Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
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and the Monster from Hell
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Terence Fisher|
|Produced by||Roy Skeggs|
|Written by||John Elder|
|Music by||James Bernard|
|Edited by||James Needs|
|Distributed by||AVCO Embassy Pictures|
|2 May 1974|
|Box office||88,788 admissions (France)|
Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell is a 1974 British horror film, directed by Terence Fisher and produced by Hammer Film Productions. It stars Peter Cushing, Shane Briant and David Prowse. Filmed at Elstree Studios in 1972 but not released until 1974, it was the final chapter in the Hammer Frankenstein saga of films as well as director Fisher's last film.
The film was released on UK DVD+Blu-ray on 28 April 2014, with all previously censored scenes restored.
Baron Victor Frankenstein (Cushing) is housed at an insane asylum where he has been made a surgeon, and has a number of privileges, as he holds secret information on Adolf Klauss, the asylum's corrupt and perverted director (John Stratton). The Baron, under the alias of Dr. Carl Victor, uses his position to continue his experiments in the creation of man.
When Simon Helder (Briant), a young doctor and an admirer of the Baron's work, arrives as an inmate for bodysnatching, the Baron is impressed by Helder's talents and takes him under his wing as an apprentice. Together they work on the design for a new creature. Unknown to Simon, however, Frankenstein is acquiring body parts by murdering his patients.
The Baron's new experiment is the hulking, ape-like Herr Schneider (Prowse), a homicidal inmate whom he has kept alive after a violent suicide attempt and on whom he has grafted the hands of a recently deceased sculptor (Bernard Lee). Since Frankenstein's hands were badly burned in the name of science (possibly in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed), the shabby stitch-work was done by Sarah (Madeline Smith), a beautiful mute girl who assists the surgeon, and who is nicknamed "Angel". Simon tells the Baron that he is a surgeon and the problem is solved. The Baron reveals that Sarah is the daughter of the director and has been mute ever since he tried to rape her.
Soon new eyes and a new brain are given to the creature. When the creature – lumbering, hirsute and dumb – is complete, it becomes bitter and intent on revenge. It ultimately runs mad on a killing spree in the asylum, killing several individuals, including Klauss. Eventually, it is fully overpowered and destroyed by a mob of inmates. Simon is devastated by the loss of life and reports to Frankenstein; however, the Baron feels that it was the best that could happen to such a creature, and is already considering a new experiment with other involuntary donors. The three start tidying up the laboratory whilst Frankenstein ponders who should be first to "donate"...
This was the sixth and last time that Peter Cushing portrayed the role of the obsessively driven Baron Frankenstein, a part he originated in 1957's The Curse of Frankenstein. Cushing had long been known throughout his career for his meticulous attention to detail, even in the planned handling and usage of props. For this film, he helped to design the wig that he wore, but years afterward regretted the outcome, and apparently quipped that it made him look like the American stage and screen star Helen Hayes (though he may have actually been referring to the British actress Helen Haye, whom Cushing had known and worked with earlier in his career). But Cushing's dedication to his role was never truly dampened, and at age 59, looking somewhat gaunt and fragile, he still insisted upon performing a daring stunt which required him to leap from a tabletop onto the hulking creature's back, spinning wildly in circles to subdue the monster gone amok with a sedative.
David Prowse makes his second appearance as a Frankenstein laboratory creation in this film, his first having been in The Horror of Frankenstein. He is the only actor to have played a Hammer Frankenstein's monster more than once. During the DVD commentary session for this movie, Prowse said that his daily transformation into "The Monster From Hell" went fairly quickly, being able to suit up and pull on the mask in only about 30 minutes – whereas his time in the make-up chair for his previous Hammer monster role typically required several tedious hours.
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell has received a mixed reception from critics. Of the film, The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films wrote: "Terence Fisher's haunting, melancholy swansong would be an epitaph for Hammer horror itself." Time Out wrote, "Fisher's last film is a disappointment."
The film itself performed poorly at the box office.But despite this, the film currently holds an average three star rating (6.3/10) on IMDb and has fared better with modern critics. It was released in certain markets with another Hammer film, Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter.
- Marcus Hearn & Alan Barnes, The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films, Titan Books, 2007 p 161
- Box office information for Terence Fisher films in France at Box office Story
- Hallenbeck 2013, p. 208.
- Hallenbeck 2013, p. 202.
- Pitts 2010, p. 32.
- Hallenbeck 2013, p. 200.
- Hearn & Barnes 2007, p. 161.
- "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell Review. Movie Reviews – Film – Time Out London". timeout.com. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- Hallenbeck, Bruce G. (2013), The Hammer Frankenstein: British Cult Cinema, Midnight Marquee Press, ISBN 978-1936168330
- Hearn, Marcus; Barnes, Alan (September 2007), "Demons of the Mind", The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films (Limited ed.), Titan Books, ISBN 1 84576 185 5
- Pitts, Michael R. (2010), Columbia Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928-1982, McFarland & Company, ISBN 9780786457663
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