difficult to tell which parts are deliberately light-hearted and which parts are unintentionally daft. But youll certainly get more chortles out of it than you will shivers, with director Jimmy Sangster showing very little of the implied gore on-screen (its only got a 12 certificate), and the bulk of the horror aspect taking a back-seat to ambling depictions of wee Victors schooldays and interactions with various suspicious locals. In fact, the monster itself doesnt get to stretch its legs until the last 25 minutes.
There is, however, a surprisingly curt and almost anti-climactic ending to all of this monster madness it certainly caught this reviewer out.
It's Got: Dave "Darth Vader" Prowse as the monster, and Veronica Carlson as a woman whose chat-up line is "Im considered quite a catch in some quarters." Modesty gets you nowhere.
It Needs: To take a darker, more atmospheric approach its hard to imagine this one ever coming across as scary.
DVD Extras Just a trailer. The Horror of Frankenstein is one of five movies included on the Hammer Horror Selection box-set, which also features The Devil Rides Out, Lust for a Vampire, Scars of Dracula and Blood from the Mummys Tomb. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10
Alternatives:Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, The Curse of Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein
An occasionally funny, but largely uninteresting take on a story weve seen far too many times before.