Baron Victor von Frankenstein

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Baron Victor von Frankenstein is the Hammer Horror version of the fictional character Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein


Unlike his novel counterpart - a well-intentioned Viennese medical student - Frankenstein in the Hammer universe is a ruthless, cold-hearted baron who lives in Karlstaad, Switzerland. He brutally murders people to get body parts for his creature. Once he creates the creature, Frankenstein uses him to kill people who get in his way. Throughout the film series, Frankenstein uses the creature to commit greater and more sinister crimes.

In film[edit]

Baron von Frankenstin makes his film debut in Hammer's 1958 adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel, entitled The Curse of Frankenstein. He is portrayed by Hammer star Peter Cushing, who would go on to play the character in many sequels.

In the film, Frankenstein murders a professor in order to create his creature. Frankenstein cheats on his fiancée, Elizabeth, with his maid, Justine. When Justine announces that she is pregnant and threatens to tell Elizabeth about their affair, Frankenstein has the creature kill her. Frankenstein soon reluctantly destroys the creature and is sentenced to the gallows.

In the film's sequel, The Revenge of Frankenstein the Baron escapes the gallows with the help of a maniacal dwarf, and plans to create a new creature. As part of their deal, the dwarf has his brain implanted in the new creature, not realising that side-effects of the transplant are homicidal mania and cannibalistic urges. This is when Frankenstein becomes slightly more anti-heroic rather than villainous when he tries to stop his evil creation. In the film he uses the alias, "Dr Victor Stein".

In Frankenstein Created Woman Frankenstein is viewed as less of an outright villain but more of a secondary, yet titular character, concerned with transplanting souls. He does try to stop the havoc he has caused, though he is too late.

In Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, the Baron appears as an elderly man. Finally resorting to murder to make a new creature, his creation (Freddie Jones), turns on him and apparently destroys the villainous baron once and for all.

Hammer did not want to make a further direct sequel as the plots were becoming too similar, but as the character was still perceived to be popular and viable they remade the first film as a black comedy entitled The Horror of Frankenstein. This is the only Hammer film to feature an adult Frankenstein portrayed by a different actor, Ralph Bates, as a younger yet equally devious villain with humorous attributes (Melvyn Hayes played the youthful Frankenstein in the original film).

It was then that Hammer decided to end the franchise with one more film, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. In the film Frankenstein is working and living in a mental asylum, but uses various schemes to get contraband and privileges from the asylum's corrupt manager. Frankenstein begins murdering patients to build another creature, which is obviously insane. The film ends with Frankenstein vowing to continue his experiments with the dead. This film is notable for being set in an earlier era than the previous Peter Cushing Frankenstein film, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and period medical instruments were used for greater accuracy.