Sunday, May 9, 2010

Evil of Frankenstein, The - 2.5/5

After two strong entries, this third film into Hammer's Frankenstein franchise did the unthinkable: It completely threw all continuity to the first two films out the window despite the fact that Peter Cushing again plays Baron Frankenstein. Why or why did they do this? The continuity is so screwy that fans consider this a "one-off" from the series and do not consider it part of the continuing story-line.

So why did hammer decide to screw with the continuity? Well it could be for the fact that Universal Pictures distributed this film and with that agreement Hammer was allowed to use visuals and story elements from Universal's original Frankenstein franchise. The original Universal series definitely has an impact on the visuals and story here and fans even refer to this as "Hammer's Universal Monster Film".

The film opens with Baron returning to the town that originally ran him out due to his creation running amok. Returning back to his castle he later finds that his "monster" has been preserved in a glacier (flashes of Universal's Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man comes to mind!). He and his apprentice thaw out the beast and revive his brain with the aid of a psychic. The psychic however has different plans and plans to use the monster for his own amusement and personal greed.

There are many things wrong with this sequel. Like I mentioned before the continuity is all to hell. The flashbacks to when the Baron created his first monster look NOTHING like the original film The Curse of Frankenstein. He now lives in a castle whereas in the original he lived in large house. The viewer has to be extremely forgiving or have a bad memory to think this actually follows the events of the first films. The second problem is the effects. Other than some embarrassing blue-screen shots the main problem is the make-up job with the monster. It is embarrassing and it looks like a paper-mâché mask. The monster's forehead is even square like the bottom of a cardboard box. There's even a beautiful deaf and dumb girl brought into the plot. What exactly is her point? To show Frankenstein has a heart or to just to give the audience eye candy? I'm going with the eye candy aspect. The most unintentionally funny sequence is towards the end of the film when our monster seems to get a little drunk on wine and proceeds to burn Frankenstein's lab.

Other than all those problems the film is beautiful to look at and has that typical early Hammer flare. It's just a shame director Freddie Francis (director Terence Fisher stepped out of this entry) just can't seem to keep the film above its weak script. Perhaps the filmmakers should have followed the plot of the first two films instead of making a stand-alone Frankenstein film in turn confusing the living shit out of fans everywhere. Thankfully director Terence Fisher returned for the next entry Frankenstein Created Woman to get the storyline back on track.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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