I’m continuing on with my look at the recently released classic Hammer films by Studiocanal. The Blu-ray I’m reviewing here is Hammer’s attempt to reboot the Frankenstein franchise replacing the great Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein with Ralph Bates. Did it work out well for Hammer? Let’s find out here’s my The Horror of Frankenstein blu-ray review.
- The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
- UK Rating 12
- Discs: 2 (Blu-ray & DVD)
- Released By Studiocanal
- Blu-ray Released: 29th January 2018
- Genre: Horror
Baron Victor Frankenstein returns home to continue his research into the mysteries of life. He soon proceeds into creating life via assorted body parts obtained initially from those recently deceased from natural causes before turning to more drastic measures to complete his monster.
The film is directed by Jimmy Sangster with the cinematography handled by Moray Grant. Unfortunately this Frankenstein which is largely a remake of Curse of Frankenstein is done as a black comedy. Sangster also wrote the screenplay and kind of makes fun of the whole story which includes a scene in which Victor Frankenstein passes electricity through a severed arm resulting in a two finger salute. The film plods on but not in an engaging way.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is provided by Malcolm Williamson and unlike most of the great Hammer scores somehow misses the mark maybe because of the Horror comedy shift by Jimmy Sangster as it doesn’t seem to know what tone it should take.
Acting / Characters
On to the acting and where do I start? To be fair to all of the acting problems with the film lies squarely at Jimmy Sangster’s door as he decides to poke fun at the story of Frankenstein. This results in Ralph Bates as Baron Victor Frankenstein having no redeeming features, he’s smug, arrogant, and sadistic and treats women incredibly badly. Compare this to the Hammer legend Peter Cushing’s performance which is firstly a serious one but his character whilst flawed does have some redeeming qualities. That is the right way to approach the film and the character of Frankenstein.
Kate O’Mara plays Alys the housemaid and she probably suits her role best of all. Meanwhile Veronica Carlson plays Elizabeth Heiss the women in love with Baron Frankenstein. However strangely she is relegated to a nothing more than a bit part, in fact it almost seems like an afterthought.
I could go on but the style of acting is again the fault of writer/director Jimmy Sangster.
- Ralph Bates as Baron Victor Frankenstein
- Kate O’Mara as Alys
- Veronica Carlson as Elizabeth Heiss
- Dennis Price as The Graverobber
- Jon Finch as Lieutenant Henry Becker
- Bernard Archard as Professor Heiss
- Graham James as Wilhelm Kassner
Conclusion: The Horror of Frankenstein Film Review
Without a shadow of a doubt The Horror of Frankenstein is the worst of all of the Hammer Frankenstein movies. Sangster’s black comedy approach fails to impress and results in mess of a film. Ralph Bates clearly was being groomed to take over from Hammer legend Peter Cushing and whilst I like him in some Hammer films he is no Cushing. In fact in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974) Hammer wisely decided to bring Peter Cushing back which should tell everything you needed to know, add to that Terence Fisher took on the directorial duties. A safe pair of hands maybe?
The humour simply doesn’t work and the horror is made fun of, it’s a rather strange decision to take the film in this sort of direction. I guess this was a bold attempt to reinvent the genre and for that reason alone it’s worth a look to see how different it is to the rest of the Hammer Frankenstein movies.
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Conclusion: The Horror of Frankenstein Blu-ray Review
Yet again Studiocanal impresses with another Hammer Blu-ray release. The picture quality is excellent with no issues to report. The image is clean and sharp with the colours spot on.
On the extras front there is a rather nice documentary “Gallows Humour: Inside The Horror of Frankenstein” that gives plenty of insight into the making of The Horror of Frankenstein.
- Gallows Humour: Inside The Horror of Frankenstein (18 mins)
Popcorn Cinema Rating:
The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
MOVIE RATING: WORTH WATCHING
BLU-RAY RATING: EXCELLENT
Purchase The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) On Blu-ray
The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) blu-ray is out now, I’ve added a link to it below.
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The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) Trailer
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version
That concludes The Horror of Frankenstein Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave a comment over on our Facebook page.
Summary: The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
Duration: 93 mins
Director(s): Jimmy Sangster
Actor(s): Ralph Bates, Kate O'Mara, Veronica Carlson, Dennis Price, Jon Finch, Bernard Archard, Graham James
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
The Horror of Frankenstein is the worst of all of the Hammer Frankenstein movies but a bold attempt to reinvent the genre.