Frankenstein Must be Destroyed
Anthony Nelson Keys for Hammer
directed by Terence Fisher
starring Peter Cushing, Veronica Carlson, Freddie Jones, Simon Ward, Thorley Walters, Maxine Audley, George Pravda, Geoffrey Bayldon, Colette O'Neil, Frank Middlemass, George Belbin, Norman Shelley, Michael Gover, Peter Copley, Jim Collier, Allan Surtees, Windsor Davies, Elizabeth Morgan, Dorothy Smith
story by Bert Batt, Anthony Nelson Keys, screenplay by Bert Batt, based on characters created by Mary W. Shelley, music by James Bernard, music supervisor: Philip Martell
Frankenstein, Hammer's Frankenstein, Frankenstein (Peter Cushing)
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Teh film begins with Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) having to leave
another town in a hurry after his experiments are discovered. But there
are still enough villages around he has not yet terrorized, aren't there,
and in one such, he settles down in Anna's (Veronica Carlson) boarding
house - not without an ulterior motive though, because you see, Anna's
boyfriend Karl (Simon Ward) is a young doctor dealing cocaine on the side
to take care of Anna's mother's medical bills. This makes him a perfect
victim for Frankenstein's blackmailing of course, and Frankenstein needs
Karl's assistance, since Karl works at the asylum Frankenstein's now mad
colleague and dear friend Doctor Brandt (George Pravda) is held, and
Frankenstein wants him out of the asylum (and cured from his madness) to
learn the secret about freezing brains. Breaking out Doc Brandt is the
easy part, but upon the escape, Brandt is somehow killed, and thus,
Frankenstein transplants his brain into that of a certain Doctor Richter
(Freddie Jones) - the head of the asylum incidently. This of course means
trouble brewing, as now the whole case has turned from an escaped madman
into murder - but the transplantation is a success, and it even heals
Brandt of his madness (don't ask how) ... but then Brandt's wife (Maxine
Audley) finds out about the whole affair, and Frankenstein has to leave
with Karl, Anna (who he has raped in the meantime for no apparent reason)
and of course Brandt in Richter's body. Brandt is not very fond of his new
body though, which is why he soon makes a getaway and returns to his wife,
with Frankenstein hot on his trail ... and for some reason, in the finale,
Brandt burns down his own house, but takes Frankenstein into the burning
building with him.
An elegant and at the same time very mean
entry into Hammer's Frankenstein-series - which is a
good thing, right?
Wrong, this is possibly the worst Frankenstein-movie
of the studio, and the main reason for this is its script ... it simply
doesn't make sense, not any sense: If Frankenstein's so good at brain
transplanting, what on earth does he need Brandt for? Why isn't Brandt a
single bit grateful for Frankenstein healing him from madness and giving
him a new lease of life? Why on earth does Frankenstein rape Anna (in a
scene allegedly cut from the American prints of the film)? How come
Frankenstein is able to make Karl a killer without even trying? And so on
and so forth ...
It's a pity the film is quite as badly written, as it
is very decently directed by Terence Fisher, and Peter Cushing is once
again great in his signature role even if the character lacks proper
motivation this time around. If you're a Hammer-fan, you might
still like this one for the same reason you like all the classic Hammer-films,
but there is pretty much no additional value in this one.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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