Saturday, 12 May 2007

Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

Watching the Revenge of Frankenstein (directed by Terence Fisher in 1958) a couple of days after Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (directed by Freddie Francis in 1968) offers the opportunity to compare an early and a mid-period Hammer gothic horror movie. There’s also a definite contrast in directing styles. You notice immediately that Freddie Francis’s film is moodier and more striking visually (not surprising since he was also a distinguished cinematographer), but Fisher’s movie is a lot more energetic. Terence Fisher’s movies rarely suffer from pacing problems – he gets the story moving straight away and he keeps it moving. In fact as far as plot is concerned Revenge of Frankenstein is not much more than a remake of the original Frankenstein film – Baron Frankenstein has escape execution for his earlier crimes and has resumed his experiments under an assumed name. He has built up a flourishing new practice, and he also works in a hospital for the poor, performing a surprisingly high number of amputations – he does need an abundance of spare part for his experiments! This time he is determined that he’s going to get it right, and his new creation is going to be perfect.

Despite its lack of originality the movie has plenty of vitality and Peter Cushing makes Baron Frankenstein a subtly disturbing and morally ambiguous character, and the result is a very entertaining and very effective movie.

7 out of 10

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