Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
UK --- horror/science fiction

Dir: Terence Fischer

Riding on the success to 1957's 'Curse of Frankenstein', Hammer Studios produced a follow-up that is on par with its original. Peter Cushing reprises his role as Dr. Baron Von Frankenstein; mad scientist extraordinaire.

We pick up from the guillotine, where Frankenstein is seemingly on his way to damnation. Skip ahead to two graverobbers, who decide to rob Baron Frankenstein's final resting place, when its revealed he is not buried there, but very much alive. We soon learn that the Baron has relocated to the hamlet of Carlsbruck and assumed the alternative identity of Dr. Stein, assisted by his crippled dwarf (Ygor counterpart) Karl. He has assumed this personage of a philathropic doctor who helps the downtrodden, as well as incalls from the wealthy. One wealthy doctor who recognizes him, Dr. Hans Kleve, knows full well what he is all about, and volunteers to help the baron on whatever he needs.

Hans learns that Frankenstein has been recycling certain body parts from his ward patients. His newest plot this time is to implant the brain of Karl into the working constructed body of his latest creation. Karl, who longs for a normal looking body with properly working limbs. Once Karl's brain is successfully inserted into the new creation, however, things soon go awry.

Dr. Frankenstein and Kleve also get a new candystriper in Margret Conrad; a naive young woman who Karl falls for. She assists in his escape from the lab, and soon the now more humane Frankenstein's monster is unleashed. Not only do the monster's bodyparts begin to revert back to the deformities of Karl's affliction, the monster also has a new horrific taste for human blood.

This film takes the Hammer Frankenstein series into a new direction, focusing less on the monster and more and more on the banal exploits of Dr. Frankenstein himself. Though a lot less gory and violent than the other entries, "The Revenge of Frankenstein" again showcases Frankenstein as the villian. Even in one scene where the doctor denies to assist a pleading monster help him, which only further allows us empathy for the creature.