23 October 2014

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)
93 min.
Directed by Terence Fisher.
With Peter Cushing, Shane Briant, David Prowse, Madeline Smith, John Stratton, Michael Ward, Elsie Wagstaff.
At times, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, the seventh (and final) entry in Hammer Films' longstanding Frankenstein series, is a bit of a revelation.

Surprisingly gory, and still full of life, it's clear Hammer felt Mary Shelley's original premise could stand just one...more...squeeze.

When the police discover that medical surgeon Simon Helder (Briant) is attempting to re-animate dead body parts, the young doc is promptly carted away to the local mental asylum.

There, he meets creepy Dr. Carl Victor (Cushing), the institution's presiding head physician, and Simon quickly becomes his assistant. But it's not long before Simon realizes the weird 'Dr. Victor' is *really* the notorious Victor Frankenstein!

Soon, the two like minds have joined forces to resume their untoward science experiments, creating a deformed monster (Prowse) with supernatural strength. But will the dysfunctional duo stop there? Will it be enough for them to simply know what it feels like to play God?

What horrors will their transgressions unearth?

Terence Fisher, in his last directoral effort here, brings a subtle elegance to Monster from Hell, and it's this whiff of class that tempers the occasionally absurd theatrics of gore.

Sporting a severe, foppish wig, Cushing delivers another spirited performance here as Dr. Frankenstein; he and Briant prove a formidable pair, and really, it's their enthusiasm that breathes life into this well-sown territory.

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