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The Revenge of Frankenstein (1957) - DVD Review

By ScottC - posted 10.24.05 @ 3:47 am
Revenge of Frankenstein DVD

Film:
DVD:

Written by Jimmy Sangster
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Eunice Gayson, Francis Matthews, Michael Gwynn

Features:

  • Photo gallery
  • Theatrical trailer

Released by: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.
Rating: NR
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Unless a huge fan of Hammer Films, skip it.

They say living well is the best revenge. Baron Frankenstein (Cushing), after escaping the guillotine for crimes against nature (i.e., creating his monster), he is now Dr. Stein, with a successful practice and is well respected for running a charity hospital. But this new life is not enough for him. He needs to show the world that he is the greatest scientist ever. He will take the brain of his crippled assistant Karl (Gwynn) and install it into a new and improved body. With the help of his protégé, Dr. Kleve (Matthews), the operation appears to be a success. But when Karl gets a bad case of cabin fever after meeting the beautiful Margaret (Gayson) against the doctor's orders, he leaves Against Medical Advice. Karl begins deteriorating into homicidal madness and Doctor Stein must stop him before he kills and more importantly reveals the good doctor's secret. But can anyone stop The Revenge of Frankenstein?

Unlike Fear in the Night and Demons of the Mind, we have a Hammer Studios film from the start of its 'Hammer Horror' period. Peter Cushing's interpretation of Frankenstein is very refreshing. Instead of the typical Mad Scientist going around screaming "It's alive, alive! Mwahahahahahaha!" Cushing is logical to the point of ruthlessness, seeing no problem with killing or stealing body parts when needed. He can be charming, but it merely hides his contempt for the fools and men of limited vision that surround him. This is a man who prefers his revenge cold as the grave. Unfortunately, Cushing's performance is the only good thing in the movie. There isn't enough gore or suspense to keep your interest in this supposed horror flick. The rest of the actors are wooden and the dialogue is almost laughable. A movie that was considered cheap by 1950s standards does not hold up well without something to bolster it. And Cushing, while good, isn't enough.

The extras don't help much either. Besides a trailer, there is a limited photo gallery of a few black and white stills. I would have loved to have gotten some commentary by a Hammer Films expert (we know they exist), or maybe even a featurette containing some interviews with surviving cast members. A cursory glance at the IMDB shows me that Matthews and Grayson are still with us. Let's talk to them while we can. Same thing with scribe Jimmy Sangster, who as near as we can tell is still among the living. But an opportunity wasted--or perhaps not even approached, since as established, the film ain't that hot. So, unless you're a Hammer Films completist, I'd skip The Revenge of Frankenstein.

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ScottC's full name is Scott Campbell: writer, actor, critic, and debauched libertine who serves as Need Coffee's Minister of Naughty Bits. When not engaged in matters of perfume, sex, and rock lobsters, he lends his body to The Mickee Faust Club and his voice to Curious Echo Radio Theater. He can be found on Twitter sexually harrassing all and sundry. He has written 435 posts. See them all here.

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