Cast and Crew: Terence Fisher (Director); Anthony Hinds (Writer); David Prowse, Bernard Lee, Patrick Troughton
What It’s About: Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) is at it again-hiding out as Dr. Carl Victor, the doctor for an insane asylum. Frankenstein harvests the inmates for his experiments, once again attempting to transplant the brain of an intelligent man into a new body.
Why Watch it Today?: British horror great Peter Cushing was born on this date in 1913. Cushing usually played the hero in Hammer horror films, except in the Frankenstein series, where he is quite chilling as the driven scientist who considers no sacrifice too great to advance science and man. Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell was Hammer’s last Frankenstein movie. If it suffers from an anemic budget and Cushing’s weariness (along with only half effective attempts to bring the series into the 70s with some nasty gore in the operation sequences and some nasty business on the part of the real powers that be in the asylum), it is nonetheless a solid entry in the series, with a truly chilling open-ended ending where Frankenstein coldly decides to try again-despite an entire series worth of horrors created by his quest for knowledge.
Other Choices: We’ve previously featured many of Cushing’s films-from Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars to his many turns as Frankenstein and Van Helsing to his work in anthology horror films and sci-fi. Check out the Peter Cushing tag for more options!
Wow. I haven’t seen this in YEARS. Okay, DECADES. I keep meaning to do more Hammer films on my site, but I think I’ve only tackled one or two. Ah well. One more for the pile to get reacquainted with. I recall it not being “great” but still having some pretty creepy bits (as you noted)…
I think this was actually the last Hammer film I caught on a Saturday afternoon on a local station. I must have been nearly in middle school, because I really remember seeing it well (I think in the same general time frame I caught a few of the later Draculas on a local station on a weekend night). Of course, it wasn’t long before I was only seeing these guys on cable, on channels like the “new” AMC, when they still did Monsterfest with actual Monster movies and not whatever Halloween movies they were willing to pay the rights for. It had been a long time for me, as well. I love Hammer but I love them randomly being on TV more than actively seeking them out, if that makes any sense. I miss the event feeling of catching an ad for it or a listing in a newspaper and then planning on watching it, or the stumbling on it factor.
Gah! Thanks to some PC issues (now resolved) my long(er)-winded response died on the vine before I clicked reply! Anyway, I absolutely agree with you that it was a heck of a lot more fun to either stumble on flicks like this, see a promo for it or crack open a newspaper to scour the TV listings as see something you’d never seen before coming on an afternoon or evening. I feel bad for some kids now who get their horror recommends from streaming sites that don’t run oldies like these. I think Turner Classic Movies has some Hammer flicks they run from time to time – Id sure like to see an entire day full of them just to pass out in front of the TV a few hours in…